Developing Social Media Strategies for Conferences & Events

When we talk about social media strategies for conferences and events, we have to take a look at communication. Communication in the twenty-first century has changed beyond all recognition. Even a few decades ago, the idea that the internet would shape our social worlds was the stuff of science fiction. This is not to say, of course, that face-to-face communications no longer have a place. They do. The role of a conference – to exchange ideas, to promote products and services and simply to meet with like-minded people – will never be superseded by online symposia. Nonetheless, conference organisers who ignore the online world – in particular, social media – do so at their peril. Not only can social media be harnessed to promote an event, but it can provide a superb means of interaction with guests before during and after the conference. Used well, it will allow for a richer experience for attendees and help you to improve your next conference offering.  

Why Social Media Strategies for Conferences Count  

Any conference that has the experience of the attendee at its heart should engage with one or more social media platforms. With no social media presence, or a poorly thought-through one, modern audiences will simply think the conference is not up to scratch. In other words, social media strategies for meetings are necessary because the average attendee expects there to be Tweets or Facebook posts.

Related: Social Media Marketing for the MICE Industry

They might not choose to articulate it that way, but without a conference organiser seeking to engage with them through social media, large parts of your potential audience will simply think something is missing. No matter how intense the experience is for visitors on the day, their perception of how the conference has been put together will already be formed. Remember that conferences, especially trade shows, are often in competition with one another and ones with inferior social media strategies will find it increasingly difficult to maintain their profiles.  

Contemporary Digital Marketing Strategies That Create a Buzz  

Part of the importance of using social media for a conference is to generate excitement. Promoting an event can be costly when you look at traditional print media, but digital marketing strategies often afford more ‘bang for the buck’. This is never more the case than with social media where shares and likes can get your programme of events noticed by more and more people at zero cost. Even if you pay for advertising via social media, the results can be cost-effective and highly focussed on your target groups.  

Encourage Hashtag Usage  

Create a catchy hashtag for your conferences, such as #event2017 or similar, and encourage attendees to post on social media using the tag. This will generate its own momentum over time, and anyone with a professional interest in the conference’s subject matter or sector will soon be able to pick up on it. Post Tweets and Facebook posts using the hashtag yourself in the run-up to the conference as well as sharing attendees’ posts.  

Answer Questions Submitted by Social Media  

When you have followers who cannot make your conference but who still want to be engaged, it is still possible to get them to be involved. During talks and open sessions, there is often ample opportunity for Q&A sessions, so why not conduct this live on Facebook video? You could also ask people to submit their questions to your speaker via platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. The greater the engagement, the better future conferences are likely to go.  

Make Announcements on Social Media  

A lot of people like social media because it is where they can get news directly. When you have confirmed a speaker or a demonstration of something, announce it on social media. Potential visitors are more likely to attend if they can see the nuts and bolts of how the ‘show’ you are putting on is coming together. Flyers, newsletters and e-mail notifications still have their place, but social media announcements tend to create more buzz. Got something genuinely showstopping to announce? Make a teaser post a day or two before along the lines of, ‘We have a big announcement coming up soon. Watch this space.’   

Add Video Content  

Few media options work in the powerful way that video does. Ask your speakers to provide a little content of what they are going to be talking about to whet you attendees appetite for more. If that is not possible given their technical abilities, then ask for a few photos of what they will be talking about and create a slideshow to post on your conference’s Facebook page.  

Related: Lights, Camera, Action! The Why and How of Video Marketing

Harnessing Social Media to Boost Attendees  

As well as generating a degree of hype, social media is an excellent means of increasing your conference’s numbers. As a simple marketing tool, its power should never be underestimated. Pitchengine is the perfect tool for creating press releases which will work across several social media platforms. If your event has lots of people saying that they are ‘interested’ or ‘maybe’ going to attend, then this is the best way of reaching out to them. Remember that social media allows you to work out who is coming to the conference and who might still need to be convinced to purchase a ticket. Analysis of their demographics should enable you to tailor your digital marketing to attract the sort of people you have previously failed to convert.  

