Making Lemonade

We recently heard of a fantastic idea for making the best of a bad situation and wanted to pass it along!

It seems an organization was forced to cancel their annual conference at the last minute due to the novel coronavirus pandemic (like many these days). Attendees made it clear they expected full refunds and the organization felt it could not risk angering its members if it did not give them their money back. Giving every attendee a full refund, however, would have meant the organization would end up with no revenue to offset their own non-refundable expenses, causing a huge loss for the organization.

Instead, the organization decided to offer a "re-fund" option, which encouraged attendees to donate all or part of their registration fees back to the organization.

Although most attendees did not choose the option, there were enough who did. In the end, the organization was able to cover a good portion of the costs it was still on the hook for.

Do you have an idea like this for making the best of a bad situation? Please let us know, either in the comments below or by contacting us.

Snapchat Pro Tips

Snapchat has changed the way we think about video content on social media but has been challenging for many associations to understand and use for their audiences, while also being worth their time, energy, and resources invested into the app. Even still, it’s an important platform for associations to utilize as more people use Snapchat than Twitter, in terms of daily use. Disappearing content and unedited video are extremely popular with millennials, and Facebook, the most popular social media platform, predicts video content is the future of online engagement.

Here are the best practices we’ve found to work for associations:

  • Make A Story. While sending individual snaps would be an excellent way to engage users, creating snaps specifically for your story is a much more effective use of your time and energy. Your Snap story could feature a keynote speaker, poster presentations, networking event, or even lunch! Just make sure your story has an attention-grabbing start, solid narrative, and concise conclusion that drives your overall content strategy. In short, create a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It is also important to note that quality is more important than quantity.
  • Let Someone Else Take Over. A Snapchat takeover is when you give your account information to someone else and they promote your brand or product in a new, unique way. Oftentimes, you are able to reach a much larger audience than you might otherwise reach by having an “influencer” involved. If you can identify a popular social media influencer, with commonality to your brand/industry, then you should consider having them promote your conference or event. Many influencers will work in exchange for free conference registration or their annual membership. Of course, they are also willing to market your function for a paycheck! If unable to identify a popular media influencer or pay one, then consider having different association staff/interns, members, or volunteers do a platform take over. (And don’t forget to change your account password after each takeover is complete.)
  • Create Geofilters. Geofilters are an excellent way to get your business in front of people and create brand engagement on Snapchat. They allow a great opportunity for users to engage with your brand who would otherwise not do so!

ProposalSpace Snapchat GeofilterProposalSpace Snapchat GeofilterTo the left are examples of a Geofilter ProposalSpace created and ran during the 2016 ASAE Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.

Is your association on Snapchat? Comment with a great snap you’ve saved and any additional ideas you have!

Tips for Effective Conference Proposals  

We just came across some excellent advice from Alessandro Angelini for how to create and present the best possible paper for an educational conference, including how to:

  • Find a suitable conference
  • Write a strong abstract
  • Write the paper
  • Prepare the presentation
  • Present the paper

You can find it at http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2010/11/03/angelini

Why Your Conference Needs an Official Twitter #Hashtag  

Attendees are going to tweet about your conference. You can either let them self-organize (bad idea) or you can help them in their efforts simply by creating and promoting an official hashtag (great idea).

Creating a conference hashtag is super simple. (So simple, in fact, you might want to take it a step further and create hashtags for individual sessions.) The best part? Hashtags are free and can be created without ever having to log in to—or even have—a Twitter account.

Attendees will benefit from an official hashtag by:

  • Having an easy way to collect and organize notes. (See our post about TweetNotes for a tool that makes organizing conference tweets even easier.)
  • Having access to everyone’s tweets in one convenient location.
  • Continuing discussions after the conference (or session).
  • Being able to report problems in real time.
  • Receiving conference announcements in real time.
  • Receiving promotions or other announcements from exhibitors in real time.

Creating an official hashtag is a big help for your attendees, but to get the most out of it, you also need to promote it. So be sure to place it on the conference website, on signage at the venue, and on slides before presentations. Your attendees will thank you.