March 5, 2009

PCMA Presentation: Embracing Free Technology in a Global Recession

Today I was part of a panel session about Web 2.0 tools for the GMC/PCMA

Greg Fine – Association Forum

showed some of their Association Professionals throughout History video
showed the map of online communities from 2007 (“gulf of youtube”)
social media is about building community, and Greg likes this visual because it shows there are actual places and you can’t just aimlessly wander around
– it lets you leverage existing networks
– it allows us to easily create and share information with one another (as associations, we’re about associating)
– allows this to happen in an instantaneous way
– on a platform that people are comfortable with
so if we as organizations leverage these platforms, we make it easier for our members to find us and interact with us
– it allows you to evangelize your members and your customers

there are generational distinctions – generally accepted distinctions
uses acceptable footwear for men on day one of their new job as way to distinguish between them
greatest generation – wingtips
Xers – black lace-up, but moved to the boat shoe
Millennials/GenY – tennis shoes
Gamers – flip-flops
can’t talk to a flip-flop from a wingtip perspective
even the tennis show crowd may not totally get the flip-flop one
also have the 80-20-1 rule
80% of people who are on the internet only look/lurk and don’t engage
20% of the 80% actively engage (read RSS, have a Facebook page)
1% of that 20% are active users of social media online (blog, post to Wikipedia, etc.)
EXCEPT for the gamers, where the numbers are reversed
only 1% are not active online, etc.

the #1 rule is that the organization totally loses control in this environment
if someone wants to say something bad about you, they don’t need your site/platform to do it
so embrace it
do you use free or proprietary and build your own?
Greg is a big believer in free
– free
– proprietary usually means separate authentication scheme and people have password fatigue now
– do you have an open or closed system (can anyone be a member or is it a member benefit)

Association Forum makes everything open because if you care enough to join, maybe you’ll eventually become a member
there’s no right or wrong, but you need to be deliberate about what you’re going to do

set reasonable expectations
mentioned a case where a group thought they’d failed because they only had 1,200 people on their Facebook page
but they only had 10,000 members total!

you cannot think like you – you have to think like your audience
just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean others shouldn’t
others may create these sites (like a Facebook page) for you if you don’t do it
you have to integrate it with traditional methods
you don’t just do one thing in isolation – f2f, email newsletters, etc. are still valid
taken all together, it makes it all more valuable

it’s like a football experience – it’s the future of the association experience
the audience in the stadium are the members, who paid admission
within that audience are different levels (box seats versus bleachers)
over time, our experiences inside the stadium may be more valuable than just being a member

some tools:
– Facebook
– Forum Effect (blogging)

Flickr – an online picture sharing site that lets you tag images
showed pictures tagged with ASAE
user-generated content (pictures from attendees)
everybody has a cell phone these days, and these phones have cameras
35,000 pictures were posted from a conference when they asked people to take a few and then they had a download station

YouTube – videos
when someone comes in to present now, they do a “5 questions with xxxx speaker” video
total time investment per video is one hour, including the interview
they also allow the person to use the video, too

LinkedIn and Facebook
don’t upload your member list to a third-party site to require people who join are members, because this is a violation of your members’ privacy
let anyone become a member on your page
takes five minutes to set this stuff up

strategy is important!
when you’re thinking about all of this
Association Forum uses these sites as guideposts to help people get to the Forum website

Brad Lewis – Professional Convention Management Association

“luxury expenditures” – travel
is in the media countering these negative perceptions and the distinctions between legitimate travel and these types of excesses

PCMA uses:
– Facebook
– Flickr
– LinkedIn
– blog on TypePad
– YouTube

goals for PCMA:
– want to be where their members are
– need to participate in the current technologies
– facilitate connections
– create member engagement, retention
– brand experience; how can your members interact with you?
– enhanced exposure for events, programs, products, and services
– create added value
– learn something new every day

their most successful site is LinkedIn
recommend to their chapters that they create sites, too
you do lose some control

PCMA has 6,000 members and more than 1,000 have joined the LinkedIn group
PCMA posts new content there and posts event news
no hard sells there
eases people into participation in the organization
present jobs, speaker info
most of the room was already on LinkedIn
from an association standpoint, your members can already do a multitude of things there (and on these other sites)
one sign-on
try to make your name the sign across platforms
want the full name and the acronym because you don’t know what people will search on

monitoring and control:
– wild west; just need to accept that because you can’t prevent it
– PCMA does delete some stuff like direct sales solicitations
– does take a staff commitment, regardless of which department is assigned to monitor
– think about how you’re fostering and feeding the community, too; that’s why you want to choose which sites are best for you and your members

PCMA doesn’t mind when people say a session was horrible, because it gives them feedback

take action:
– work with marketing to create a group, work with membership to update it
– if you’re not monitoring what’s happening, your competition probably is
– monitor for referral requests (“who knows of a good xxxx company?”), even if you don’t answer back
Brad encourages third party responses

what it’s for:
– networking with colleagues
– get updates
– ask questions
– gain insights
– share ideas

what it’s not for:
– soliciting (it’s like using the wrong fork at dinner)
– direct promotion

average age of a PCMA member is 47
one of the young kids at a table didn’t know what LinkedIn was – “facebook for old people”

Facebook
– target market segmentation
– students (announce scholarships, internships, communication with PCMA student staff)
– create event
– discussion boards (students were voluntarily making recommendations to others about joining PCMA)

Flickr
– annual meeting (linked from communications, photos for dailies, member engagement even if they can’t attend)
– social networking centered around photos
– share photos within groups and tags

TypePad blog
– new PCMA Chairman John Folks’ blog
– puts face on leadership
– way for leadership to connect with members and get feedback
– start conversations among colleagues

YouTube
– PCMA has a YouTube channel
– some leadership hasn’t wanted to be on YouTube
– only have a few select videos but it’s a good way to put a face on the organization and tell stories

proprietary systems
– PCMA did purchase an expensive product for “PCMA Connect”
– can trial on free before you try proprietary
– had bells and whistles but was a separate destination

Learnings
– conversation happens organically
– hot topics are anonymity, reluctance to speak your mind, general best has been more social (New Year’s resolutions)
be relevant to the people who connect with you

philosophies and conclusions
– your member profile will determine which platform works best for you
– leadership acceptance, need some buy-in
– certainly trial this stuff
these are just new assets in the arsenal, and they’re even free
– important to engage in relevant business of today

Jenny Levine (me)

here are my slides (12MB, PDF)


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