It is worth noting that a social media strategy which is aiming to boost numbers needs to continue right through the conference. If yours is going to run over several days, then continue to engage with your audience on social media, perhaps pointing out what is coming up or drawing attention to tomorrow’s highlights. Furthermore, retweeting positive messages from visitors, especially if they have used your hashtag, will encourage more latecomers to pitch up.  

In Summary  

Social media can be a conference organiser’s friend. Not only will it allow you to stay one step ahead of your competitors, but it can provide a cost-effective means of promoting your work well before the conference takes place. Run well, and a social media campaign will generate interest from newcomers while offering an incentive to continue to take part for your more established clientèle. During a conference, it is the ideal tool for keeping visitors and speakers on track, by pointing out changes in schedules and generating reminders about keynote speeches and so on. Ultimately, it can help you to create a community where your conference is received positively by like-minded people who value the experience afforded them.

The Pivotal Role of Social Media in the Hospitality Industry

Social Media in the Hospitality Industry. It can be argued that the hospitality industry is entirely unique in the fact that success or failure will often depend much more upon customer reviews as opposed to discrete products or services. In other words, the opinions of others will have a massive impact regarding how a business is perceived. In the past, this equated to simple word of mouth or the recommendation of a friend. Social marketing has now undeniably changed the playing field. What are some of the most notable impacts within the hospitality sector? More importantly, how can hotels and similar properties leverage this tool to their advantage?

The Surprising Role of Social Media in Hospitality Industry Sectors

Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can have a massive influence on the perception of a certain hotel (or a chain of properties). To put this in perspective, it has now been shown that no less than 75 percent of all consumers will consult with a social media outlet before committing to a product or service¹.

Related: Social Media Marketing for the MICE Industry

No longer is a static web page sufficient in and of itself to attract customers and to drive business. This is to say nothing about major online hospitality review sites such as TripAdvisor or Booking.com. Now that we can appreciate the fundamental role of social media in hospitality industry sectors, how can businesses capitalise upon its influence?

The Most Frequently Used Networks

To appreciate what customers may be saying, it is first critical to know which sites they are visiting the most. Keep in mind that this may not necessarily be popular portals such as Facebook or Twitter. Due to the rise of the smartphone, guests are now utilising locations which allow them to post pictures and descriptions (such as Instagram). Identifying which sites are popular is the first step towards effective customer relations management.

Engagement: The Key to Successful Social Media Marketing Success

Engagement is the very same rule which applies to every modern business. It is critical to socialise with customers, and this is why the concept of “social marketing hotels” has been created. Guests need to feel as if their needs are being addressed. Proactive client engagement will serve two primary purposes:

  • It will contribute to building brand loyalty over time.
  • Any problems can be identified and rectified to avoid future complaints.

It should also me mentioned that other patrons would see that the hotel takes the needs of its patrons seriously. This is an excellent form of passive social media marketing, and within the hospitality industry, such a benefit cannot be overlooked.

Social Media in Hospitality Industry Promotions

Social customers simply love hearing about new promotions and deals. As a growing number of consumers are now relying upon social networks to retrieve valuable information, it only stands to reason that such bonuses should be made visible. Customers can be rewarded by following or “liking” a specific page while they are also able to be sent timely newsletters. These strategies are other effective ways to build brand recognition and loyalty.

Pipeline Management

Social media should always be employed as a form of pipeline management. While sales data and occupancy rates are important, these may not provide the “big picture” necessary to make the most informed decisions. Social media posts and comments will provide an additional level of insight, and as a result, specific marketing campaigns can be tailored around trending subjects and issues which guests find the most appealing.

Regular Updates for SEO Improvement

On a final note, it is crucial to mention the importance of online exposure about social media posts. Greater degrees of interaction will cause SERP rankings to increase. In turn exposure within the hospitality sector can grow. This leads to higher click-through rates and ultimately, greater success.

