Pay Attention To Pay Trends

What Pay And Benefits Can Tell Us About The North Carolina Workforce And Economy

By: Molly Hegeman, vice president of HR Services, CAI

North Carolina is ranked as one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and areas like the greater Research Triangle are being recognized as some of the nation’s top places to live and work. This is in part due to an economy that has greatly recovered from the effects of the 2008 recession.

North Carolina’s economy has made great strides in the past six years, and results from CAI’s 2013-2014 Pay Trends Survey supports these developments. The recent annual survey from CAI, an employers’ association that supports and evaluates North Carolina businesses, found that the projected average salary increase for employees across the state will hold steady at 2.9 percent in 2014. In fact, 84 percent of all companies surveyed intend to give pay raises this year. This means that employers across the state will need to continue to be mindful of employee salaries as key factors in overall employee satisfaction and retention. With signs of continued improvement in employee pay, what else do salary trends mean for North Carolina associations and companies?

One implication of current salary trends is that associations and companies need to start taking a more comprehensive approach to attracting and retaining top talent. Due to salaries holding steady or increasing, potential employees feel more comfortable in assessing their value and can now be more selective when choosing a new employer. What’s the bottom line? Promoting a strong salary is great, but the paycheck can no longer be the only tool in an employer’s toolbox when it comes to winning over their next employee.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace for the best employees, companies are placing an ongoing emphasis on pay for performance, not just pay for pay’s sake. These companies are challenging themselves to make wiser decisions on spending in the improving economy. It is important for employees to feel that they are not just numbers, but valued team members who should be invested in and rewarded for hard work. Companies are finding ways to show their team members that they are valuable.

Investing in employees is not a brand new concept. But the way companies invest is changing to meet employee needs and speaks volumes to an employer’s ability to attract and keep top talent long term. Company culture is becoming more important than in year’s past. Today’s employees are looking beyond salary alone and are now taking the time to inquire about the work environment, stress level and work-life balance at a potential organization.

Consider questions you may be asked by job candidates that you may not have heard a decade ago. Some examples include: Does your company offer training and development opportunities? Are there service or volunteer opportunities that your company participates in? North Carolina associations and companies that can answer “Yes” to these questions and more are poised to find a greater return on investment in 2014.

Instead of just giving current and prospective employees the chance to achieve a positive work-life balance, companies are shifting their focus to work-life effectiveness. The important concept for companies to embrace is that work is more than just a job. By understanding the needs of employees, offering flexible schedules, remote work, and other benefits that appeal to your workforce, employees will feel more engaged with their employers and find more meaning and fulfillment in what they do each day.

The one-size-fits-all approach to employment, pay and benefits is not relevant anymore. The data compiled through our annual research indicates that work-life effectiveness is made a reality through broadening your policies and benefits that  include more flexible scheduling, the opportunity to work from home and continuing training and education. When associations and companies combine positive pay and benefits that are most valued by its employees, they are more likely to reduce turnover and increase employee productivity and satisfaction.

With an ever-improving economy, North Carolina companies can expect to see pay and benefits trends continue to rise throughout 2014 and for the foreseeable future. Employers will also be able to increase or at least hold steady their salaries for employees, as well as invest in the benefits and other measures that will help them achieve work-life effectiveness. Companies can more easily project their value and pick from the best in the state’s talent pool to ensure sustainable success. Because of positive pay, great companies and strong talent pools, North Carolina looks to continue leading the way as a great state in which to live and work.

