If you are serious about enlisting the social media support of your speakers, show them the way by clearly articulating your expectations in your speaker agreements.
Recently I agreed to speak on the topic of social media at a large industry conference and was asked to sign a speaker agreement that demonstrated just how far we've come.
You see, it wasn't that long ago that many of us faced shaking heads and folded arms as we extolled the benefits of social media for events. In fact, as recently as 3 years ago, a very large segment of the event industry seemed to view Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as frivolous pastimes reserved for gossipy teenagers.
However, things have changed so much that in this agreement I am asked to:
- record a 60-90 second promotional YouTube video to be posted on the conference site.
- tweet about my specific session and the conference in general at least twice monthly using the event hashtag.
- join the organization's discussion group on LinkedIn.
- join existing conversations on the discussion group and share details of my session.
- add the event as an one I'm attending and share my participation with my connections on LinkedIn.
- promote my attendance/session on my blog and in my newsletters.
Needless to say, I was excited and very pleased to sign this agreement! Social media being my field of expertise, I understood all of these requests and found them to be reasonable and mutually beneficial.
Then I began to think about how other speakers would receive the news of these additional requirements. Many would welcome them and see the benefits. Some, no doubt, would be resistant and view them as more work.
Speakers who are relatively comfortable with social media might be enticed to do even more before and after to promote the event and help nurture a year-round community.
A more comprehensive social media agreement could include such requirements as:
- start your own conversation about your session on the organization LinkedIn group to crowd source content and generate more buzz.
- take part in or lead a Twitter chat about the event or your session under the organization hashtag.
- post links to descriptions of the event and/or your session on your Facebook page
- promote your attendance/session on other social media sites such as Instagram, Foursquare, Lanyrd and TripIt.
To gain even more participation, you might consider creating a game for your speakers that rewards them for their event-related social media activity with badges they can earn.
Speakers who are new to social media could be guided and educated to meet more rudimentary requirements. With a little nudging, they will very likely begin to see social media as an effective marketing tool that they will want to use more often in the future.
I want to publicly applaud conference organizers like this one for their forward-thinking efforts in using social media to corral and generate enthusiasm for their events. By doing so, they stand to generate word of mouth marketing that is powerful and cost-effective at the same time. In addition, they have planted themselves firmly in the 21st century.
To learn more social media strategies, read Event Social Media Strategy: The 70-20-10 Formula and Free eBook to Boost Event Mobile App Results (& Revenues).