Twitter advanced search is an incredibly powerful tool to track real-time conversations about virtually anything on Twitter. Smart companies are monitoring when people are seeking recommendations for businesses like theirs and tracking when people are talking about their brands or their competitor’s. It’s very easy to find these conversations and takes minimal effort to review your search queries every morning before you start your day. Here’s how you do it…
Remember: People talk about things differently. Some may mis-spell your name, some may forget to use a hashtag, others may use a common short-form for your name. It’s often critical to do multiple searches based on all of these variables to ensure you’re capturing all conversations. Create the search queries once and import them into your RSS reader and you’ll never have to worry about performing the searches again.
SCENARIO 1 – EVENT PLANNING FIRM LOOKING TO TRACK WHEN PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR THEIR SERVICES WITHIN THE NY, NY AREA
‘This exact phrase’: Event planner
‘Any of these words’: Looking for, recommend, does anyone know, who is
‘Near this place’: New York, NY
‘Within this distance’: 100 miles
SCENARIO 2a – CONFERENCE PLANNER LOOKING TO FOLLOW CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THEIR EVENT (#EVENT101)
‘This hashtag’: event101
SCENARIO 2b – SAME EVENT, BUT YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON F2F CONVERSATIONS ONLY
‘This hashtag’: event101
‘Near this place’: Tribeca, New York, NY
‘Within this distance’: 1 miles
SCENARIO 3 – FLORIST LOOKING TO TRACK NEGATIVE BRAND MENTIONS ABOUT THEIR COMPETITOR, XYZ FLOWERS
‘This exact phrase’: XYZ Flowers
‘With negative attitude :(‘
I remember spending my summer weekends as a small girl looking forward to a specific sound. I would kneel on my couch in our living room overlooking the street, with my stomach against the back rest, head cupped in my hands, staring out the window, waiting… Waiting for that musical sound to come down the street. The ice cream truck.
No longer am I a kid. And no longer can I eat ice cream every day (as much as I’d love to). But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have anticipations. I have many.
Every day, when I log on to Facebook, I anticipate what my friends are talking about. But there’s one specific person that stands out from the rest. His witty and often quirky updates delight me. They put a smile on my face. They make me nod in agreement. They make me shake my head. I look forward to his posts. I seek them out.
I follow about 400 people on Twitter. While that might sound like a lot, it pales in comparison to the thousands many of my friends follow. What’s funny though is that there is a very small handful of people whose tweets I anticipate – probably less than 10. People who add value to my life with their updates.
There’s no shortage of tweets, status updates, blog posts, invitations, articles and websites. In fact, you may feel bombarded and overwhelmed. In this huge pond of content, there are but a few individuals that talk about things that, for one reason or another, strike a chord with us. And even fewer who create enough consistency that we excitedly anticipate what they will say next. Today, there’s a lot of traffic, but not a lot of ice cream trucks.
Blogger FAMs are not unheard of, but they are gaining ground – mainly due to limited sales & marketing budgets and the rise of online influencers. Recently I was contacted by Club Med Business to taste test their newly renovated Sandpiper Bay resort in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. I’ll be at the resort from April 6 – 10, 2011 along with 3 other bloggers and their partners (please see Disclosure statement below). I was intrigued by the thought of redefining the FAM so I recently spoke with Jacinda Lowry, Director – Groups & Incentive Travel Canada, to understand her thinking behind this initiative…
What is Club Med’s experience with FAMs to date?
Our FAM trips have been quite traditional; with travel agents and/or event planners invited to see our properties. Due to the realities of budgets, your invitees must be aggressively researched and targeted to best calculate and forecast a successful ROI. The chosen participants must have a certain credibility within the market and the ability to influence others. Although they have always been successful, the traditional FAM, in reality, has a limited reach.
So, what are you doing differently with the Club Med Sandpiper’s FAM trip.
We want to create the same experience of a traditional FAM, however with bloggers, who have the ability to share their experience with a larger audience. We have partnered with 4 bloggers total: 3 from Montreal (Brigitte Cardinal, Lyne Branchaud and Marie-Annick Boisvert) and 1 from Toronto. Club Med Business has an easy audience to define: direct and indirect event planners, and a number of these planners are located in French-Canada and the rest of Canada. Each of the bloggers chosen have an established credibility with those niche communities.
How will you know if you’ve been successful?
