January 21, 2011 by Jeff Hurt
Image by Fly For Fun.
Convention Services Managers (CSMs) and Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs): They are a meeting professional’s right hand. They are event professionals’ co-pilots.
We need them. We love them. We can’t succeed without them.
They help provide the onsite scaffolding and structure of our events. Without them, our meetings would implode from the time we set foot on site.
While a majority of the business world has been undergoing a major shift in communications through social media, CSMs and CVBs are just now waking to the great transformation that has taken place.
Here are five reasons why CSMs and CVBs should use social media.
Social media can serve as a great tool to give you insights into what your customers and clients want. Instead of emailing a questionnaire to your client, you can do intelligence research and discover some of the things that your client likes.
For example, wouldn’t you like to know if your customer drinks alcohol or not before you leave that amenity package in their room with a bottle of wine? If you are connected to your client in Facebook, you can probably figure out some of their likes and dislikes from their posts.
Your potential customers are looking for your social footprint. Besides your venue or city website, can they find you online? Are you active in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other social networks?
Your potential client is also looking to see if you are connected to anyone in their social networks. Can they see if any of their online connections have ever worked with you in the past?
If you don’t have an online presence, outside of your website, your absence speaks louder than you think. Your personal online presence serves as your online resume.
At a minimum, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile. Better yet, set your Facebook preferences so that the general public can see some of your information, especially as it relates to work. You can still keep parts of Facebook private to your family and friends.
What if you could listen in to what your client’s customers are thinking about the meeting? Would you? Sure you would.
Following a conference Twitter hashtag is a must for today’s CSMs, CVBs and hotels. Actually venues should include the following questions in their contracts:.
a. What is the Twitter hashtag for your event, if you have one?
b. What is the blog or website link for your event?
c. What is the link for your Facebook page or event if you have them?
If you are listening to the online chatter of your client’s customers, you may begin to see some patterns. You might also see some suggestions from customers on how to innovate or improve things.
Many social media advocates have adopted the “Pay It Forward” movement. When you share information from your customers with others, you are showcasing that you believe in a purpose greater than yourself.
Here is the PPT from my presentation to ACOM recently, Social Media: Fad Or Revolution. Tips To Use This Tool To Enhance Your Service.
What are some other tips you have for hotels, convention service mangers and CVBs regarding social media?
Filed Under: Social Media
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Hurt, Maddie Grant, Cathy Larkin PR, Meetings:MHJ, EXPO Magazine and others. EXPO Magazine said: RT @JeffHurt: 5 Reasons Why CSMs & CVBs Should Use Social Media #eventprofs #pcma #tourism http://ow.ly/3HVCb […]
Jeff – Thanks for posting this presentation since I missed it doing a competing presentation with your tag team partner at the same time at ACOM.
As a former CSM, I fully understand the values and benefits of social media to assist in aiding my performance and wish it was around during that part of my career. That said, I am AMAZED at the large number of CSMs that don’t utilize this tool. During the recent ACOM conference, it appeared that there were less than a dozen folks using the #ACOM11 hashtag on Twitter.
It appears that CVBs and hotels understand the value of social media to promote their destination and offerings. My acquaintances at Visit Baltimore (@BaltimoreMD) are one of the few CVBs that use social media to assist in promoting events that are being held in the city, tweeting fun facts about things to do while in Baltimore.
Convention Centers are a different monster. Most are municipal owned and in this economy short staffed. They look at social media as “free” advertising in promotion, but are unwilling to invest the manpower and time to do the necessary items in social media.
Many of the CSMs I know have a bare minimum profile in LinkedIn and are much more active on Facebook. Unfortunately, many of these FB users do not self-edit their posting or pictures for only their close friends or family. I am shocked at what some folks put out for their clients to see. If these folks would only spend more time on their LinkedIn profiles. I would be checking out these profiles if I were bringing an event to a facility and choosing who I would want to work with.
There is still so much work to be done in this area.
Thank you for the insightful post and encouraging other CSMs to adopt social media into their daily routines. We need more evangelists like you!
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