In January 2011, Newsweek came up with a list American Dying Cities , subtitled “Cities with bleak futures ahead.” Leading off that list at number 10 was Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids native and indie film producer Rob Bliss and his friend raised $40,000 to make a video saying otherwise. The video, seen below, racked up over 1.3 million hits within its first week of being posted.
Now, not all of us have access to $40,000 or the ability to coordinate an entire city for an impressive music video. But, that doesn’t have to stop us from producing videos – even with just our smartphones.
Video allows a personal connection that goes beyond plain text. It shows who you are as an association and can be extremely easy to do. The latest stats prove it: nearly 85% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in April 2012.
Video is just one more tool in your membership marketing tool belt that you can use to engage members no matter their age. We like to be entertained. We like to put a personal face with a name–with an organization. If video is not a part of your current membership marketing plan, you should start thinking about it now. Below are some tips to get started.
5 simple steps to engage members with video:
Keep it simple
Wistia, a video hosting service, found that 30-second video clips were viewed by 85% of people all the way through while only half stuck around for videos running between two and 10 minutes. Sure, the example above is an exception–it’s much longer than two minutes, but it’s catching and it keeps moving. Viewers keep watching because they want to see what comes next.
Entice your audience and always put your best content first. Or, create content that builds on top of the previous scene. Keep your members entertained and grab their attention with those first 20 seconds before they get distracted or lose interest.
People want to see the real you so a few “ums” and “ers” won’t make or break your video. Be real. Be you. Show your association’s personality; connect with your members. Prepare notes, but try to go without them (or without reading word-for-word) on camera. You don’t want your informal video to look stuffy and staged. Relax and have fun with it!
No matter why you’re using video to reach your audience–whether it’s announcing a new event or member benefit, introducing staff, or providing industry tips to members–be open to questions or comments. If you post your video or URL on a social media channel, respond to (and ask for) feedback. You’re building community, even online.
Share your work
Unlike Rob Bliss from Grand Rapids, most of us aren’t able to coordinate an entire city in one music video. But, use the tools and people you do have. Use your flipcam, smartphone or camcorder. Interview members, staff, your Board and volunteers. And then share your video on different platforms. Upload your video to a video-sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo. From there, you can easily share the URL with your Facebook and Twitter followers, include a thumbnail of the video in your e-newsletter or embed the content on your association’s website.
Inspire a call to action
Because a video has greater emotional appeal over plain text or pictures, you have a great platform to ask your viewers to do something. When putting together your video notes, make sure you determine your call to action. What is the ultimate goal of your video and what do you want members to do after viewing it? Share it with others to spread the message about your association’s brand? Register for an upcoming event? Enter an awards program you’re hosting. Be strategic about the information you provide and the action you wish to see as a result.
Association video examples
There are plenty of associations using video to engage members and tell their stories. Below are four video examples to get your creative juices flowing:
- The YMCA Twin Cities has a great YouTube channel that not only explains who they are (using their own members in videos) but also grabs attention while promoting its day camps and other summer programs.
- The Alzheimer’s Association uses video and creative use of text and numbers to provide viewers with stats and information about the disease and how spreading awareness is important.
- The Professional Anglers Association uses video on its site to recap events. This video is a catchy recap of the Old Hickory PAA Fishing Tournament. It’s useful to PAA members in that it not only recaps the event but also gives helpful fishing tips that can be useful to tournament participants or PAA members in general.
- Associations are also using video to personally welcome new members. The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce sends videos from its chamber president to new members as a way to say thank you for joining and to give each new member a bit more information about what UVCC is all about.
So what will you do to use video to engage your members?