A shortage of opportunities for face-to-face interactions has created obstacles for associations in conveying membership value, but it has also opened doors to effectively communicate with members in new ways. Video is proving to be a must-have medium.
A case in point is Skate Canada, the association that promotes figure skating in the country, which had to get creative when its in-person options vanished. Earlier this month, it hosted its 2021 Skate Canada competition, a precursor to the Olympics, virtually. It would normally be held in an ice-skating rink in Toronto or Montreal with lots of people attending.
Not this year.
Instead, all the skaters from across Canada recorded their routines on video and sent them in. Skate Canada assembled the videos and created a virtual broadcast center to host the event. The judges, who were at home, viewed the athletes skating online.
“Associations are either going to wait out the storm and hope things come back, or they have to put in a different skill set to better communicate with their constituents,” said Perry Boeker, principal and marketing strategist at Red Rocket Creative Strategies.
Video is emerging as a great way to communicate in a virtual world that no one was anticipating. For associations, it has the potential to significantly increase engagement, participation, value, and community. The average user spends 88 percent more time on a website with video. And putting the word “video” in the subject line of an email doubles open rates and increases click-through rates by two to three times.
The way associations have done business has changed, so it is essential to communicate more effectively with members, Boeker said, noting that “they are not going to pull that information from us, we have to push it to them.”
Boeker said videos are easily consumed content that can meaningfully and authentically express the character and philosophy of an organization. “We need to embrace video streaming technology in a much better way than we have in the past,” he said. Out of necessity, people are becoming much more proficient in video production, which no longer requires an outside expert or a production company.
The people consuming content are skewing younger, Boeker said, and millennials are influencing lots of decisions. “If they’re not getting what they want from you, they’re going to find someone else to deliver that,” he said, making it imperative to deliver content to members in the way they like to consume it. He recommends embedding video in communication strategies with a plan, structure, and the ability to track its performance.
“Smart organizations that can recognize how they’re going to deliver their value proposition electronically are going to prosper in a material way in the coming years,” he said.