Published on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Social Media for Events FAQs


This is a collection of answers to the most frequently asked questions about the use of Social Media for the events and meetings industry.
During my recent visit at IMEX in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity to run a few sessions about blogging and social media. I also met one to one with several planners, DMCs and convention bureaus.
I noticed that the same questions recurred. That is not limited to my experience with IMEX. It is also a pattern I’ve noticed when consulting or training companies on using social media.
It seems like that when firstly approaching social media, there are frequent topics that pop up.
Sometimes they are produced by the fear of engaging with such a frangmented environment. Sometimes they are the result of genuine curiosity and willingness to take advantage of the opportunities social media brings to the events and meeting industry.
Let’s see…
Should I have a Facebook Page?
In general, no.
What you need to be concerned with is to align the social tools available with your strategy. Facebook serves a lot of purposes and helps in a lot of cases but your strategy needs to dictate what tools you choose not the other way around.
Therefore if you run a large, low to medium priced event and your objective is to increase ticket sales by 20% within 6 months, Facebook may well be of help.
Remember to work out your STRATEGY first.
I Don’t Have Enough Time for Social Media
Social media, if well implemented, has a lot to offer for customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction. It helps collecting feedback and leads to cost saving opportunities.
Do you have time for all of the above? If you run an event in time of crises your answer should be yes.
On the other hand, if your engagement in social media is without a strategy or approximate, it is an utter waste of time. In that case you don’t have enough time for social media. As a matter of fact nobody does.
Should My Blog be Part of My Website?
When SETTING UP A BLOG for your event you have two choices. You can set up a branded blog or you can set up an independent blog about the topic area of your event.
That decision usually shapes the answer to this question. In fact, an independent blog will usually have its own domain. Said that, my advice is to start a blog as part of your existing domain to capitalize on the SEO opportunity blogs present.
How do I Publish My Event to Different Social Networks
When marketing events on social media we look for economies of scale. The fragmentation of social media mean a lot of time invested in publishing individual entries.
There are three services I choose to publish events to multiple social networks:GETPROMOTD, CROWD.FM and EVENTASAURUS (disclosure: I am an angel investor in Eventasaurus).
Should I Show Tweets during My Event?
Yes you should. Only if moderated though.
Also make sure to set up big screens and never put them behind the speaker.
Where Do I find Content for My Social Channels?
This is possibly the most recurring question I get. It is just a matter of thinking through the content we have available and using popular techniques to find new.
If you work with events, look at your abandoned folder with last year’s event pics, presentations and videos. You can fill your blog, Youtube and Slideshare Channel with them.
If you work with destinations, think about all the endless materials you’ve produced for marketing. Just repurpose them into engaging content.
When on the hunt for new content, evaluate the most common questions you get and make a blog post out of it (you can use this post as a guide), search for the keywords associated with your event topic or destination.
If I Allow My Staff on Social, They Will Reveal Sensible Information or Say Bad Things
A social media policy usually solves this issue. Just writing one doesn’t though.
You need to carefully craft the policy around your event and clearly inform your staff about it. Sometimes asking to comply in writing.
Should I dedicate Someone to Manage Live Conversation on Social?
Absolutely! You need to designate what I called an EVENT COOL-ORDINATOR. Someone who manages all the live conversation on real time social networks such as Twitter.
This person wil speak for and represent you at the event. It is someone that knows the tone and manner of your brand very well and can respond with authority.
It is also someone who is experienced with the different tools and knows how to manage feedback online. Sometimes it is someone within your waiting staff who knows social very well.
Should I Stream My Event Live?
I am a big supporter of live streaming, therefore, in general, yes. This is given you have proper technology and connectivity to support live streaming. There is nothing more irritating than a faulty stream.
If your pricing is in the high range, you may consider selling remote attendance. I am not usually a fan of such approach but if your event is highly educational, it can be an option.
I Work in B2B Events, Is LinkedIn Effective to Generate Business?
Firstly, see the Facebook question above.
Secondly, consider entering a networking session for a 3,000 plus conference. Are you able to generate business out of it? If yes, then LinkedIn may be a good choice. Also compute the time needed to carefully research profiles and upload relevant content in an non-promotional way to groups.
I sometimes prefer Quora and Slideshare for B2B. Yet again, this depends on your industry and topic area.
Nobody Follows/Reads My Company Tweets/Posts, What Should I Do?
Usually this is the result of non-relevant tweets or articles.
If you are not obsessed by meaningless numbers (it is very easy to buy 5K fake followers for 20$ on Twitter), you have given up spammy practices and you are genuinely interested in creating valuable content, the audience will come.
I’ve seen freshly baked startups building a follow base on Twitter of highly engaged followers just by sharing relevant content or participating in chats.
Show your human side, be relevant, talk about your industry, not yourself.
In Conclusion
I hope I nailed some of your social media questions in this post. This is not comprehensive and surely needs more research on your side.
By: Julius Solaris, a marketing professional dedicated to social media and events 

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