There are two main objectives: the first is to showcase Sandpiper Bay and the second is to create brand awareness of Club Med Business among the community of targeted event planners. With our strategy in place we are hoping to be able to leverage the event in a way that will have a larger impact with a wider audience of event planners then the traditional FAM. Through the in-person and online experiences, we want to demonstrate the amenities, versatility and flexibility that we have for groups. Even though we have a long sales process, we are expecting an increase in inbound inquiries and requests for group proposals for our Club Med properties.
If all goes well, how would you love to see this evolve in the future?
I would love to see blogger FAMs become a natural part of our marketing campaign; that bloggers become one channel in our multi-channeled campaigns for both brand awareness and resort updates. If this experience has the ROI required to justify a reproduction, it may evolve into a habitual event. Once a resort is newly renovated, or something major has been added we will organize a blogger FAM to get the word out to the community.
There may be some readers who are considering doing this for their own venues. What would you recommend to them?
It is our first, so I am sure that I will be able to better answer this question upon our return. However, I’d recommend that you ensure 2 things are sealed tight: 1) that you’ve chosen the right people to convey your message and 2) that you have a great story to tell. I am confident that our event is going to be a success because of the chosen bloggers and the program is lining up well. It is a program that will allow the bloggers to live and breathe the resort, while focused on the versatility that Club Med can offer for all types of group events.
So what do you think? Can a traditional FAM be successfully remodeled to include bloggers?
Jacinda Lowry is director for Club Med Business Canada; she is based out of their Montreal office. Jacinda has recently jumped on board with Club Med, with a clear mandate to generate and augment Canadian groups. Before joining Club Med, she worked 6 years for Cirque du Soleil, Marketing and Sales for Corporate and Groups – North America.
Disclaimer: Club Med Business is paying for my return flight and transfers to the resort as well as my and 1 accompanying person’s lodging and meals for the duration of my stay. I have been asked to blog about my experiences. As per my disclosure statements, in no way am I being compensated for my opinion. I reserve the right to my opinion and will post my experiences accordingly.
Are you one of the many event planners who wonders what life was like before you iPad? I can’t tell you how many event planning conferences I go to and observe planners clutching their ipads as they hustle from session to session or use it to voraciously type their notes or communicate with their online friends. I am one of you.
The Event Planning Tools Megalist I posted last month was a big hit. So, I thought I’d share a handful of iPad apps that no event planner should live without. Here goes:
CUSTOMER SERVICE & ENGAGEMENT
READING / WATCHING
What tools can’t you live without?
Thank you to Carolyn Ray for inspiring this post.
I speak all of the time about the importance of telling stories in business and in events. Stories help to create intangible value, they break down complex ideas and most of what we store in our brains are attached to a story. We’re hardwired to not only tell stories, but to learn from them and retain them.
Event Planners are fantastic at creating a story at the live event…providing experiences that create lasting memories. But the story shouldn’t begin and end face to face.
Storify is a tool that lets event organizers collect tweets, Facebook updates, Flickr photos, Youtube videos, RSS feeds pre- during and post-event to build a lasting narrative around an event. Just take a look at this Storify page for HIMSS (Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society). In one story they included speaker presentations, event photos, attendee comments, behind the scenes videos, etc.
Take a look at this mini-story I pulled together from Event Solutions Idea Factory tweets and video:
For more information, read Storify’s How to get the most out of your story.
How might you use Storify for your business / events?
We spend countless hours lamenting over the stock we print our business cards one, what printer to buy for our office or which brand of water to stock our fridges with. And yet, many of us jump for joy the minute someone calls our office with a job. Why is it that we don’t place the same amount of scrutiny on the engine that keeps our businesses running? Our clients.
Just this week, during one of my Event Solutions Idea Factory sessions, I referred to this as being your company’s Red Velvet Rope Policy, a term first used by Michael Port in Book Yourself Solid. Today, any one of your customers can tweet, facebook status update, blog, create a video or rate and review your company. In fact, just today I came across a blog post about how the New York Times allowed a disgruntled business owner to rant on their blog about some PR agents he recently hired for a restaurant launch. And in one vinegary post, he may have destroyed the reputation of a firm and an entire profession for some who read it.
More and more of us are turning to online reviews and recommendations to help form their decisions about who to work with and who to stay away from. Recommendations from people we know is the #1 most trusted form of advertising. Recommendations from people we’ve never met before is the #2 most trusted form of advertising. We trust what strangers say about a business far more than we trust what a business has to say about themselves.
Work with enough people who don’t get you, don’t understand what you do or don’t care and you’re creating your own detraction engine.