For the second year I’ve been approached by Amiando to preview their Social Media & Events report (last year’s report was How to Make the Most Out of Twitter). Before I share my insights on the findings, I felt it necessary to provide some context not included in the report on who was polled and how. Each of these factors contribute to the quality of the data and its relevance to you and your business (see my previous post for event planners on the importance of understanding the information behind statistics and data).
There are a few very important considerations to keep in mind when reviewing the findings. Namely:
Click to access the Social Media & Events Report 2011
For more detail on the answers to my report questions, please read on…
In part 2 of my report, I will break down some of the findings as well as some insights for event planners using or thinking of using social media.
Last week, I spoke at an ISES Calgary chapter event about Social Media. One of the comments that an audience member made on why he was wary about using this media for his business was, “The moment I post something on my blog or Facebook page, my idea will be copied by my competitors.”
There’s no doubt that ideas are spread and adopted at record speeds. One only needs to look at the popularity of moustaches on a stick (an über popular trend for weddings I simply can’t wrap my mind around) to see this phenomenon in action. It takes but one person to plant an idea and only a few more to share it and ignite a trend that influences thousands.
Rather than see this as a negative, I hope to convince you that this is, in fact, a positive:
So, what do you think? Should ideas be shared? Should they be held back?
There’s an article by Jay Baer that’s getting quite a bit of circulation – in large part because it references some new statistics on social media usage and because it’s titled: “Is Twitter Massively Overrated”, a question sure to provoke and ruffle. Seeing social media statistics make their rounds with fervor is not a rarity. Statistics are impactful because they sound a heck of a lot more impressive than making a statement without them, they make us feel validated in our choices and they help to make sense of information that is hard to understand. Unfortunately though, research can also be misused. Just yesterday, I came across a few event professionals sharing Jay’s article and surmising from it that Twitter is not the powerful tool it’s heralded to be.
It can be dangerous to use external research to support decisions for a niche business because the research respondents likely don’t reflect your target market. Let’s say you’re planning an event for New York-based CFOs who work in the consumer packaged goods industry. Unless the respondents of a survey you are referencing are your market, the results are not reflective of your target’s usage and behaviors.
It can be time consuming to do your own research, but the results will be much more valuable to your business. If you have access to your market, ask them questions. And, if you don’t, you can use social listening tools like socialmention.com to do online market research.
We live in a time where statistics are shared at record speeds (not to mention sensationalized and misconstrued). It’s more important now than ever to understand how they truly impact your business.
Join me on April 14, 2011 at 2pm EST online for a practical overview on how to use Social Media for Event Marketing. The webinar is 100% free to registered attendees (thanks to MeetingsNet and sponsor, Cvent). So, be sure to reserve your spot here.
The world of event marketing has changed and planners need to understand not only how social media can help you maximize reach but also how to use it both strategically and effectively.
It will be perfect for those new to social media as well as those looking to get better results.
Yours truly will be starting the webinar off by discussing the new attendee and their impact on our events, the common pitfalls of social media integration, how to find where your market lives online and how to develop content that resonates with them.
Kate Slonaker, Director of Marketing for Cvent, will be expanding on the variety of tools available to Event Planners today and how to use them effectively.
Julius Solaris, founder of the Event Manager Blog and the immensely popular Event Management LinkedIn Group, will be sharing how to grow your Facebook Page, Twitter account, blog or Youtube channel with measurable tools focusing on conversion and engagement.
And Sue Pelletier, the fab editor of Medical Meetings, will be moderating the webinar.
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.
Listening is a fine art – especially when it comes to Event Marketing. Following my recent webinar with MeetingsNet on Event Marketing 2.0, I have put together a video on how to use socialmention to listen to what people are saying about your event, your competitor’s, or what your target market is talking about through social channels.
Let me know your thoughts!
For those of you who haven’t been introduced to Quora, it’s a site that’s collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. In other words, it’s a wiki tool for crowdsourcing content about any subject. Although still quite new, it could be an effective tool for event, conference, tradeshow and even wedding planners. Sure there are plenty of others, like Twitter, Facebook Pages and Formspring, that allow you to ask and answer questions, but Quora seemingly blends the best of all of these worlds (and more):
1. Invite your attendees to ask questions of you
“The host hotel is booked, where is the best place to stay during your conference?”, or “I tried to book a Gala table but I can’t get 4 sets together. Any suggestions?”. There are often many questions asked of planners throughout the planning process. From accommodations to food allergies to course materials, many people share the same questions. The benefit of a site like Quora is that questions can be asked and answered for all to see. The other key benefit is that the community also has an opportunity to weigh in on those questions, which encourages networking, information sharing and new ideas for the planner.
2. Invite your attendees to ask questions of your speakers, and vice versa
As a speaker myself, I often ask planners if there’s a way to ask the attendees questions well before the event. After all, it helps me to create content that is custom tailored to the needs of their attendees. Quora is one answer. Speakers can create their own topics and ask for questions. Or speakers can monitor the wiki to find out if anyone has a question relevant to their session. Speakers can also send an update to their connections through social media sites asking people to ask them a question (which promotes your event wiki).
3. Create FAQs
Are there questions that keep popping up year after year? Quora has a FAQ function that lets attendees view the answers easily.
4. Get your attendees talking to one another
As people get used to using Quora to answer their questions, there’s a good possibility that they will start to use it to ask and answer questions from each other. Congratulations…you’re one step closer to creating a valuable community.
5. Promote questions
A very interesting feature of Quora is that as questions are answered you can promote answers via social networks, which amplifies the awareness of your event or conference. It can also show your willingness to immerse yourself in your community and play an active role in their pre- and post- event experience.
6. Create child topics
As the moderator of your topic, you can bundle questions that are related. For example, you might have created a topic called “Your Food Questions”. You might also notice that community members are creating related topics like “Where to go for dinner”, “I have allergies, what do I do”, etc. You can make the latter child topics under the food umbrella to make it easier for people to navigate through and find questions relevant to them.
7. Identify sages
There are likely people in your event community who are a wealth of information and have a great willingness to share their insights. These are your event’s sages. These people, who evangelize your event and seek to elevate your attendees’ experiences, should be recognized. Quora is a great tool to help you identify these sages.
8. Follow a topic
With one click, anyone can choose to follow a topic and be notified when a new question or answer has been added.
9. Voting feature
Beside each answer provided on a particular topic there is a voting feature that lets you vote the answer up or down. This is really helpful for those who asked the question to identify what the community thinks is the best answer. It also helps the planner identify how popular items are surrounding their event.
10. Analytics / Insights
There are pretty limited analytics at this time. You can see how many times a question has been viewed, monitored and followed. But you can also clearly see who follows the topic and, when you click on their avatars, what other topics they follow.
I’ve been using Quora for a few weeks now and really like this tool. But, at the end of the day, it is but one more tool in the event planners’ toolbox. Careful consideration should be made to what you’re looking to achieve, who you’re looking to dialogue with, where they spend their time online, how they use social tools, etc, before selecting which tools make the most sense for your event.
I’d love to know your thoughts…