Social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, really do what they say on the tin. They are platforms for individuals, groups, and businesses to interact with others and audiences. But they also offer so much more than that.
Social media is now one of the most important tools planners and marketers can use to disseminate information about events and meetings, interact with attendees, solicit feedback, and create year-round engagement with a target audience.
CN has spoken to agencies, and venues, to find out how they use social media channels to a business advantage.
Increasingly, an emphasis has been placed on using social media to interact with clientele while at conferences and events. Perhaps this is an effort to keep delegates engaged.
“We’re seeing event organisers and delegates rely on social media more and more, from checking details of the event itself to sharing their experiences when they’re there,” says Jessica Southworth, senior sales manager at Hotel Football.
QHotels claims social media can do more than encourage interaction at events, it can improve understanding, engagement, and concentration.
In a study of brain activity carried out by QHotels, via EEG headsets that were given to the audience, and they discovered that, on average, a delegate’s concentration started to drop after three and a half minutes of a presentation. But they also found that delegates tweeting during the conference were likely to process information more fluently, and remain engaged for longer, than those who didn’t.
However, as well as being used to interact with delegates at conferences, it can effectively be used for marketing.
Stephanie Ellrott, head of RIBA Venues says that social media is an important part of their marketing strategy and not only allows them to connect with their audience on a wider scale but also helps us to better understand the behaviours and interests of potential leads.
She adds: “we use a number of platforms to help build and reinforce our brand’s core values, and to cater content to each channel to meet the need of our audience.”
Mexia Communication’s managing director, Kursha Woodgate, comments that social media is also an important aspect of their marketing strategy and has been for many years.
Woodgate says: “We were very early adopters of social media, in particular Twitter, and built a strong following I believe through relevant content and engagement strategy.
“More recently, we have centred our activity around an integrated platform for blogging, social media, SEO, email marketing and lead nurturing which allows us to track digital ‘body language’ of visitors to our website and nurture relationships with them.”
Cate Banfield, director of Event Solution Design, believes that it’s essential to consider the pre-, during, and post- event when creating a social media marketing strategy and that there should be activity at each of those event points.
“It’s important that you don’t see social as a separate channel, but that it is integrated with everything you are doing within your event life cycle,” continues Banfield. “A dedicated conference hashtag can serve several purposes, but often it provides a way for conference attendees to engage in virtual conversation with other attendees, whether that’s about the speakers that excited them, the ideas they want to discuss, or the content that inspired them to share.”
Social media seems to be the cheapest and also one of the most efficient forms of advertising and marketing. It allows businesses, conferences, agencies, and venues to interact with their client-base and build their events based on information they’ve gathered online about what their audience wants. In this day and age, social media is pinnacle to any conference and meeting.