Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 18 2013

5 Tips To Succeed On-Site With Social Media

By David McMillin

5 tips to succeed on site

It’s happening throughout every minute of your meeting. Whether attendees are checking in at the registration desk, listening to speakers or networking at cocktail receptions, their attention is shifting somewhere else: their social circles. They’re scrolling news feeds, posting status updates and commenting on what their colleagues and friends are doing.

While some consider social media to be a distraction, social media addiction also carries plenty of potential for meeting planners. As your attendees keep their eyes glued to smartphones and tablets, here are five helpful tips to capitalize on the power of social media to amplify your meeting.

1) Understand The Difference Between Then And Now.

You may have been able to amass a number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans prior to your meeting, but it’s important to remember that managing social media interaction on-site requires a different set of rules.

“Social media tactics that served you well during the pre-event cycle don’t necessarily carry over once the event goes live,” a free e-book from Cvent declares.

Your pre-meeting marketing efforts focused on increasing registration numbers and building buzz about the new sessions, speakers and opportunities in this year’s program. Once the program officially kicks off, your primary objective is using social media to make sure that your meeting delivers on its value proposition. Now is the time to make sure they enjoy the program and return next year.

2) Make The Most Of Mobile.

Social and mobile go hand-in-hand. With a well-designed mobile app, your attendees will be able to share their experience without having to switch screens or visit other URLs. As you develop your meeting app, make sure it offers location-based check-in capabilities to help facilitate easy on-site connections between attendees. Flexing the muscle of a mobile app can help ensure your meeting is truly delivering one of the main reasons your attendees are there: networking.

3) Proactively Address Problems.

Every meeting planner understands one inevitable truth: some attendees are going to complain. Whether it’s a cold ballroom, a long line at lunch or a keynote speaker that simply isn’t resonating with the audience, your audience will not love every second of your meeting.

When those issues arise, your attendees will use social media channels to vent their frustrations. You may use HootSuite or some other service to automate your posts at the office, but it’s a different story on-site. It’s important to have a staff member dedicated to monitoring comments and responding to any negative feedback in real time. CiscoLive!, a huge IT conference, takes rapid response to the next level: behind-the-scenes social media gurus respond to tweets within one minute.

4) Use The Big Moments To Shape The Big Picture.

“All agenda items are not created equal,” the social media experts at CrowdCompass by Cvent declare. “Before you go on-site, identify the three to five big moments where you anticipate the highest levels of excitement, engagement and audience interaction. That’s where you want to concentrate your social media efforts most-on those best moments.”

Consider the audience that didn’t register for your meeting. An image of thousands of attendees standing up, clapping and singing along during the opening moments of a general session will make them recognize what they’re missing and rethink their decision to skip the meeting. However, an image of a typical ballroom with a PowerPoint presentation probably won’t create the same kind of attendee envy.

5) Put Social Interaction In The Spotlight.

Rather than confining social buzz to the small screen, some meetings are using Tweet walls and large screens to showcase what’s trending among live and virtual attendees. With a meeting-specific hashtag, these displays collect all the most recent chatter in one place, and the front-and-center location can help encourage other attendees to get in on the action.

Developing the right strategy for social media at your next meeting should be at the top of your priority list. Click here to download Cvent’s free e-book “Social Media Power Plays for Events.” 

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