Molly Hegeman is vice president of HR Services for CAI, a trusted resource for HR, compliance and people development.  With locations in Raleigh and Greensboro, CAI is a membership-driven organization that helps North Carolina employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, news, survey data, public policy advocacy and consulting services. For more information, please call (919) 878-9222 or visit http://www.capital.org.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CAI.HR.NC 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/caihr          

LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/XayavY or http://linkd.in/zw66nS

Living in Real Time Is Within Your Grasp

Living in Real Time Is Within Your Grasp
by Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC

In your quest to keep pace with all that’s thrown at you, do you find yourself frequently preoccupied?  It seems as if everyone is in overdrive today.  We don’t enjoy the morning, because we’re always in a rush, concerned about getting to work on time. We don’t enjoy our lunch, because we’re worried about what’s going to occur in the afternoon, or what needs to be done.  We don’t enjoy the afternoon, because we’re thinking about how we have to pick up our children, get across town to attend a meeting, and then get back.  We don’t enjoy the evening, because it goes by too fast.
How would your life be if you had the ability to tackle problems and challenges as they arise?  What would it feel like to engage in conceptual thinking whenever you wanted or needed to?  What if you had a sense of control and ease about each day?  If all these components were a part of your life, you would be living in “real time.”

What it’s Like to Live in Real Time
One executive with a North Carolina association, finds that a key strategy for effectiveness is taking phone calls as often as practical when they come in, rather than letting them pile up. By taking phone calls as they come in, she’s able to interact with the party calling, and is able to often resolve the issue during the call.

“When you let the number of return calls you have to make build up beyond a certain level,” she says, “you ensure that you won’t get back to all the callers, and you’re going to procrastinate when it comes to calling many of them.”

She also finds it useful to deal with mail and papers that come across her desk as they arrive, but concedes that this isn’t always feasible. Concurrently, she know the importance of keeping distractions at bay when she need to focus on the task at hand.

Go for Completion
An entrepreneur in solo practice in Lexington NC, finds value in carrying a task to completion instead of leaving it for later, when it might be one of a growing number of tasks that require additional effort.

He observes that even if it doesn’t “feel good,” sticking with the task at hand is one of the most effective ways of staying in real time and getting things off your desk, be it fielding a phone call, returning correspondence, or working on a budget.

You may know people who live in real time, or who live out significant chunks of their life in real time.  Who are these people?  These are the people who stay in shape, have the time to take a phone call, and actually know the names of each of her children’s friends.  This is the person who volunteers for and takes an active role in community organizations.

These are worthwhile achievements; elements of life within your potential.  Take a look at twelve components of living in real time, with the realization that each of these are within your grasp.

1. Leave home in the morning with grace and ease.  If you can manage the beforehand by taking care of as many things as possible the night before, in the morning you only have to get bodies out the door.  No need to have a mad rush, because you’ve got everything ready to go.

2. Focus on the important issues facing your organization, your department or division, and your job or career.  You have to pay homage to the issues that you identify as important in your life, and have the strength to ignore the less important.  Magically, when you handle the important things, the others fall into place.

3. Handle and address the mail when it arrives, keep piles from forming on your desk, and handle phone calls within 24 hours.  No need to be inundated by receiving too much mail, or have piles that rise ever-higher on your desk, or have a mounting number of calls to return.

4. Enjoy a leisurely lunch.  Know the importance of completing tasks, so that when you go to lunch, you’re at lunch.  Take the time to chew slowly and carefully.  Give up reading the newspaper, and focus on the food in your mouth.  Old sensations may return.  You actually enjoy your lunch, digest your food better, do better back on the job, and have better elimination.  What a deal!
Some insist on having lunch away from their desks.  By getting away from the office, they are able to regenerate their batteries, and focus on their work and how they’ll approach it. They feel that when you stay at your desk too long, every task competing for your attention, big and small, seems urgent.
By getting away at lunchtime, they are able to stay focused on the big picture.  They find that having the outside lunch enables them to return to the office with new-found energy.

5. Depart from the work place at normal closing hours and feel good about what you accomplish each day.  Leaving the workday on time is the single most important step towards permanently living in real time.  When you use the magic phrase, “What do I need to accomplish by the end of the day to feel good about leaving on time?”,  you have little excuse for leaving in a bad mood.

6. Have sufficient and up-to-date health, life, disability, and automobile insurance coverage.  If you want to live in real time, this is part of the overall picture.  Getting adequate insurance to protect you and your loved ones is bound to be one of the goals that support your overall priorities.

