INsPIRE Designing and Implementing a Successful Engagement Strategy Listening:
Designing an appropriate social media strategy starts with listening. Try to learn from your members what they expect from their community. Start by observing and learning about their online habits and preferences. This will help you design the right plan to motivate and engage them and target them in the correct spaces.
Begin to use the most appropriate channels and networks to reach your target audience as identifi ed by the listening stage. Start to raise awareness and visibility by posting content on sites identifi ed as popular with your audience. Build up your online presence and following. Actions taken where your audience already has a presence will maximize participation as this will require less in initial effort on their behalf to register, create and fi ll out a profi le as well as learn how to use the site. According to The Social Media & The Meetings Industry Survey of 2010, (J. Roussey 2010), which surveyed 100 respondents in Europe and North America, meetings industry professionals mainly use LinkedIn (88%), Facebook (75%), YouTube (74%) and Twitter (37%). They are also identifi ed as “spectators” (they mainly read content) and “joiners” (they join social networks). Active participation for them sometimes requires encouragement.
Find the most enthusiastic and vocal members who have a strong online presence and who will be infl uential in spreading your message. Encourage them to engage in and develop the dialogue. Exchange and dialogue between your members is how you will give a digital life to your community.
Set up tools to enable collaboration and discussion e.g. online forums that will allow users to answer each other’s questions. Use platforms that are existing and popular among members.
This is the most challenging of the fi ve stages and represents a truly interactive stage. It allows members to get involved in shaping the future of the organization, for example by using feed- back mechanisms to create new or improve events. Dashboard tools like HootSuite allow you to easily manage several social media accounts, generate reports, automate posts and more from a single interface. Mastery of such tools will quickly turn the data into a strategic advan- tage and allow you to easily manage all of your social media channels and online networking opportunities.
(Model based on C. Li & J. Bernoff (2008) “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies” Harvard Business Press)
Where is the Value? Specialists agree on the fact that face- to-face meetings are still and will re- main the most effi cient way to inspire audiences, share strategies and make change happen. They also play an im- portant role in creating a sense of “be- longing”. Using social media effectively and incorporating it into your events, allows you to not only strengthen the community and increase brand visibility, but also to reach wider audiences and encourage the generation of new ideas.
The 2010 edition of Building Community’s “The Measurement Debate is Alive” (D. Sharma, 2010) reported that senior management executives want to know what they can expect as a return on their investment in events. An engaging social media campaign built around an event can help enhance the attendee experi- ence, increase delegate numbers for your next event and improve the overall return on investment (including market- ing spend).
A unique feature that helps maximize the value that social media brings to your organization is the presence it can have throughout all stages of the event life cycle. It represents a chan- nel to increase awareness, create dialogue, share knowledge and ideas and dis- tribute a client’s content. We can use social media to begin the con- versation before the event hap- pens, increase and maintain dialogue throughout and ensure the con- tent continues to stay alive after the event.
1. Avoid post event blackout with publications of event content, reports, testimonials…
2. Taking feedback and using it for improvements will help create more successful events and develop attendee loyalty
Conclusion Social media can strengthen your com- munity and help bring the right people to your events, whilst improving return on investment. There are, however, many other benefi ts it can bring to your event and for this reason, many organizations now consider social media as a strate- gic tool within the wider framework of strategic relations. Effective social media campaigns centered around your event can also help your organization:
1. Enhance networking opportunities. Delegates can update their profi le onto a social network or networking group associated with a meeting and learn more about one another, arrange meetings in the physical space and build relationships that last beyond the duration of the conference.
2. Increase the fl ow of knowledge and ideas. Attendees can post links to relevant articles or content onto their social networks or micro blogging sites like Twitter. Ideas and knowledge can be shared instantly.
3. Increase interaction and collabora- tion. The democratized nature of so- cial media allows delegates to discuss and share their opinions in discussion groups and forums and gives them access to thought leaders on the sub- ject through blogs and micro blogging sites.
4. Improve the geographical reach of your event. Social media gives you access to a global arena where you can share ideas and gain visibility.
Social Media and the Event Lifecycle – How Social Media Can Be Used Throughout the Event Lifecycle.
1. Attract new members and solidify existing network thanks to the viral awareness growth (or “digital word of mouth”) allowed by social media.
2. Create thought starters for discussions by delivering information and creating content online.
1. Expand network and leverage future attendance via a hybrid component of the event (combination of digital and face to face event simultaneously).
2. Increase audience interactions: allow people to post, tweet, text questions to speakers to build discussion and debate
(Social Media and the Event Lifecycle Model: J. Roussey (2010)) |5
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