Your conference’s social media presence is worthless unless you do something with it.
It isn’t enough to have a conference blog, an event Facebook page, a conference YouTube channel, an event Twitter profile, a LinkedIn event or a multiplicity of other outposts in social media.
Ok, perhaps it’s better than not having a presence at all. But I am not sure if a dead social media presence is better than the absence of one.
So what is the value of having social media outposts? Having a social media program without having some sort of goal just creates more busy work.
Social Media’s Value To Your Event
When one of your social media activities support your conference’s business objectives, then it adds value to your organization. Value comes with purpose.
So what should you do with social media? And how is it related to your conference? Before you can answer those questions, you have to clearly understand your conference strategy, business case, goals and objectives.
Think of social media as a business tool like the phone or email. It serves as a delivery instrument of your conference’s critical business functions including attendee acquisition, attendee engagement, customer service, lead generation, marketing, market research, public relations and sales. Social media can easily support these functions. Even better, each of these functions should already have their own goals and objectives.
7 Conference Functions Leveraged By Social Media
Here are seven typical conference functions that social media can leverage for your next event.
1. Sales: Generating attendee and exhibitor registration.
New attendee acquisition through social media usually starts with awareness, leading to regular social network participation with the conference hosts and ultimately converts them into a paid registrant.
2. Business Intelligence: Gathering data about your customers.
From keyword searches to analysis of share of voice, sentiment and volume of mentions, to your customers’ pain points, the amount of information your organization can capture on the social web is astounding.
3. Recruiting Talent: Securing speakers and entertainment.
With social media, instead of sifting through tons of speaker proposals and videos, you can turn to your trusted online networks of colleagues and friends for recommendations. You can better identify and pre-qualify talent for your event. You can also see which speakers and entertainers are actively involved online and will respond via social networks instead of having to go through bureaus and agents.
4. Marketing: Amplifying the breadth and depth of a conference marketing campaign.
Social media can not only scale a conference marketing campaign’s reach, it can also make the message stickier. The reader may engage with the message through online comments, discussions, likeability and sharing.
5. Customer Support: Responding to customers and potential customers in real time.
Social media can help you spot trouble, help potential customers in need (including attendees onsite) and answer questions in seconds without having the customer jump through organizational hoops to get your attention.
6. Public Relations: Monitoring and responding to online mentions of the conference.
Social media can have an immediate impact on the way your conference is perceived and interacted with by the public. You can respond to negative comments, clarify positions, correct false reports and separate myth from fact.
7. Engagement: Extend the conference messages and engage both onsite and remote participants.
Social media can allow your conference participants to connect and discuss before, during and after the event. During the event, those onsite can share meaningful messages with their followers extending the conference’s reach.
What are some of the other conference functions that social media can support? What are some of the successful social media strategies you’ve seen used for events?