7. File your income taxes on time.  In any given year, nearly 40% of taxpayers seek an extension!  You, on the other hand, once making the decision to live in real time, know too well that taxes will always be around and completing your own tax returns on a timely basis yields peace of mind, once you’re done.

8. Take time to be with friends and relatives.  People, not things, count most in life.  Remembering your priorities and supporting goals, and becoming adept at making decisions, carve out time on your scheduling software, or appointment calendar, to ensure that you don’t shortchange the key people in your life.

9. Stay in shape and at your desired weight.  When you observe the bodies of most people, you can see the results of a losing tug of war with gravity – but gravity need not win.  Fitness experts say that working out for only 30 minutes a day can keep you comfortably fit.  As I observed in my book, Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society, if you’re too busy to stay in shape, you’re too busy!

10. Make time for hobbies.  On the way to losing your time, did you abandon enjoyable activities that were a part of what made you who you are?  Revisit that stamp collection or your garden, the hiking club or whatever you let slide.  Living in real time means enjoying your most rewarding hobbies and pastimes on a regular basis.

11. Participate monthly in a worthy cause.  It’s not possible to give your time and attention to all worthy causes, or even many worthy causes.  Your life is finite regardless of how long you live.  When you pick the one or two that matter most, and take action, you feel good about yourself and about how you’re spending your time.

Some of the factors that increase the probability of your paying homage to these causes include: having to undertake little travel to participate, enjoying your co-participants, getting a psychological stroke when you participate (an internal reward), and receiving recognition for your efforts (external rewards).

12. Drop back at any time, take a long deep breath, collect your thoughts, and renew your spirit.

Jeff Davidson, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” is the world’s leading personal brand in terms of speaking, writing, or reflecting upon work-life balance issues. He is the author of  “Dial it Down, Live it Up,” “Simpler Living,” “Breathing Space,” “The 60 Second Self-Starter,” “The 60 Second Organizer,” “The 10 Minute Guide to Managing Your Time,” and “The 10 Minute Guide to Managing Stress,” as well as 24 iPhone apps in the “Work-Life Guide” series. His books have been published in 19 languages, and in aggregate 141 times. Jeff is an Advisory Board member for The Organized Executive, a monthly publication of the Columbia Books, Washington DC. He holds the registered trademark as “The Work-Life Balance Expert.” Jeff can be reached at http://www.BreathingSpace.com

Big Data for Associations

by Jim Thompson, IOM, CAE

In the association community, there is a lot of buzz around the term “Big Data”. According to Wikipedia, Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis and visualization.

For most in the association world, our challenges come with the curation of our data, being able to search to find the information you need and once you find what you need, trying to analyze what the data is telling us and then communicating that to our key stakeholders.

There are so many examples of things you can do with big data. You can measure the engagement of your membership, you can define demographics (career level, age, geographic location, specialty areas, etc.) and you can use data to determine potential product offerings.

The good thing for associations, unlike those in the private-sector, association members tend to more freely share information with members than most. Of course, these days, it’s not to hard to collect data on your members, potential members and companies. Using companies like Acxiom, Infogroup, or Infutor, you can not only access the data of your potential members, you can also get more detailed demographic about your existing membership.

So, what are some things that “Big Data” can tell you and how can you use that data. One of the most common communications tools associations use is email. Using email companies like RealMagnet, iContact, Constant Contact or even your own AMS email, you can track open and click through rates. However, a lot of folks get excited when they see their open rates, for example are averaging 30%, which is well above the industry average. The problem with that data is that 70% of your audience isn’t seeing your message. To use that data more effectively, review a months worth of your emails and see who isn’t engaged and figure out how you are going to communicate to them more effectively.

Additionally, there are a lot of stats on when the best time to send email is, however, you should really be using your data to find out that answer. Send emails at different times over a few months and then go back and review your open rates and click through rates. You should begin to see a pattern emerging. If you have good data, you may even be able to determine what type of member opens what type of email and when.

