Lunchtime Links: Social Media Isn’t Just for Young People

A new report says older people increasingly use social media to connect online. Also: strategies for growing conference sponsorships.

It’s no secret that younger generations rely on social media to communicate with friends and connect with the causes they care about. But new research suggests folks 65 and older are also using the technology more.

That, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

The social set: Social media is a powerful tool for associations to engage younger members. But why stop there? Writing for technology blog CMSWire, Anthony Myers reports on a study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that says older adults (those 65 and up) use social media to stay connected to the causes, people, and issues they care about. According to the study, which has been tracking all forms of social media use since 2005, six in 10 people surveyed between the ages of 50 and 64—and 43 percent of those 65 and older—were social media users. Overall, the report says that 72 percent of adults now use social media, up from just 8 percent back in 2005. The study also found that women tend to use social media more than men and includes breakdowns on other demographics, such as education level and household income. Though most organizations already use social media to connect with members on some level, Myers says this latest information is “a good source for those campaigns that need a bit of fine tuning.”

Stay engaged: Associations, like your favorite brands, are engaged in a constant effort to keep their messages and products fresh. That would imply leaders are always looking forward to the next big thing. But, as association veteran Ann Oliveri points out on her blog, The Zen of Associations, sometimes the best course is to look back—to what’s worked in the past. She cites an article in Patterns, an online magazine for designers, which offers four time-tested strategies for engaging your members. Go where your audience is, writes Oliveri: “Don’t try to build community out of thin air.” Also, focus on people over products, “anchor your brand to your core values and character,” and “don’t just celebrate your successes. Embrace failures and solve them in public.”

Find a sponsor: Where conference sponsorships are concerned, many event organizers continue to focus on peddling exhibit and booth space. But, as Dave Lutz and Donna Kastner reveal on event consultancy Velvet Chainsaw’s Midcourse Corrections blog, “the traditional revenue mix from exhibits and sponsorship is changing.” As an alternative to physical display space, advertising partners are beginning to look to digital demonstration channels. The result: smaller exhibit halls and more event sponsorships. Lutz and Kastner use an online slideshow to recap several strategies for winning conference sponsorships from ASAE’s 2013 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Atlanta this month. Among them, win bigger deals by going after top-tier sponsors, help sponsors by increasing their return on investment, and clean up your event’s sponsorship menu to create clearer choices for potential partners.

What strategies does your association use to attract support for its events? Tell us in the comments.


Corey Murray

By Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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