Related: Social Media Networks Basics: Consistency

The concepts of social media in the hospitality industry needs to be taken seriously in these modern times. To learn more about this subject or to discover even more turnkey solutions based on your requirements, please feel free to contact us and speak with a dedicated specialist.

Facebook for Business

Nearly every business owner is aware of the important role that social media marketing, like facebook for business, can play towards boosting a particular marketing campaign. Sites like Facebook increase client engagement rates, promote specific products and keep fans up to date with the latest advertising campaigns. However, static content alone is no longer enough. Unless firms understand how to leverage the real power of this massive portal, their efforts could fall upon deaf ears. How can you develop a balanced digital marketing approach to this concept and what other tools do Facebook digital marketing platforms have to offer? Feel free to use the suggestions below as a short checklist when forming your social media campaign.

Related article: Formulating an effective approach to Content Marketing

Facebook for Business: Understanding the Power of Live Feeds

Consider the advantages of the webinar. Concepts such as real-time communications, in-depth product presentations and visitor feedback will often come to mind. Now, imagine a platform which requires no additional hardware and can nonetheless reach out to your chosen demographic. These are the main takeaway points of Facebook Live from a business perspective. No other equipment is required, there are no subscription fees, and broadcasts can be transmitted for up to 90 minutes with no interruptions. Whether you choose to publicise a live news feed from within a trade seminar or the conference room of your home office, connecting with your audience has never been easier.

The Power of Visual Content

The average online consumer is now more discerning than ever before in the types of products and services that people follow on a social media page. So, static text alone is no longer enough to generate a significant following. If you want to improve your Facebook for business, images, infographics and video clips should become integral parts of any Facebook digital marketing campaign. This approach will lend a visual appeal to your brand while simultaneously providing the viewer with more in-depth information.

Related article: Lights, Camera, Action! The Why and How of Video Marketing

Peak Viewing Times Regarding Facebook for Business

The evolution of the smartphone enables users to access Facebook at any time of the day. However, there are still peak hours regarding inbound traffic. According to a study by Mashable, the most extended viewing hours on weekdays are at eight o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the afternoon and eight o’clock in the evening. Thus, it is a good idea to release any posts just before these increments. Considering viewing times will help to make certain that you are tapping into the largest audience base. Another trick which digital marketing professionals employ is to release a “teaser” advertisement in the morning followed by a more in-depth discussion in the evening. Let us not forget that many users do not have the time to read through a lengthy post during the day.

Preliminary “Likes”

Companies can offer visitors information of value after they like a particular page. That is important for two reasons. First, a greater number of likes will help to generate further social media exposure. As the choice is entirely voluntary, only those who are interested will subscribe; another significant advantage when gauging the efficacy of a marketing campaign. Some offers that a business could provide:

  • Discounts or Coupon Codes
  • Email subscriptions
  • Free white papers
  • Event invitations

Cross-Linking Platforms

A final point to make is that you should always link across to different platforms. Pro-active linking will add digital impact to your reputation, and of course, your SERP rankings will inevitably improve. Outbound links should be included on your homepage, within email campaigns and even within other social media circles such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It is critical that visitors can find your Facebook page from any one of these sources.

Leveraging the power of Facebook for the business purpose should become a permanent portion of your overall social media marketing, and thus digital marketing strategy. Let us also remember that all of these suggestions will cost nothing to implement, so there are no financial drawbacks. With time and focused effort, this robust social media platform can become another spoke on the wheel of online success.

This article Facebook for Business was first published on fmwaechter.com. Author Frank M. Waechter.

Social Media Marketing for the MICE Industry

There is no denying that social media marketing  is here to stay, and this includes the MICE industry. Social media is influencing the way people read and search, behave and meet and travel today. An entire new generation has grown up since the rise of social media. As a result social media has changed the way the meetings and events industry market their events, services and destinations.

