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Donna Vieira Posts

“Stop Thinking Like an Association” to Debut at ASAE Annual Meeting Led by John Foley, Jr. and Samantha Lake

ilinklogo_280WILMINGTON, Mass. – (August 1, 2016) John Foley, Jr., CEO of interlinkONE, Inc. and strategic association advisor, and Samantha Lake, Vice President of Association Marketing Services for Grow Socially, will present a one-of-a-kind learning lab session at the 2016 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. This high energy and insightful discussion, titled “Stop Thinking Like an Association,” will take place on Monday, August 15, 2016 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm MDT.

As we move deeper in to the digital age, associations often find themselves stuck in the rut of “business as usual.” Guided by John and Samantha, attendees will transform their mindset from that of an association, to that of an entrepreneur; ready to take risks, embrace change, and welcome challenges. Attendees will leave the session with an entirely new outlook on what it means to lead an association. John and Samantha will open the minds of participants to a culture that values forward thinking, creative problem solving, and team work by highlighting the benefits this mindset can bring.

“I am both excited and honored to present with Samantha at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting and to share crucial knowledge to those attending. Too often, associations find themselves saying ‘we’ve always done it that way.’ Our goal is to change that mindset and I can say with complete confidence that this presentation will do just that,” said Foley.

The sixty minute session is open to all ASAE Annual attendees. Those who are among the first to arrive will receive a surprise gift box packed full of valuable tools to help along the journey to success. John and Samantha are allowing attendees to pre-register for both the session and the gift box to ensure a seat and a box. Registration for the session and the gift box will be available at Association Marketer. Sign up for the Association Marketer eNewsletter to be notified when this registration becomes available.

Registration for the conference is separate through the ASAE Annual Meeting website: http://ilink.me/ASAEReg

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, interlinkONE, Inc. provides a collection of innovative marketing software solutions including MAX, a powerful and user-friendly marketing automation tool. Designed to take the stress out of communication with members and prospects, MAX gets the right message to the right people at the perfect time, and on a platform suitable to them. This intuitive system lets users build campaigns that deliver compelling content to their audience, promote awareness, build relationships, and educate. And with MAX’s easy-to-use system, anyone can use it; no expertise required. To learn more about MAX and how you can stay in front of your members visit MarketWithMAX.com.

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Media Contact:
Donna Vieira
Vice President, Marketing
interlinkONE, Inc.
donnav@interlinkONE.com

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Why Gen X and Millennials are Better at Your Job than You

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the middle of a desert for the last couple of years, it’s impossible that you missed the endless hype surrounding Gen X and Millennials – “Millennials Invading the Workplace!“… “How to Prepare Your Organization for Millennials” – the term “Millennial” is starting to sound more like a virus and less like a demographic.  And considering Simply Hired’s research that Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are predicted to make up 50% of the workplace by 2018, the hype is in many ways justified. But, instead of fearing the rise of Millennials, we should be celebrating their work ethic and adapting our organizations to take advantage of their strengths. Below are several steps that you can take to develop and transition your association into a culture appreciated by the younger generations.

What They Want

phones_talkingThe term “Millennial” refers roughly to anyone in between the ages of 18 and 34, while Gen X represents anyone between the ages of 34 and 47.  In order to create a Millennial/Gen X friendly work environment, managers (though you should be a leader, not a manager, if you want to be successful with Millennial employees) and organization owners need to understand exactly what it is that drives each demographic.  One of the most common misconceptions is the idea that financial incentives result in an increase in motivation. Unlike the Baby Boomers before them, Millennials are more than willing to accept a lower paying job if it means a more social workplace, regular feedback from their supervisors, and flexibility.  Millennials also appreciate additional benefits, such as company paid cell phones and laptops, when considering positions. Gen X, on the other hand, tends to be more structured, punctual, and linear than Millennials.

Create a Millennial-Friendly Culture

To work to incorporate the younger generations’ desires into your organization’s atmosphere, it’s important to create a Millennial-friendly culture. No, it’s not enough to just toss a ping pong table in the corner and claim you have a fun environment.  Creating a culture in which Millennials can thrive in means fundamentally changing the way you run your organization.  Millennials were raised with consistent coaching, encouragement, and feedback.  Make it as easy as possible for them to really make a difference. That means involving them in your decisions, being as clear as possible when describing tasks, and encouraging coworker engagement.

Create a Pulse

Millennials thrive the most when they’re comfortable in their environment. Although different than in the past, it’s important to allow flexibility in the work environment to spark their creativity. According to Lauren Martin, Gen Y extraordinaire and contributing author to Elite Daily, Millennials “would rather die a slow death than sit in cubicles.”  The reason for this is because they are easily distracted and lack motivation, right? Wrong. It’s because they thrive in comfortable and creative work environments.  If that means allowing them to play appropriate music of their choice, then so be it. Establish a “casual Friday,” or better yet (ok…brace yourself), just lose the dress code all together.  What matters is that the work gets done. When Millennials are comfortable and allowed to be creative, efficiency goes up and work gets done faster.