One great thing about data is to pay attention to things members don’t want, in addition to the things they do want. This is very helpful when it comes to things like killing the “sacred cow”.

Although, once you determine you have the data, the other challenge for associations is how to visualize that data for your stakeholders, particularly committees and the board. One way is to use visualization tools. Many of those can be obtained fairly inexpensively and can work with the data in your AMS. Tools Tableau, QlikView or Spotfire. It is extremely hard to look at a spreadsheet and see trends. Tools like this can help you visualize your data.

 Jim Thompson, IOM, CAE is the Executive Director of the Association Executives of North Carolina and is a great resource for all things related to association management. 

Healthy Meetings: Trend or Here to Stay?

AENC Meeting Planners Roundtable, Healthy Meetings. March 2014.
AENC Meeting Planners Roundtable, Healthy Meetings. March 2014.

AENC’s March Meeting Planners Roundtable brought together 25 top meeting planners to the Doubletree Hilton RTP to discuss what makes a healthy meeting healthy. We put our heads together and addressed three main parts of this very large topic.

ANEC Meeting Planners Roundtable -Healthy Meeting

AENC Meeting Planners Roundtable. Healthy Meetings. March, 2014.

Part 1 – Healthy Food Options

Offering healthy foods at your event or meeting is quickly moving from just a trend into an acceptable norm. Planners are requesting more healthy options for their breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner menus from venues.

How do you take the same old meat and potatoes dish and turn it into a healthy option that will satisfy your attendees? Below are two examples of how you can take traditional dishes like beef and pasta that are typically heavy, contain a high number of calories and fat, and transform them into a healthy, lighter, tasty and filling meal.

Example 1:

Traditional: Fried chicken with cream sauce, salad with Mayo-based dressing, mashed potatoes with butter or gravy, and vegetables with butter.

Healthy Alternative: Herb & Olive Oil baked or grilled chicken, salad with vinaigrette dressing, whole grain rice, and vegetables roasted in olive oil and seasoned with herbs.

Example 2:

Traditional:  Pasta with tomato sauce, bread and butter and vegetables topped with butter.

Healthy Alternative: Gluten-free pasta with lemon basil pesto, whole-grain bread with olive oil spread and roasted stir-fry vegetables.

Here are some great ideas on how to take a tradition food and turn it into a healthy option:

Traditional: Baked Potato with sour cream and butter

Alternative: Baked Potato with salsa or fat-free yogurt

Alternative: Sweet Potato diced and roasted in olive oil and herbs

Traditional: Sugar

Alternative: Honey or Stevia

Traditional: White Rice

Alternative: Brown rice, whole-grain rice, Quinoa or steel cut oats

Traditional: Iceberg salad

Alternative: Spinach salad

When it comes to your breakfast and breakout snacks, get creative and try something new.   Participants are becoming more open to healthy alternatives.

Chips, sweets and candy move aside.  Here are some very popular healthy options for your next break:

  • Hummus Bar with vegetables
  • Individual packets of trail mix
  • Dried fruit with almonds
  • Salsa Bar with baked chips
  • Fruit Bar with yogurt and granola

Instead of muffins, pastries and bacon, why not try these healthy alternatives for your next breakfast:

  • Whole grain bagels with Peanut butter
  • Flavored water and ice teas
  • Iced Coffee Bar
  • Scrambled eggs wrapped in whole grain tortillas
  • Hard boiled eggs

Part 2 –  Allergies and Healthy Food Options

We cannot talk about having a healthy meeting without talking about the rise in food allergies. Planners are receiving more and more requests for allergy-free menu options.

When planning your menu, be aware of the eight most common food allergies, according to the Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA):

  • Milk
  • Fish, including shrimp
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Crustacean Shellfish, such as crab and lobster
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans

To get a better idea of the types of allergies your attendees have, you need to ask them specifically. When preparing your next event registration form, move away from a general information request like: ‘Please list any food allergies’ to a more specific request such as ‘Please check any allergies/or dietary restrictions you have’ and list specific issues such as Dairy, Fish, Vegetable Allergies, Other, etc.

