Sparkloft Media’s Martin Stoll works with planners holding events in Puerto Rico to make the journey easier. He has identified the 5 biggest misconceptions planners have about social media:
- Social media matters only during your event.
Social media is present at almost any event today—from NASCAR races to executive retreats. While there’s a universal understanding of why it’s important during an event, social tools can also be used beforehand to build attendance and attract better speakers, more sponsors or more PR. Or how about using the buzz during an annual meeting to create momentum for the following year? The possibilities are endless.
- Who needs a detailed plan, just do it!
Though it might look relatively straightforward on the surface (How complicated can it be to post a 140-character tweet?), the reality is quite different. A successful social media strategy requires detailed planning that sometimes starts more than a year in advance. It’s essential to clearly define your goals, identify your target audiences as well as the best platforms for them, create a content plan that will resonate with them and identify metrics to measure and evaluate your activities.
- You can do social media by yourself.
To be sure, you can manage all your social media by yourself, but why would you when you can rely on your vendors and partners to make your life easier? Some convention bureaus, like Meet Puerto Rico, offer planners tailored social media content to get attendees excited about the destination. Your speakers would be happy to promote your conference—they just need to be asked. And your sponsors can also serve as a welcome ally in amplifying the message surrounding an event via their own social channels.
- Social media is free.
The days when social media would only cost you time and effort are over. With Facebook leading the way, social platforms are tinkering with algorithms to ensure that only the most relevant content is shown to users. Thus, many social platforms are becoming pay-to-play: To increase reach, the brand or marketer must promote content through advertising. The upside to this is that platforms like Facebook offer unparalleled targeting options for advertising, and those ads can be shown to anyone on the network, not just to fans of your page. Social ads are very low-hanging fruit, especially for meeting planners trying to reach younger audiences and potential attendees.
- It’s hard to prove the value of social media.
“What is the ROI?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I hear about social media. Thanks to sophisticated tools that have emerged, marketers can evaluate all aspects of their social media activities, as well as those of their competitors. These tools provide not only quantitative but also qualitative insights down to a specific individual and their actions.—Martin Stoll
Martin Stoll is the CEO of Sparkloft Media, a social media agency that has developed Eleventes—a suite of social media services serving the specific needs of the meetings industry. He works with Meet Puerto Rico to offer meeting planners a wide range of social media support to make meetings in Puerto Rico even more successful. Depending on the size of the meeting and the needs of the planner, the services offered range from using social media for attendance-building to complete turnkey management of all relevant social media activities before, during and after the event. Each program is developed through a collaborative process between the meeting planner, the convention sales/convention services team and social media experts.