Be Flexible

social_connectionIn order to take advantage of all the strengths the Millennials can bring into your association, it’s essential to incorporate some flexibility into your culture.  For many managers, when an employee is the first one in the office and the last one to leave, it is a sign of a hard worker. Unfortunately that’s no longer an accurate indication of a valuable employee. It’s about quality over quantity.  The idea of a strict nine to five schedule makes little sense to a Millennial who is most productive in the afternoon than at the crack of dawn. If you can’t allow your employees to start late, work with them on creating somewhat of a flexible work schedule that allows them to be in some control. Perhaps they would prefer to work an extra hour Monday through Thursday so that they can take off early on Fridays. What’s important is that you have the discussion with them, and remind yourself not to be a micromanager. They have a job to do, and how they get that done is on them. You’re their support system, mentor, and leader. They should be comfortable coming to you to work with you on anything from a schedule to a major problem they need to solve.

In Conclusion…

At the end of the day, no matter what size your association, it’s time you drop the “that’s how we’ve always done it” attitude. Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are well informed, highly passionate, and motivated individuals. The organizations that are able to adapt their environment to appeal to Millennials sooner rather than later are the ones that will succeed in the future.

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6 Tips for Handling Member Issues on Social Media

Your social media profiles require attention. Attention beyond your marketing team posting links, updates, videos, and so on. Social media is all about engagement and interaction. But sometimes that interaction isn’t all light and goodness. You may have disgruntled members post negative comments. You may have confused prospects post misleading statements. With that being said, you need to have your team at the ready to handle issues as they crop up. Here are six ways your association can provide the best social member service possible:

  1. Clipboard with Checklist and Red PenHave a strategy. And make sure everyone on the team knows what that strategy is. There should be specific reasons for why you do things and how you do them. Having a strategy will also help you implement procedures later, as your social member service actions need to evolve.
  2. Have your procedures in writing. Have your procedures in writing. It’s easier for things to fall between the cracks if you don’t have set, written policies and procedures for your team to follow.
  3. Be timely. Social media is very fast paced and you need to keep up with that or you will seriously miss the mark. You need to have eyes on your social media platforms daily (better yet, hourly) in order to see what’s being posted or commented on so that you can respond as soon as possible.
  4. Be openly responsive. If someone posts something on your social media profile page, then address it there. You can always take it somewhere private (direct messaging, email, phone, etc.) as well, but you want to show that you are on top of things, not only to the person who posted, but to others viewing your social media profile. If you take it private without addressing things openly first, then you appear to be unresponsive to the rest of your audience.
  5. Empower your team. Empower your entire team (or the majority) to respond without having to hold hands with management every step of the way. This is easy with the proper training and having policies and procedures in place. Your team should be trained using hypothetical situations and past issues. An emphasis should be placed on how response time is crucial.
  6. Don’t always engage. Every so often a “troll” may come along just to stir things up. Your team shouldn’t be sucked into the crazy. You can either ignore a troll and delete/block the spam accounts, or just have a set answer that your team uses. In either case, you don’t want to feed the beast and continue some sort of silly “argument” with someone who is just there to cause trouble.

Your association’s main goal is to make and keep members happy, and this goal stands true for social media as well. If a problem or complaint arises with a member or prospective member on social media, take a deep breath, and remember these six tips to help make it right.

Be sure to comment here, and then share this post and tag @AssocMarketer on Twitter!

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12 Ways to Use Social Media Before and During an Event

If you are attending or exhibiting at an upcoming event, be sure to prepare an online marketing strategy to help you plan for it, as events are a great opportunity to build awareness and promote your association online. There are many online channels you can use for event promotion, but we would advise you to begin with social media. Social media is a key resource for promotion and engagement, and by executing the following steps, you will set your association up for marketing success.

Let’s start by taking a look at the promotional aspect…

Before the Event:

  • Create and/or engage in a hashtag. Create buzz by giving the event a special online presence with this way of categorizing tweets.
  • Does the event have its own social media presence? If so, make your presence known there as well. Post on the Facebook event page, tweet using the event’s account and hashtag.
  • Make your schedule of events social-friendly. Allow users to “check-in” to venues. Make sure all blog posts related to the event can be easily shared on social networks and via email. The schedule should either be on a dedicated mobile page or on a page that was designed in responsive.
  • Spread the word elsewhere online. Make sure your colleagues and peers blog about the event and be sure to have an email campaign focused on it, or maybe even a webinar. Press releases are great too.
  • Keep it conversational. Be sure to ask open-ended questions regarding the event that generate a response. Use social media as an opportunity to gauge interest in the event, take surveys regarding what should be featured, and use it as a forum to field questions. This also gives a chance for organizations to retweet users’ responses in order to build a “word-of-mouth” hype.
  • Keep a countdown running. Don’t overwhelm your followers with information and messages only about the event, but be sure to have it mentioned and remind the users of it daily.

