October 12, 2011 by Jeff Hurt
“This year we are going to start engaging with more people via social media,” your boss says at the staff meeting.
“We’re going to have a conference blog, a Twitter feed, a conference Facebook page and a Linkedin event. And I need each of you to contribute some weekly content.”
Hearts drop. Eyes roll. Some even excuse themselves from the room.
Many of us have heard similar words from our supervisors. The intention is good. The goal of engaging with customers and potential customers is good.
Yet, often organizations implement a social media program without aligning it to their business goals. We think that social media should be its own stand alone strategy and business objective. So we create “engagement” and “conversation” tactics with no connection to core business functions.
Your business does not plug into social media. Social media plugs into your business.
Social media is not its own function. It is a tool to communicate.
Look at your current conference business objectives and strategies. Where can social media easily integrate as part of your tactics to achieve those objectives? Instead of creating a separate social media strategy, use social media as a vehicle to support the existing business strategy.
Like it or not, your conference depends first and foremost on revenue. Without revenue, your conference dies. So there’s no need to pretend that social media isn’t ultimately about generating or driving attendee and exhibitor sales.
How you use social media to make money and in what context separate the good from the ugly. Using it as push, broadcast, interruption advertising only, can create a backlash. Using it to acquire new registrants though reach and influence is smart.
Here are several ways to use social media to increase attendee and exhibitor sales.
New attendee acquisition in social media usually starts with awareness leading to regular online participation with the conference organizers. It starts with awareness and reach, leading to influence and ends with conversion.
Using social networks to create both depth and breadth of online engagement is one way to develop your followers. Social media creates both influence (word of mouth) and scale with horizontal engagement (peer to peer) that traditional media does not. Regular online participation with your followers via social platforms can convert them from followers into customers.
Another way social media can increase sales is by amplifying the reach of conference marketing campaigns. Years ago the only way to scale a conference marketing campaign’s reach was through TV, radio, print, billboards, magazine inserts, direct mail and trade reviews.
Today, the media environment is richer and more economical. You can create your own YouTube videos. Blogs can enhance the relevance and depth of conference content. Branded Facebook pages can leverage discussion and publish posts. Not only can you scale your campaign’s reach, you can also make your messages stickier.
Offering a special time-limited discount code with a hyperlink to the conference registration website can generate sales on the spot. Different codes can be used for different social networks so that you can track ROI.
What are some other tactics that conference organizers can use to create more attendee and exhibitor registrants? Why is online engagement important to the customer conversion process?
Filed Under: Social Media
[…] Using Social Media To Generate Conference Attendee Registration Here are several ways to align social media with conference business goals to increase attendee and exhibitor sales. You do not need a separate strategy. Source: velvetchainsaw.com […]
#3 Using social media to AMPLIFY reach.
Prompted me to look up the definition for Amplifier: A device for increasing the power of a signal.
Without a good signal, amplifier is worthless.
[…] Jeff Hurt schools us on Using Social Media To Generate Conference Attendee Registration […]
[…] Using Social Media To Generate Conference Attendee Registration Social Media Strategy? Many of us have heard similar words from our supervisors. The intention is good. The goal of engaging with customers and potential customers is good. […]
Don’t forget to ask your professional speakers to contribute meaningful content to your social networks. Most will be delighted to tease the audience with a few mighty morsels of information through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Excellent point. Ask your speaker to help provide content that can be used for content marketing though social channels. Thanks for reading and commenting too.
You are most welcome, Jeff! You’re one of my most favorite bloggers! 😉
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Great advice. How far in advance of a conference do you recommend launching a social media strategy?
Great question and I think the answer depends upon your goals for using social media for the conference. The best answer is that it should be launched at the same time you start your traditional marketing such as a “save the date” communications. At a minimum, it should start at least three months in advance, if not longer.
Thanks for reading Jeannette and commenting. Always appreciated.
[…] rare that I disagree with Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw but in this case I must. Jeff says awareness/reach and influence leads to conversion and, “regular online participation with your […]
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