Some associations include the following question on their registration forms:  Do you carry and EpiPen?  If your attendee answers yes, you know you have a serious allergy to contend with that can be life threatening.

With knowledge comes power and this knowledge will allow you, the event chef and catering manager to put a Allergy Plan in place that can be successfully implemented by the event staff.

Here are three ways you and the venue staff can identify attendees with allergies:

  • Color-coded stickers on name badges highlighting allergy.
  • Tokens given to attendees upon check-in highlighting  allergy or dietary request: Example: Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Tomato Allergy, etc.
  • Tent cards placed at table seat highlighting allergy or dietary request.

Part 3 – Let’s Get Physical…

Healthy food options are not the only factor in producing a healthy meeting.  Incorporating physical activity into the day’s activities is becoming more popular and in demand.

Here are some fun ideas that will get attendees moving at your next event:

  • Include a 2-minute Zumba lesson at the beginning of a session.
  • Offer Pedometers so people can monitor the number of steps, miles, etc they have walked during the event.  This is a great sponsorship opportunity as well.
  • Offer a 1-mile opt-in walk, Yoga or Tai Chi class before the day starts.
  • Offer a 10-minute Yoga session during the break.
  • Pair up two attendee for a 10-minute ‘walk and talk.’
  • Offer break snacks in individual packet to make it easy to carry with them if they decide to take a walk during their break.
  • Give participants a map of nearby walking trails.
  • Display a banner in the event hall and invite attendees to write quotes, thoughts, feelings, etc about the event. Just walking by the banner each day provides extra steps.
  • Have a Pin-board available as well as a computer with a printer in the main conference area and encourage people to take pictures and pin them to the board. At the end, you will have a one of a kind collage.
  • Strategically place TV’s where people can monitor the event’s Twitter feed.
  • Set up play stations near the breakout and general session rooms. People can play darts, put together a puzzle or play a round of Cornhole or Jinga.
  • Set-up high top tables for your breaks allowing people to stand instead of sit.
  • Set up breaks outside or away from the main room to encourage walking.
  • Include high top tables in the back of each room for people who want to stand during a session.

Remember, the main idea is to offer options to your attendees that will get them up and moving after prolonged periods of sitting. Physical activity not only helps the body feel better, it clears the mind too.

Resources:

http://www.foodallergy.org/laws-and-regulations/falcpa

http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/Worksites/Toolkit/Toolkit.html

A special thank you is in order to the newly renovated Doubletree By Hilton RTP for hosting the AENC’s March Meeting Planners Roundtable.  Learn more about booking your next meeting at the Doubletree Hilton RTP.

DoubletreeBy Hilton RTP

Newly renovated sleeping room at the Doubletree By Hilton RTP. March, 2014

Jacquelyn Manson

JM Marketing & Events

http://www.jmmarketingandevents.com

Association Educational Engagement Case Study

The Situation

Each year, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) gathers the leading healthcare providers, researchers, educators, and academicians from both across the country and internationally for its annual medical meeting and trade show. The event brings these professionals together to discuss perceptions, share new research and findings, and discuss ways to spread awareness of midlife women’s health issues and how to best serve women.

Since the event was first held more than two decades ago, it has grown from 100 to almost 1,500 attendees. As a highly reputable organization of healthcare professionals, NAMS strives to achieve balance in the event’s content between modern technology and traditional education.

Throughout the five-year solid working relationship with NAMS, AV Concepts has understood the importance of presenting content in an engaging way, but without overshadowing the seriousness of the topic and the event’s educational focus. They have partnered with the team to integrate technological components that worked with and improved the educational aspects, including a webcast component so that those who couldn’t attend the live event could view content after the meeting.  

