You may have attended a conference recently and saw that the presenters had a Tweetwall (live Twitter feeds) behind them, or maybe they’re telling meeting attendees what the hashtag for the event is and it got you wondering: if social media event marketing works for conferences then why can’t it work to engage conference attendees (i.e. visitors) on behalf of my CVB or DMO? As we discussed in a previous post about Four Ways to Make Locals Key Players in Your Marketing Strategy, people attending meetings in your city have the potential to become some of the best ambassadors on your behalf. They stay in your hotels, dine in your restaurants and visit your attractions and often their itineraries are carefully curated so they are really seeing the best of the best of your destination. So if you engage them in the right way while they are in your city, they can generate positive awareness about your city. This engagement can prove to be a powerful force in persuading others to plan meetings and visit your destination. Here’s a three-prong strategy to engage meeting attendees in your market to use social media on your behalf:
1. Incentivize Engagement
If your objective is to gain more likes on your Facebook or Instagram pages or acquire more Twitter followers, then a great way to do this is to attach a prize when encouraging event participants to tweet or talk positively about your city. According to the Event Marketing Institute, 92% of meeting attendees are willing to give feedback at events if it is tied to an incentive. So use this approach to engage meeting attendees to provide positive social content for your market. The prize offered could be a free weekend stay in your city for a return visit or something as simple as a cool branded T-shirt.
2. Use a Hashtag, Specifically for Meetings in Your Market
Inevitably, people who attend events in your city are going to post pictures on social media, across a variety of platforms. So why not create a hashtag that is unique to your market and promote that hashtag by having it visible everywhere that meeting attendees are. Think table tents, signage footers, meeting agendas, landing pages, etc. Provide a handout for each meeting planner to include with their convention material. Put it on digital marquees at convention centers and inside meeting venues. Keep in mind that you want your hashtag to be short and descriptive BUT it is also critical to research hashtags to be sure yours is sufficiently unique before settling on it.
3. Maintain Engagement Post-meeting
There’s a good chance meeting attendees will remain followers within their preferred social media channel after their event, so keep in mind that you need to continue to post engaging content with the right post schedule strategy. The right strategy, combined with expert tactical execution, has the potential to translate into tangible and significant value for your destination among meeting planners, future meeting attendees and even future leisure travelers. This post is part of a series of articles about providing “added value.” We will dive into the world of meeting and event planning and how DMOs can create added value for potential meeting planners’ events by incorporating landing pages, meeting proposal request forms, itinerary builders, message boards, and pre and post-event emails and blogs.