Our Founder, Robin Brattel recently gave a talk at the 30th anniversary International Confex show at ExCel. As an expert in his field, Robin spoke about how social media and online platforms can be used effectively in event organisation and promotion. He discussed how these platforms are currently being used in the industry, compared the different options available and vitally, measured the effectiveness of each.
It is becoming more and more evident that social media is here to stay and can be an incredibly powerful tool when organising an event. In fact, 72% of event organisers now see social media as a very important part of their job and 78% are planning to use it even more than they already do.
Exactly which platforms are those in the industry using however?
- 84% are using Facebook
- 61% Twitter
- 42% YouTube
- 42% LinkedIn
- 36% Google+
- 31% Blogs
If you’re not familiar with the world of social networking you may question why so many people are now using it. The most obvious answer is that with millions of people actively using these sites every day, what better way is there to reach out to people instantly, so easily and often for free?
If you are organising an event for example, social media can help you to collaborate with partners, colleagues, attendees and other people who may be interested but you wouldn’t normally have access to. Having the ability to post information and updates on these sites eliminates the need for so many emails which can be costly, it’s not intrusive because people have chosen to log-in and importantly, it enables them to share your news with others in their network.
With so many companies now realising the benefits of social media, you would struggle to find one that doesn’t have at least one online profile set up. This provides you with many great opportunities to discover suppliers, venues, caterers and any other service you may need. 61% of people now read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. This is hardly surprising when you consider that buyers can now see how companies interact with their customers and what people who have used them thought about the service.
Although social media can become a fundamental tool for event organisers, you have to work at it before you start to reap the benefits. In order to be successful, you need to become part of a community that knows and trusts you before you can activate it. There are generally six stages of online community development that as a brand, if you understand and work at, can help you to guide people from someone who simply follows you to a brand advocate.
Stage One – The Lurker – A lurker is someone who liked or followed your page – they have taken the first step but that’s it. Chances are that at this stage they’re barely paying attention to what you’re saying and are highly unlikely to join in any conversations.
Stage Two – The Eavesdropper – Once you have said something that has captured the attention of an individual, they are likely to become an eavesdropper. This means that they’re beginning to develop an interest in what you’re saying but they are still unlikely to interact with your content.
Stage Three – The Acquaintance – Now you have said or posted enough things to catch someone’s attention, they are mildly interested in what you have to say. Just like an acquaintance in your neighbourhood, you will start to have some surface level interactions.
Stage Four – The Active Participant – As interactions become deeper and more meaningful, followers will start to comment, ask questions and even initiate conversations rather than simply just ‘liking’ things.
Stage Five – The Brand Loyalist – At this stage, loyalists will have an affinity for you over the competition, even if they are cheaper or more convenient. This is because they are buying more than a product or service – they’re buying into your mission and believe in what you’re doing.
Stage Six – Brand Advocate – Brand advocates are such strong members of your community that they will even start recruiting other members to join. They will encourage others to buy from you, share good customer service stories and willingly answer questions from people. This is a great stage to be at because people trust recommendations and are more likely to buy from you as a result.
Stay tuned for the second instalment of Robin’s talk which focuses on getting your audience to engage with you. If you can’t wait until next week though, you can view his presentation on Slideshare.