Thursday Buzz: Why This Association Made Membership Free

A trade group focused on the B2B publication space credits increasing financial stability for the ability to offer free membership. Also: Tips for live-tweeting events.

The Christmas presents came early this year for the members of the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE).

On Wednesday, the association’s president, Mark Schlack, announced that it would begin offering free membership to new and current members—something the group said was possible due to an improving financial climate. But that, of course, isn’t the full story—and the group had plenty of new initiatives to share.

“Where once we were not doing well, now we are financially healthy, thanks to your participation as members, awards submitters, conference attendees, and webcast watchers,” Schlack said. “Financial stability is a good thing, but our membership has also plateaued and we want to change that.”

In response to the shifting climate of the sector, the association plans to expand its offerings for freelance and contract editors. “So many B2B editors now work on contract or are full-time freelancers, and we need to reflect that in our programming,” Schlack noted. On top of this, the association plans to improve both the quality and the searchability of its webcast offerings, as well as turn the ASBPE website into a useful B2B news site in its own right.

Next year, the association also plans to bring its annual meeting to New York City, reflecting the strength of its East Coast membership.

Start a Conversation

Ask any social media pro and he or she will tell you: Live-tweeting an event is harder than it looks. You have to be on top of what everyone’s saying, do more than offer boilerplate details, and—this is a key one—drum up some real conversation.

Oh, and it helps to also make sure everyone’s using the right hashtag. At its annual meeting last year, the American Geophysical Union ran into issues with people using two competing hashtags—#AGU13 and #AGU2013. The result was that some of the impact was lost. Not so this year, CQ Roll Call Connectivity‘s Glen Justice reports. The event drew tens of thousands of tweets on the single #AGU14 hashtag, even earning some notice from NASA. Not bad, right?

The result was that  lessons from the conference came from the scientists actually at the event.

“We want to get the word out so people can get it as straight from the scientist as possible on what the science says,” AGU Social Media Coordinator Larry O’Hanlon told Justice.

Read Justice’s piece to get a full sense of what great conference live-tweeting requires. (ht @CQConnectivity)

Other Links of Note

Maybe the problem you have isn’t keeping members engaged—it’s reconnecting with ones who have faded from view. Socious Senior Manager of Online Community Services Katie Bapple has tips for making new connections with old friends.

Speaking of Socious, the online community firm shows up on a list of “Hot Online Community Platforms for 2015,” selected by Online Community Results and SocialFish.

The Salvation Army’s bell-ringing strategy is simple, but it works. In a guest post for Network for Good’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, author Joe Waters explains why it’s so effective.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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