I have been in the event planning industry for over 20 years and I know my colleagues are slow to accept change. In addition, many managers, clients and stakeholders want to continue to plan their event in the same old ways.

With over 3 billion individuals worldwide on social, it is time to accept the following facts about Social Media and the Meeting and Event Planners who use it.

Social Media Facts for Events:

  1. Boosts your meeting attendance
  2. Promotes your organization’s brand
  3. Extends the life of the conference
  4. Builds excitement about future events
  5. Is less costly than traditional marketing methods

In the latest edition of The Meeting Professional, several event planners weighed in on this subject coming to the same conclusion I did: social media is not to be ignored, shoved in a corner or used infrequently. Embrace it or be obsolete.

Let’s take a closer look at each item listed above.

Social Media Boosts Your Meeting Attendance

How is this possible? Look at your attendees; they can potentially touch four generations and maybe five depending on the scope of the event. Each of these generational groups communicate differently with different medium. It is your job to find the right social channels for your meeting and then continuously provide value based content about your event. Yes, email and direct mail campaigns may still work for a subset of your attendees, but even my 75 year-old mother uses Facebook.

Social Media Promotes Your Brand

When you send social updates out via your Facebook Events page, under your Twitter and Instagram hashtags or on your Google+ Company page; you are promoting your brand and creating top-of-mind awareness of who you are and what you have to offer. The key is moderation; too many updates creates noise in the channel and too few makes you obscure. Strive for an update about your event once a day.

While individuals are at the conference, they can see all Twitter feeds, Instagram photos and Vine videos via a video wall rental which helps create excitement about what is going on at the conference. In addition, if you have iPad and laptop rentals, you can send notices directly to attendees’ devices. Trade show technology can allow for geofencing, a social tool that allows your exhibitors to send targeted messages to attendees that are within a certain zone.

Social Media Extends the Life of Your Conference

Have your presentations uploaded to SlideShare using the event’s hashtag on each slide. Record your speakers and upload their talks on YouTube. Run contests about content. Ask questions. Solicit feedback from a mobile app that runs on iPad rentals.

All of these options extend the life of your conference and allow potential attendees to catch a glimmer of the action.

Social Media Builds Excitement About Future Events

Once you have built up your followers, don’t let your social channels grow cobwebs. Keep the conversation going even if your next event is a year off. Run videos, show photos and give individuals up-to-the-minute updates about your program.

Social Media is Less Costly than Traditional Methods

If you compare the time it takes to write, edit, print and mail any marketing piece, I think you would agree that social is less costly and more relevant than anything written. In addition, if you advertise in print publications it can cost you thousands of dollars. Social channels are free, but more are requiring advertising (i.e. Facebook) to get noticed. However, these PPC options are highly targeted and you only pay for the clicks to your website or event page.

How can SmartSource Rentals Help?

SmartSource Rentals can provide you with audio visual rentals to help build and boost attendee interactivity. Give them a call at 800.888.8686 to learn how!