Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 30 2014

Re-Tooling Your Social-Media Strategy

By Dave Lutz, CMP
In the past few months, Facebook has dramatically changed how company page posts appear in our newsfeed. Organic post reach and engagement have declined steeply — unless your organization ponies up for paid posts. Then there's LinkedIn's announcement — “Company Pages Products & Services Page — No Longer Supported,” effective last month. Let's face it, things won't be the same now that these behemoth social platforms are public companies. They have a lot of shareholders to answer to now. So what's a conference marketer to do? Here are four ideas to consider — that is, until they move our cheese again:

1. Invest in a conference or organization blog
Over the past few years, there has been a huge shift from traditional to inbound marketing. Ablog is arguably the best medium to align with this shift. It serves as the hub of your social-media strategy and, if configured correctly, is something you own and control. Social channels like Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook serve as spokes (or outposts) of your blog hub. Blogs also significantly improve your organization's search engine optimization (SEO).


2. Consider creating an e-community platform — visual listservs that you own and control

In most cases, e-communities are private and available to members or conference registrants only. This kind of digital-community technology has advanced dramatically, and platform prices are very reasonable. If you go down this road, you need one heck of a good community-management strategy and ongoing moderation efforts. Unfortunately, the majority of e-communities that I've seen are ghost towns — and that's why the care and feeding of your community is more important than the platform you choose.

3. Decide whether you'll use private or public social media
As of today, Linked-In and Facebook groups are still free and a viable social-media option. Over the past few years, many LinkedIn groups have made the switch from private to public, dramatically growing their subscription base. My guess is that these groups will be okay for the foreseeable future. Individual users won't complain as much about not seeing company listings in their feeds as they will about groups that they've joined. Key to your success will be to make these safe places that are helpful and not platforms for individuals pitching their products and services. Moving forward, I think we'll see more private groups on these two platforms.

4. Test the waters with paid posts on social platforms your industry frequents, if appropriate
Promotional posts are less likely to perform well. Posts from an individual that include rich media, are helpful, entertaining, and/or align with a big industry challenge will have the best engagement and reach.

Bottom line, the best social-media strategy will have a mix of owned, earned, and paid listings. That won't change, but how we all tackle that mix will continue to evolve.

Dave Lutz, CMP, is managing director of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.

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