The Challenge

While technology is continuously evolving in the medical field, the adaptation of new ways to share information isn’t quite as fast. In addition to providing a modern experience, it was important to maintain a middle ground and emphasize the event’s content in a way that was not ostentatious, but still engaged the audience with information on the many aspects of midlife women’s health issues.

With an abundant amount of material to cover during each presentation, maintaining brevity, while providing the pertinent information was essential for a successful event. Many presenters have devoted decades to researching and gathering their findings, and traveled internationally to attend this conference. However, presenters are provided with a limited time to share their discoveries with the audience, so staying on track and establishing a flow was essential as presentations take place back-to-back.

The Solution

After several years in a successful partnership with NAMS, the AV Concepts team understood how to execute the type of educational and content-focused event that the client requested, while providing strategic recommendations for how to present the content in a straightforward and engaging way. The combination of technical drawings, content that was scaled and sized for easy reading, proper lighting, and dynamic sound and staging, created a smooth and well-timed execution essential for the presentations to be successful.

With so much content and a limited amount of time for each presenter to connect with the audience and share their findings, the AV Concepts team stayed two steps ahead of each presentation, making sure that visuals and audio were prepared and scaled correctly for smooth and quick transitions.

To accomplish this, each of the presentations and other content was uploaded and previewed via the AV Concepts Presentation Management Server. Content was then pushed to the general session show computers using a V-lan connection, and routed to the video switcher and screens flawlessly for each presenter. In the short time that one presenter transitioned to the next, the content was ready.

In addition to the live presentations, the webcast also needed to have the same consistency and easy transition. With the management of the content being the focus on every level of the AV Concepts team, a partner assisted with the webcast so that AV Concepts could focus on producing the content and managing the presentations, which could then transition into a glitch-free, clear and concise webcast.

The Results

The NAMS annual meeting was a well-executed event for a highly reputable gathering of medical professionals. For the fifth year in a row, AV Concepts provided an all-inclusive solution that simultaneously captured both live and online audiences for a high-quality educational experience that maintained the integrity of the medical issues. Managing all aspects of audio, video, content, and designating the webcast to a partner, AV Concepts provided presenters and attendees with an engaging educational experience.

After coordinating this event for nearly 25 years, meeting planner Wanda Kovacs of Experient notes, “I’ve continued to work with AV Concepts on this event for the past five years because of the people. My confidence in the team and their track record of providing impeccable customer service assures me that the show will be a success, and it continues to be.”

Furthermore, the committee of healthcare providers who planned this conference was pleased with how AV Concepts embraced technology to bring dozens of presentations to life in a way that complemented the serious subject matter, while  providing high-quality sound and visuals to engage the audience. The committee was pleased that AV Concepts provided value as a solution, while also bringing new ideas to an established event.

AV Concepts was founded in 1987 by two industry veterans, Fred Mandrick and Nick Smith, with the core belief that providing each client with exceptional service and superior value would produce highly satisfied clients and long-term relationships.

The Power of Goal Setting

by Joel Thigpen

13% of people set goals.  The goal-setters are uniform in their education, social class, intelligence and attitudes toward work. These 13% represent ___%  of the wealth in the country and could be described as very successful.(a disproportionately high amount).  The middle 60% do not set goals and achieve moderate success, living a middle-class and lower middle class lifestyle.  The bottom 27% don’t know what a goal is and need charity or government safety net support to make ends meet.

Nothing really unusual here.

What is very unique and differentiating is that the top 25% of the 13% of people (3% of the total) who set goals actually enjoy a level of success and achievement that is 5 to 10 times that of the rest of the goal setters.  And, the only distinction or differentiator is that these individuals set written goals and had a written plan of action for achieving their goals!

Goals setting is an integral part of “taking a Victory Lap”.

How Associations Can Leverage the Power of Content and Social Media to Build Audience and Attract Members – Part 2

by Corey Post

In part one of this article, we discussed the importance of content in your recruitment efforts.  We reviewed understanding your audience through personas, constructing an editorial calendar, creating your content, managing your resources and team as well utilizing your blog as your content base.

