Building better virtual communications for business associations

January 21, 2021

Even before a global pandemic transformed event planning, business associations frequently used virtual communications platforms to boost engagement. By using a virtual space, associations reduce overhead costs and gather valuable data about engagement that would be very hard (and intrusive) to gather in a conventional setting.

Despite these advantages, in-person events and more conventional communication channels still dominated the pre-pandemic market. Virtual event planners often struggle to capture the connections forged during in-person interactions and the exciting buzz that fills the atmosphere of a well-planned event.

Now, with options limited by the pandemic, virtual communication has become more important than ever. Business associations still benefit enormously from facilitating valuable interactions among members, supporters, and prospects. How can communications directors operate effectively in this new remote-first environment while somehow recreating the elusive yet powerful atmosphere of in-person events and face-to-face interactions?

Envision the possibilities of a user’s experience on a virtual communication platform.

The success of a business association’s virtual communication platform ultimately hinges on the quality of user experience. Members and supporters are far more likely to engage if they have a valuable, enjoyable experience.

Deliver them value by facilitating interpersonal connections that help attendees solve their professional challenges. At virtual events, ensure every attendee knows where to find presentations, roundtables, and resources that speak directly to the obstacles they work every day to overcome. Between pre- and post-event communications and the event itself, attendees should have a trove of high-value information at their fingertips.

Make the user experience memorable with a virtual communications platform that maximizes engagement and enables unique forms of interaction. Your members should feel delighted at how easily they can explore your virtual space and investigate resources they would struggle to find elsewhere. Make a deep impression on members with compelling content and high-tech features.

Finally, ensure your members enjoy your virtual events by applying a distinctly human touch. Host virtual lounges and happy hours, offer trivia games, and personalize their interface so they feel acknowledged and included. In-person association events often emphasize casual socializing that bonds members in a less work-centric environment — your virtual event can do the same!

Select a virtual communications platform that enables you to deliver valuable, enjoyable experiences.

Today’s communications director at a business association has a considerable set of options when selecting a virtual communications platform. While Zoom dominates the virtual meeting market, many associations look to more specialized, purpose-built solutions for boosting and sustaining engagement among members. If you’re on the hunt for a virtual communications platform that meets your organization’s needs, keep these three elements in mind.

1. Ease of Use

A great virtual communications platform offers a seamless, intuitive experience to both members and association teams! Nothing can detract from an member’s experience like clunky event navigation or difficulty finding valuable resources. Communications directors already have plenty of challenges on their plates; unintuitive event setup interfaces just add another item to the list.

2. Diverse Interactivity

Engage your members in real time! Get them involved in discussions, and happy hours. Help them find the people and resources that will elevate their experience from “just another virtual event” to something delighting and impressionable. Also, the more members actively engage with your platform, the more valuable data you can collect about their preferences, challenges, and modes of communication.

3. Built for Lead Generation

Some virtual communications platforms focus so intently on user experience that they forget to build for a return on investment! Your platform should include a variety of mechanisms to easily, non-intrusively, and effectively capture as much member information as possible. These mechanisms should feed into an intuitive member development system.

Ready to make your next virtual communications platform a member-delighting experience?

Check out Tocca! Our founder spent ten years designing one of the most popular online classroom platforms in the world. He brought every lesson he learned from that project to Tocca, and this resulted in a virtual communications platform that is truly purpose-built for memorable, enjoyable experiences and increased engagement.

Names like the YMCA and Arizona Technology Council gave Tocca a try —now, we’re their trusted solution for virtual communications that consistently engage, educate, and inspire.

Ready to begin your journey with Tocca? Book a live demo and get started!