Trends are confirming  for several years now that the meetings industry is back. There is more demand for meetings, exhibitions and events for brainstorming ideas. Also showcasing the latest innovations or simply for networking and attracting clients. Travel companies are offering customised MICE services and countries are promoting their destinations as attractive MICE venues. New meetings and conferences can be found all over the place and within diverse sectors. Social media is playing a big part in promoting these events and the destinations hosting them.

Social Media Marketing for the MICE industry

The goal of any MICE planner is to design an event that will have an impact on attendees as well as to fulfil its objectives in terms of marketing; and social media can be extremely effective for both. Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a huge influence on popular culture. Photo sharing platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr can be used to inspire new ideas and garner excitement for travel and events of all types. LinkedIn connects you to professionals worldwide, which can be very useful in spreading your message.

Related: A Quick Guide To Integrating Social Media Into Your Event Communication Plan

Also be sure about your strategy: ask yourself if you want to use your website or blog as your central landing page. If you want to market on a more holistic approach on various channels equally.

Blogging

Speaking of blogging: everyone in the MICE or travel business should create their own blog. It should be short and updated frequently with current information that’s useful about the events, services or destinations you are trying to promote. Topics should be practical, like what you would have liked to know before you travelled there. Add a lot of photos and of course video throughout your blog. Make your blog interesting and informative and you will continue to garner readers. But be aware: it cannot be all about self-promotion.

So, why are social networks so effective at hiking ticket sales and engaging participants at an event? They offer the ideal medium for the two main features that draw people to events: educational content and networking opportunities.

There are so many social media channels and tools out there marketers can use for social media marketing for the mice industry, and nearly every month we can present the launch of a new service. To cover all, this blog would burst, so we talk about the most popular at this point. We also recommend to focus only on the channels which suites you best and not to trail off on too many platforms.

The most popular social media sites for promoting and supporting MICE and travel industry:

 

Facebook 

With no doubt (nor surprise), Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world and amazingly effective when it comes to promoting an event, travel opportunity or destination. It can create the kind of buzz that has impact. Use Facebook’s upcoming events feature to announce and promote your event or travel opportunity. Facebook’s new video feature is a massive social media marketing tool.

Hotels, resorts, restaurants, attractions and rental car companies use social media to ensure their guests enjoy themselves and share their experiences with others. They use it to maintain good customer relations and to avoid possible crises through timely communication. 

Twitter 

This platform is meant for simple updates in real time, announcements and even live streaming, which can be done during an event. Twitter is great for engaging people, whether attendees at an event or travellers. You can run contests on your Twitter feed. This spurs engagement and excitement, even if it’s just answering a trivia question offering free tickets to whoever answers correctly.

Twitter uses hashtags for identifying messages that relate to a specific topic. It is a word or phrase with the hash symbol preceding it. Using the hashtag #travel on Twitter helps travellers search for travel packages, tours, destinations, etc. They can also share their experiences with others. Travel businesses would use #travel in their promotions and in connecting with customers.

Now that Twitter allows users to attach photos businesses are using this to full advantage. Ask your guests to share with others by tagging both their Twitpic and Instagram photos with your dedicated hashtag created for the purpose.

A great option is to use social media to target travellers abroad. Just scroll through the Twitter hashtags that are relevant like e.g. if you are in the adventure travel business, #whattodo, #activities, #travel, #sports, plus local and #ig hashtags. This is the perfect way of finding potential customers interested in what you are offering. Launch competitions for people who share your Facebook page or Twitter with others. Write a blog and contribute guest posts as much as you can on other blogs to find new leads and customers.

Related: Does Your Conference Need Social Media?

Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr

These are the sites that feature photos and videos, a great way to spark interest in any event. Pinterest allows you to communicate with others with inspirational quotes and event or travel information. Flickr has a creative commons feature whereby links and embeds get mirrored elsewhere like on Wikipedia Commons. Instagram now has a video feature letting users post a 15-second video. 

