One of the main reasons, if not the main reason, people go to events are to network with like-minded professionals in their industry. The social media and event industries compliment each other perfectly and provide excellent opportunities for meeting planners to make a splash and contribute to the social media revolution.
Here are the top 5 initiatives meeting planners and executives should implement as part of their overall event management strategy:
- Verbally tell your target audience to engage with you through social media channels. This step is often overlooked and underestimated. Whether you’re conducting client meetings, conference calls, or even announce to your attendees that you want to engage with them more online at an event, making a small and simple offline request goes a long way.
- Listen for and monitor existing conversations about your brand. There are many social media tools out there that will help you in the first step of hearing what your target audience is saying about your organization and/or your industry. SocialMention, Hootsuite, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are excellent ways to listen before reacting and executing on your social media strategy.
- Strategy and planning are first, execution comes next. Now comes the step to do the legwork: the creation of profiles, the details, reacting to conversations, the little stuff, etc. Strategy and planning means nothing if you have a stale Facebook profile collecting dust. Be personable. Be relevant. And most importantly, listen and react.
- Make your social media profiles highly visible. Place links to your profile pages on your email signature, homepage, proposals, registration pages. Even after someone has registered, why not remind your new registrant to engage with you through your social media pages in that confirmation email? How about the reminder email too? They want to make connections. They can do that because you provide the medium for it.
- Your attendees are there to network, so let them do it before, during and after your event. Depending on your event budget, there are a number of tools on the market that range from free and up which will let your attendees actually connect with one another and make that first face-to-face meeting at your event less awkward. “Joe, it’s nice to finally meet you! I totally agree with that comment you made the other day on Sarah’s profile”, etc. If you have a larger budget, consider integrating an out-of-the-box community-based system with your existing registration platform. If your budget is small, then sites like LinkedIn and Facebook give you the ability to create groups and invite your attendees to join.