Why are some companies reluctant to incorporate social media into corporate events? It's a question I've been pondering lately. Other bloggers have also grappled with the reasons behind the social media fear factor; indeed, a recent article by fellow blogger Liz King puts it succinctly:
These days, event planners who aren’t integrating social media into their events are falling farther and farther behind. They have more trouble engaging their attendees and driving interest in their events.
At corporate events and conferences, younger employees can be seen tweeting and checking their Facebook pages. However, I have found resistance to incorporating social media so high that some clients won't even agree to survey participants to determine their level of social media experience. Any suggestion of incorporating Twitter or foursquare into team challenges gets shot down really fast.
LinkedIn went live in 2003. Facebook has been around since February 2004. Twitter was launched on July 15, 2006. In theory, we should be well beyond the “early adoption” phase, but this is not the reality that is reflected in the corporate world. Companies that fail to embrace social media or that delegate it to a few individuals in the social media are missing an opportunity to connect with existing and prospective clients.
Events, however, can be a non-threatening vehicle for introducing employees to social media and helping them develop a level of comfort with emerging applications.
The next time a client says "no" to social media, share this blog entry with them. Encourage them to take a deep breath and a baby step in the use of social media.
Suggest a short Twitter lab for your next corporate event.
Invite participants to bring a laptop or any mobile device with which they are comfortable. Provide a few terminals. Within 30 minutes, a facilitator can guide the group through the process of registering online and sending their first tweets.
- Create a hashtag and show everyone how to use it.
- Have a short trivia game on Twitter with your newly created hashtag.
This may sound very basic for some of our regular readers. The reality is that event planners may have to go back to basics and play a pivotal role in helping some clients overcome their fear of social media.
To learn more about familiarizing your audience with social media, read Your Absence Is Noticed in the Social Media Pool and 5 Things Your Attendees Should Know About Social Media.