Your Conference Does NOT Need More Social Media

November 3, 2011

in Marketing, Tips

Julius Solaris (twitter, web) is the editor of the excellent Event Manager Blog and a social media strategist. In the video below both of his passions -events and social media- meet to give an important advice to conference organizers:

You don’t need more social media tools, you just need to use those that really matter [for your audience].

Many organizers try to be on every possible service available without verifying where their audience is already present (and active) and meeting them there. Sometimes organizers even open several accounts/pages (I’m thinking Twitter and Facebook mainly) but later don’t have enough [human] resources to manage them and keep them fresh and interactive. You’re not TED, who for example has several twitter accounts for different scopes (with quite an amount of followers on each like @TEDtalks, @TEDnews, TEDactive, TEDfellow, TEDchris…).

Some of the most abused tools by events are:

  • Twitter (I’ve been to several “top management” events where less than 1% of the audience used Twitter)
  • Facebook (are you just broadcasting or do your followers interact with your event?)
  • Blog/Tumblr/Posterous/etc (are you willing to publish INTERESTING content frequently?)
  • Instagram (yeah, you launched a creative-photo competition but most of your participants don’t know about it and besides they use mostly BlackBerries)
  • Storify (do you have time to curate a great story of your event with tweets, photos and all?)
  • Flickr (flickr is sliding down but apart from that, what’s the point in uploading 1,500 photos that no one will ever look at?)
  • Slideshare (most often uploading just the slides is useless as they should be a visual aid to the presentation and not contain all the information)
  • YouTube/Vimeo/etc (at least make the audio quality good!)
  • FriendFeed (does someone still use that?)
  • Google+ (ehm… yeah, nice… but is your audience there?)
  • Linkedin groups (two words: spam + boooooring….)
  • Livestream (you go through the hassle of live-streaming your event but you feed it with poor audio/video quality and you have only 3 viewers online)

Why waste time in all of the above if it’s really not working?

Julius suggests to:

  1. Make your Social Media Strategy clear (are you doing it for marketing, customer service, PR, traffic?)
  2. Avoid Social Media Overload by concentrating in what works for you
  3. Focus on the tools that really make a difference
  4. Use less fancy tools (faxes, sms, direct mail) if those nail your goals
  5. Integrate services (eg. print a QR code with a to your event’s Facebook page on your direct mail)

Bonus: most startups concentrate on services that are nice but not REALLY useful to conference organizers. Concentrate on the basics, look for the pain points. For some tips on how to disrupt the conference experience, checkout this video by Luke Williams, author of Disrupt.

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  • Anonymous

    Amen Julius! It’s time to start aligning social media with the core business strategies so that the outcomes bring real ROI.

    Thanks for the video Gianfranco!

  • Pogby Inc.

    This is great advice. It’s so easy to accidentally go overboard with all the upcoming social media tools and end up getting overwhelmed resulting in a fail on all parts!

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  • Paul Smith

    This is a great recommendation because I tend to over use the social medias. Too much information can kill the message!

    • Gianfranco Chicco

      Indeed! It’s not only about too much information but making sure it’s relevant and given through the right channel (where your audience is)…

  • Underflux

    Thats a great post. I always find it fascinating when people become hyped up by the social media side of things. In my experience as a SEO/online marketing guy (not a guru by any stretch), the main thing to work out is, where you audience is hanging out – a bit like in real world.  And then tailoring a bespoke strategy/conversation around it – yes it requires planning.  

    I’m not sure if I agree with you about Google + though.  Having used it for  number of months now, I’m finding that it is very good in terms of reducing spam – in fact I don’t receive any. I feel it will be a big player as a social media platform for businesses.  IMHO Google+ offers event organisers to be early adopters to the platform. Have you seen that they’ve just released Google+ Business Pages? 

    • Gianfranco Chicco

      My comment regarding each of the listed social media channels is ironical and not against one in particular… use what is best for your audience (e.i. where they are already). Don’t try to use them all (unless you have enough resources, people following them, etc). 

      • Underflux

        Got it. The irony I mean. I’m in serious analytical mode today – the none too observant mode otherwise I’d have got the irony:-) Urrggh.  Thanks for the heads up. Have you been using Google+ Business pages at all though? 

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  • Conference Transcription

    Day by day all social media websites are becoming bad for business purposes.

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