Are you all tangled up in annual meeting planning, about now?

Though event registration is but one light on a seemingly endless strand of to-dos, it’s a biggie.

Because, we all know, the more members you register, the more bang you get for your buck, sweat, and tears. Not to mention the fact your annual meeting is an opportune time to engage members, grow relationships, showcase the value of membership, and really solidify retention.

Allow me to help you untangle the craziness with this one simple piece of advice: Don’t do it alone.

If your association has a secure, private online community, enlist participants to help generate member-to-member buzz and drive event attendance.

Here are four ways to leverage your online community to get more people to click the “Register Now” button for next year’s annual meeting.

Spread the Word

Start discussion boards in your community about the event, conference venue, host city, etc., to get members excited and talking about the learning, networking, and socializing possibilities that await. Ask members of the Event Committee to start and nurture the threads. These volunteers are typically very well known in the community, and have a vested interest in seeing their event be the most successful, yet.

On an aside: Once members have registered, use the Event Group to talk about restaurants, local attractions, tourist activities, etc. Our Abila User and Developer Conference (AUDC 2015) Event Group had more engagement on the topic of “What to do in Austin” than most other topics. Remember, events are social by nature, so use your social tools to build excitement.

Tease the Sessions

Enlist session presenters and/or keynote speakers to participate in Q&As to get members energized about the knowledge they stand to gain by attending your conference. Session presenters are presenting on topics of passion, so this gives them a channel to pour that vigor into generating event buzz. Keynotes may be harder to secure; however, they may have a marketing team that can assist. For example, many have social media managers who could represent them and their messages.

Hide Some “Easter Eggs”

Your online community is ideal terrain for an egg hunt. Hide offers here and there to entice members to register. For example, embed a landing page link that will give them a discount at the host hotel. Or, encourage them to register for an exhibitor-provided gift, for which they must be present at your conference to win. Or, give them tickets to an invitation-only party happening during your event if they register via a provided link.

Start a Flash Mob

Advertise a significant discount in your community to members who click on a link and pre-register in “the next 24 hours,” for example. To generate a sense of urgency, make the offer very time-specific and extra special, like a deeper discount than even early bird registration. (Another fun flash mob idea: During the actual event, post to the community a “spontaneous” meet-and-greet with a keynote or industry leader. Word will spread to those considering your event the following year.)

Don’t Limit “Social” to Your Communities

Because members of your online community are already engaged with your association, you’ll likely see a much higher conversion rate among this private community during open registration, than you would on a public social media domain.

That’s not to discount, though, the power of other social media to generate buzz and extend the reach of your annual conference far beyond the walls and halls of the actual event.

To learn more about how to take your conference interaction to the next level, download “The #SocialConference Kit,” which includes a recorded webinar with ASAE’s Social Communications and Strategy Manager, Lauren Precker, as well as a whitepaper titled, “25 Ways to Use Social Media Before, During, and After Your Event.”