Images are huge on social media, considered “eye candy,” they dominate as Instagram has clearly proven by passing Twitter at the end of 2014 in its number of users. If the saying is correct that a picture is worth 1000 words then a photo posted to social media is worth $1000 or more. Since Twitter introduced photo sharing on its site, Tweets with photos attached are retweeted far more than tweets without photos.

As a destination company, use social media like Instagram to increase your inventory of photos with user generated photos. Create a competition for users to participate and thus find and map out potential locations throug Instagram and create a social buzz at the same time.

LinkedIn

This social networking site is for professionals in every imaginable field. There are now more than 300,000,000 profiles and users on LinkedIn. In planning a MICE event use your company’s LinkedIn page to promote it. You should be updating your page by adding events with all the details. Join related LinkedIn Groups and start a discussion on one of the main topics you are planning to discuss at your conference. LinkedIn discourages outright promotion, but there are many ways to do this subtly. By participating in the discussions of others you can become known and gather a following. You should also be constantly adding connections to your personal LinkedIn profile to increase your reach. Be active by providing regular updates on thought-provoking topics. Be social.

YouTube

This is still the most used channel when it comes to online videos. You can create brief bios of key people in your business, a peek behind-the-scenes of an event or trip or even a tour of your office. There are so many creative ways to use YouTube, just let your imagination flow and let the videos already uploaded inspire you. If you’re in the travel industry the opportunity here is endless. Don’t forget to be entertaining. 

Related: Effective Mobile App Marketing

Define your strategy

If used strategically, social media can be amazingly effective for marketing for the MICE industry. Social Media can be an impressive communications tool for business. But if it’s done randomly, without a digital marketing strategy and a consistent brand message, it can backfire. Again, your message should not always be about promoting and selling. It must be about establishing a relationship with your target audience. In the context of MICE and event planning, social media channels can create a lot of pre-event excitement and buzz. With today’s technology you can interact during the event, which enhances the experience for everyone participating. For post-event, you can use social media to extend the life of the event by encouraging participants to share their experiences.

What is your opinion? Do you actively use social media marketing for the MICE industry? Let us know!

At fmwaechter we can help you with your integrated social media strategy and execution. Please get in contact with us.

My Inspiration Hub Session at IMEX 2016

My Inspiration Hub Session at IMEX 2016

I am absolutely looking forward to my Inspiration Hub Session at next week’s IMEX 2016 (click here for the session website):

Social Media Marketing in the MICE Industry: it’s about conversion, not branding!

  • IMEX 16, Frankfurt
  • Where: Seminar Room 3, Inspiration Hub, Stand G680, Show Floor
  • When: Tuesday April 19th, 2016
  • Time: 15:30 – 16:00
  • Session: Social Media Marketing in the MICE Industry: it’s about conversion, not branding!

I have been visiting IMEX Frankfurt for at least 12 years now. As a visitor during my time as freelance event manager, as an exhibitor when I was running my Spanish Destination Management Company “Abanico Incentives”, as Hosted Buyer during my episodes working for different event and conference organising companies and organisations. IMEX has always been (and will be) a great place for networking with colleagues and friends from the MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) not only from Europe but from all over the world. It is the place where you meet at least once a year to meet and talk and share experiences and opportunities. IMEX is also a wonderful place for learning and inspiration. During the years, the organisers have developed an outstanding education programme around the exhibition. This year’s major themes are ‘Sharing Economy’ and ‘Business is Personal’.

Nothing more to add. See you at #IMEX16!

fmwaechter.com is a digital marketing strategies company with many years of experience in the MICE industry. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more about our tailor-made services we can offer you.