During the Event:

  • Take pictures of everything. Just when you think you’ve taken too many photos, take some more! People want to feel like they’re at the event, almost to the point where they feel like they didn’t miss out at all just by following you on social networks. Document everything as it will provide great blog content for your official site later on. Ask attendees to do the same and post on Twitter using the hashtag.
  • Take videos of all possible content. If anything, it’s great for your association’s YouTube channel, but can also liven up a post-event blog entry. Also, it helps you sell future events.
  • Make your location known. If you’re attending a large scale event, make sure your followers know exactly where to find you. Tweet what room you’re in, what booth you’re at, and always use the hashtags so people know what you’re referring to. Even landmarks are helpful!
  • If people aren’t seeing you, MAKE them notice you. Engage with others at the event via social media so they feel compelled to come and find you. Search the event’s hashtag and interact with those participating so you already have some background with people when you meet in person.
  • Did you just meet someone you want to remember? Make them remember you. Engaging with and commenting to people via social media is the new “collecting of business cards.” No need to try to remember who you hit it off with at the conference, as long as you stay engaged with them through social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Tell everybody what happened. Write detailed and lively summary blogs for your association, and leave no detail out.

Once it’s all said and done, your association will have not only been an active participant on the conference room floor, but online as well. Promoting events via social media benefits you, your organization, and the event.  There’s no better way to consistently engage and converse with others while spreading your association’s name across multiple channels.

Be sure to incorporate as many of these steps as you can at your next event. If you need a plan, or even people to help you, contact us for help. Good luck and enjoy!

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6 Ways to Create Great Visual Content

We were groomed at an early age to have preferential treatment towards visually-appealing information.  For instance, as kids, we gravitated towards the picture books, and now we’re captivated with Pinterest. The power of visual content has always been with us.

The only difference now is marketers are reinventing their messages, with the appeal of visual content in mind, in order to leverage their campaign’s impact on audiences. 

If you’re ready to give your association’s marketing messages a visual facelift, here are 6 ways to transform those lengthy paragraphs!

 

1. Infographics

The popularity of infographics is becoming more and more apparent. We first saw them mainly in the digital marketing space, but any association can apply this strategy towards their own campaigns. As long as you have share-worthy statistics and a strong graphic design team, infographics should be no sweat.

 

2. Videos

You might be camera shy, but the power of videos should be enough to overcome this fear. YouTube is one of the largest search engines on the Internet, and online videos can do wonders for your association’s SEO. Videos that have been uploaded onto sites, like YouTube or Vimeo, can also be embedded on websites, emails, and social media channels. Plus, people love seeing the faces behind your association. Videos are a big opportunity to add personality to your organization!  Visit the interlinkONE YouTube channel for inspiration!

 

3. Bullet Lists

When people are surfing the Internet for information, they usually don’t have 10-20 minutes to read an in-depth article. They want to learn the main take-aways of the information you’re presenting as quickly as possible. Think about the writing process you would use when writing an essay in high school.  You would draft an outline in order to help formulate the body of your story. For digital content, there’s no need to turn those bullets into paragraphs. Usually, a 2-3 sentence explanation of each point you are listing is all you need!

 

4. Images

Images can be worth a thousand words, so they can be incredibly helpful when it comes to delivering information while striking interest within your audience.  Incorporating images into web pages, email blasts, social media posts, and direct mail campaigns would only benefit your marketing efforts. With some nice graphic design skills, you can even turn powerful keywords and phrases into pieces of art as well.  Take a look at Pinterest for some ideas!

 

5. Charts and Graphs

If you are creating case studies or presenting information with different types of statistics and trends, showcase them with various charts and graphs! If you clump too many striking facts together in one paragraph, they could lose their value. Readers may also not always understand what those numbers or trends really mean. If you explain it in a visual way, the message you are trying to present will become more clear.

 

6. Flow Charts

Just like charts, if you list multiple steps of a process, people may not see the big picture, or even worse, may be lost after Step 2.  Flow charts can be incredibly useful, whether they’re used as timelines for members, work processes for potential members, or a marketing campaign guide for your colleagues. It helps everyone understand the steps it takes to reach the ultimate goal of a process.

What are your favorite examples of visual content?  Who uses it the best?  Tell us in the comments!

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