In the event industry, people have always been social by nature – whether establishing personal connections at live events, understanding a client’s meeting objectives, or negotiating business deals with vendors. It’s an innate part of what they do. Which is why it’s becoming necessary for event organisers to have a social media strategy in place for their events, as social media is impacting meetings and events in important ways right now.
Here are 10 reasons corporate event planners need to think about their social media strategy for their meetings, events and conferences:
1. Social media is the perfect medium for people who like to attend events & conferences because it combines the two components that draw people to events and make them successful – networking opportunities and educational content.
2. Most attendees are on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They will probably be talking about the event in advance as well as during and after the event on these social sites, whether you know it or not. This is especially true if your event has a large audience; in all likelihood it will be composed of people who share similar interests and are already engaged with one another on social media. It looks strange if the organiser is not enabling, participating, and encouraging that engagement.
3. Promoting events on social media is a great way to drive attendance. There are more than a billion people on Facebook alone, so promoting your event on platforms like Facebook will more likely grab the attention of some of the people who might be interested in attending your event.
4. Word-of-mouth marketing has a whole new meaning with the advent of social media, as event organisers can mobilise registrants to reach out to their friends/colleagues on social networks and invite them to sign up for your events and conferences. Earlier, viral marketing would require attendees to actually pick up a phone or proactively send an email to maybe a handful of their acquaintances (if they bothered to make the effort). Today, however, delegates can share your event with thousands of contacts at the click of a button.
5. One of the most beneficial aspects of social media in the event planning sphere is the option for users to self-select what topics they are interested in and what they care about. They do this by joining discussion groups, following pages and brands, tweeting about specific topics, and sharing content they find interesting. Understanding and identifying this information is a great way for event managers to target the ideal attendees based on their interests rather than just traditional criteria like job titles and organisations.
6. Online forums such as LinkedIn groups and Facebook allow attendees to communicate and collaborate before and after the event. This can change the dynamic of the event in a positive way, as more meaningful dialogue and participation can occur if attendees have a higher common knowledge point at the start of the event.
7. Mobile apps are feeding the frenzy by making social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs easily accessible during live events. Not only does this increase social participation of your live audience, but live updates also make your event accessible to all the people on the web who cannot attend the event in person.
8. You can bet speakers will be better prepared to tailor their message to the audience and deliver a great presentation if feedback about their presentation is being posted on the internet in real time via Twitter, Facebook, or your delegates’ blogs.
9. Attendees are now empowered to become reviewers or critics of events. Armed with social networks that act as a global online publishing platform, they can easily publish their feedback for the world to see. This forces event organisers to take their event experiences to the next level.
10. Social media can shape the reputation of your events and your organisation. Events and conferences are largely successful over time because of their good reputation among sponsors and delegates. In that regard, social media represents a huge opportunity to improve your reputation and increase success. That can be as simple as hearing feedback from attendees and proactively responding to that feedback.