Social Media Networks Basics: Consistency

Social Media Networks Basics: Consistency

Social Media has changed thе wау markets work. Thе nееd fоr companies and organisations tо bе оn social media networks іѕ mоrе оf а necessity thаn а choice. You, аѕ аn owner аnd entrepreneur, nееd tо stay оnе step аhеаd іf уоu аrе tо get bеttеr аnd mоrе qualitative profits аnd benefits than your adversaries. Thеrе аrе mаnу ways іn whісh уоu саn leverage thеѕе mediums аnd tools tо stay аhеаd оf уоur competitors асrоѕѕ multiple social media channels, but one of the primary virtue should be consistency:

Stick wіth уоur brand nаmе оr Username асrоѕѕ platforms

Trу tо grab thе ѕаmе username fоr уоur brand’s social profiles. By doing so, people саn type іn уоur username frоm оnе network tо thе nеxt tо find уоu quickly. They will nоt accidentally stumble uроn а personal account created bу ѕоmеоnе оutѕіdе оf уоur brand. Sо еvеn іf уоu do not want tо set uр аnd uѕе а раrtісulаr social media account rіght now, bе ѕurе tо reserve уоur branded username, јuѕt іn case. This way іt doesn’t еnd uр wіth ѕоmеоnе else.

Related: Facebook for Business

Uѕе thе sаmе Profile Photo

Thе оnе common element оf mоѕt social media networks іѕ thе profile picture. Thіѕ image wіll bе displayed оn уоur main profile page аѕ wеll аѕ (on mоѕt networks) nеxt tо уоur updates. Tо create а consistent brand image асrоѕѕ аll оf уоur social networks, соnѕіdеr uѕіng thе ѕаmе profile photo асrоѕѕ аll оf them. Whеthеr іt іѕ уоur brand logo оr уоur professional headshot.

Run thе sаmе Campaign

Anоthеr great wау tо portray а consistent brand image асrоѕѕ multiple networks іѕ tо promote thе ѕаmе campaign simultaneously. Remember thаt it’s nоt overkill – ѕоmе people prefer оnе platform tо another. If уоu оnlу run а campaign оn Twitter, уоu mіght mіѕѕ оut оn captivating уоur Facebook audience. Yоu саn start uр Twitter, thеn move оn tо Facebook аnd lаtеr wіth Youtube. Thіѕ wіll аlѕо hеlр build excitement аmоng уоur social media visitors аbоut уоur nеw promotion. Imagine thеу start аt Twitter, thеn move оn tо уоur Facebook, thеn еnd uр watching уоur videos. It wоuld bе lіkе tаkіng thеm thrоugh а complete online sales process, hореfullу leading thеm rіght tо уоur website.

Create thе sаmе Theme

A theme соuld bе аnуthіng frоm а current background image tо а universal message. It’s simply ѕоmеthіng thаt lеtѕ people knоw thеу аrе ѕtіll wіth thе ѕаmе brand frоm оnе social media property tо thе next. Coldplay uѕеѕ graffiti іn dіffеrеnt areas оf thеіr profiles оn Twitter.
Bу dоіng this, you’ll portray thе ѕаmе feeling асrоѕѕ dіffеrеnt parts оf уоur brand’s social presence wіthоut hаvіng tо асtuаllу spell іt оut fоr them.

Related: Social Media Marketing for the MICE Industry

Share thе sаmе Message

Hаvе а major update thаt уоu don’t wаnt уоur fans tо miss? Bе ѕurе tо share іt асrоѕѕ multiple networks simultaneously. Thаt way, іf уоu hаvе groups оf fans whо follow уоu оn оnе network оvеr аnоthеr, thеу won’t mіѕѕ уоur big news.

Following this simple rules wіll mаkе іt comfortable fоr уоur fans tо recognise уоur status updates whеrе еvеr thеу ѕее thеm аnd mаkе thеm feel confident іn thе fact thаt thеу аrе connecting wіth уоur brand.

The article Social Media Networks Basics: Consistency was first published on fmwaechter.com. Author Frank M. Waechter.

Frank M. Waechter | fmwaechter.com
Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Growth Marketing, Data Analytics for the Meetings Industry, Events Industry and Associations. Conference and Event Activation, Live Marketing, Onsite Engagement.
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Phone: +34 691 328 572

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