The challenge of getting attendees to sign up for your events has always been a part of the meetings business. Nothing new there.
It used to be fine to send out postcards. But then, the Internet happened.
Then, it became standard to send out email invitations and build an event website.
But then, Social Media happened.
Today, meeting planners are faced with either jumping into the world of social media or risk getting left behind.
Today’s meeting and event attendees are more and more inclined to be connected on many different social media platforms. Even attendees who didn’t grow up in the social media revolution have adapted.
According to Facebook, out of its 1,590 million users (as of April 2016), more than 60% of adults ages 50-64 use Facebook on a regular basis.
Younger generations? Usage approaches up to 85%.
So, let’s burst that myth that only Millennials and Gen Xers use Facebook, Twitter and all those other social media platforms.
That’s really good news for today’s meeting planners.
Savvy meeting planners are discovering just how useful it can be to leverage social media platforms to market their meetings and events.
Some of the ways planners are promoting their events in social media include:
- Promoting their event hashtag
- Inviting speakers, sponsors and exhibitors to engage in social media promotion
- Use compelling graphic images in social media as a way to encourage clicks and interaction with prospective attendees
- And generally, finding ways to connect with prospective attendees, generate buzz and encourage prospects to come to events!
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms are making it easier than ever to target key demographics, and marketing to their user base via ads, videos, and interesting content.
Social media platforms are getting more and more sophisticated every day!
For example, Facebook offers Lookalike Audiences, which take your uploaded audience list, identifies common qualities such as demographic information and interests, and then matches to Facebook users in your targeted countries that are similar (look alike) to your uploaded audience.
Twitter is also offering many variations in their ad platform, allowing you to target followers of key organizers and who share similar interests and demographics.
Event technology platforms have only recently started paying attention to this, and one company, Centium Software, has taken things one step further by providing a built in social media marketing tool in their flagship product, EventsAIR.
Director of Technology Alec Sonenthal explains what it is all about.
“Many of our clients routinely market to their contact lists,” Mr. Sonenthal said. “EventsAIR makes it exceptionally easy to target different prospective attendees and marketing your events to only those you want to reach out to.”
Mr. Sonenthal continued that was just common sense to take the powerful marketing communications in EventsAIR and extend it to social media marketing.
“Our latest innovation is the Social Media Marketing Automation tool,” Mr. Sonenthal said. “This exciting tool lets our meeting planners identify and automatically upload targeted lists of prospective attendees directly into their Facebook and Twitter ad platforms. Once there, our planners simply use those uploaded audience lists for whatever advertising campaign they wish to deploy.”
Mr. Sonenthal noted the most exciting aspect of the new tool was its ability to schedule ongoing updates to Twitter and Facebook.
“It’s a great way to keep your uploaded audiences accurate and up-to-date,” Mr. Sonenthal said. “If a prospective attendee registers for your event, it is removed from future uploads. This keeps your marketing efforts accurate, since you aren’t paying to advertise to current attendees of your events.”
The meetings business continues to show positive growth worldwide, and meeting attendees are more and more engaged in Social Media. It’s a logical progression for meeting planners to adapt, change and learn about the ways they can connect with today’s attendees.
And with the right tools, it’s not rocket science!