In this installment, you’ll learn about scaling your content creation, promoting it with social media, and applying success metrics to your efforts.

Repurpose Your Content

Content takes time and energy to produce.  So when you create a piece of content that you’re happy with, or more importantly, that your readers like, you want to maximize it.  One way to do so is through repurposing.  Repurposing is breaking your content up into different forms for different channels.  For example, you might transcribe a video and use it in an article, make a slideshow out of a presentation and place it on SlideShare, or take your top performing articles and create an eBook for your readers.

Essentially, repurposing content allows you to reach more eyeballs and helps you underwrite the cost of production across multiple iterations of creation.

Social Media Platforms

Social media is an incredibly effective channel through which to develop an audience, talk with your members and reach new prospects.  Advertising notwithstanding, it’s inexpensive – accounts are generally free – and offers massive potential for reach.

There are myriad social media platforms from which to choose.  And while it’s tempting to try to use as many as possible, it’s often good to start with a limited number – three or four – and learn how to maximize those particular products.

As an association, you want to be able to reach large groups of interested prospects, often in the business-to-business arena. So consider Facebook, with its unparalleled reach, LinkedIn with its business focus, and Twitter, which has a fantastic viral component baked into it.  Another useful platform is YouTube, which, believe it or not, is the world’s second largest search engine (actually not surprising since it’s owned by the world’s largest search engine, Google).

Use of each platform merits its own post, so we won’t go into depth here, but the two common threads among all platforms are content and connections.  Your content will facilitate connections and your connections will help to share your content.  You’ll use the content from your editorial calendar, blog, and “repurposing activities” to populate your social channels.

So you could, for example, use Facebook and LinkedIn status updates to push out events and summaries of blog posts.  You can also perform similar activities on Twitter, but you’re limited, of course, by its 140 characters per tweet.  With YouTube, create your own channel and consider filming events that you or a sponsor hold.  Another strategy is to interview association members and thought leaders in your community.  Or take a PowerPoint and narrate it while you film.  Video doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can leverage YouTube and deliver value with few resources.

Building a fan/follower base takes time.  But to start, make sure you feature your social profiles on your website/blog, in your newsletter, and in your email signature.  Join industry forums, dive into the discussion and, when applicable, offer helpful links back to content that you pushed to social media.  You might also consider emailing your members to tell them about your social profiles or posts that you think they should know about and give them the opportunity to get involved through guest posts, comments, polls and general feedback.

Success Metrics

Every activity has an opportunity cost.  Content and social media is no exception.  So you want to ensure that your content marketing activities have a positive ROI, which can be calculated through KPIs that you define.  You might consider pageviews on your website or blog, “likes” on Facebook, links to your site, press mentions, blog comments, and, of course, new members.

Use your analytics program if you’re particularly interested in KPIs around pageviews and traffic.  I like to use Google Analytics because it’s robust, free and easy to install.  However, the data can be overwhelming at first, with information ranging from geography to bounce rate. 

Make sure you track all your data relative to your content in both your editorial calendar and any separate spreadsheet that you find helpful.  After several months, you’ll be able to discern patterns on your content and social activity.  You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t work.  Of course, you’ll expand on activities that work and stop, or pivot, on activities that don’t work.

 A Historic Opportunity

Content and social media are powerful tools that you can use to communicate and create value, develop audience, and attract members.  Remember to plan first using personas, an editorial calendar, and resource allocation.  Make sure you maximize your content and reach with repurposing and social distribution. And track and measure through KPIs.  Once you find areas of opportunity, go deep and build on them.

At the risk of sounding like a web cheerleader, I believe you have an opportunity unmatched in history to build authority for your association and in your particular industry.  All you have to do is get started.

About Corey Post

Corey Post, a sought after digital industry speaker and writer, has over a decade of experience helping organizations build membership through social media, content marketing and SEO.  He’s the founder of content strategy agency, Agile Leverage.  Contact Corey to provide digital marketing education to your association members through webinars and speaking engagements.