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Social Media is an essential part of conference planning

In the past 10 years, social media has emerged as a foundational communication tool for individuals and businesses alike. Two-thirds of Internet users worldwide have active social media accounts, and the majority of people carry at least one mobile device with them at all times. That provides a great opportunity for conference and event planners to reach meeting attendees and enhance their overall meeting experience.

If social media hasn’t been part of your conference planning strategy in the past, 2017 may be the time to rethink that. Social media can deliver a number of benefits to both you and your attendees, so it makes sense to incorporate social media into your event plan.

What can social media do for your event? Here are a few things to consider.

Engaging the attendees. Engagement is one of the biggest benefits of an event-based social media strategy. Being able to communicate directly with prospective attendees during the event planning and event registration processes is invaluable. During the event, you can also use social media to direct attendees to specific sessions, exhibits and networking events.

Building interest. Social media is also a great way to build interest among attendees in the conference agenda, featured speakers, live demonstrations and other special events well before the attendees arrive at the venue. It can also be a great way to generate new interest in an established conference, and help attendees find new experiences at events they regularly attend.

Disseminating information. Social media can be your go-to method for disseminating information and “breaking news” to attendees while a meeting or conference is in progress. Location changes, late additions, travel and weather information, networking opportunities and off-site events are all great candidates for promotion through social media channels.

Extending the attendee experience.
Engagement is one of the ideal outcomes of a social media strategy, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to really take advantage of everything that a meeting or event has to offer. Social media can help take attendees deeper into subjects that are meaningful to them by providing access to additional materials – presentations, podcasts, videos, working groups – that can keep attendees energized and focused on the subjects that are meaningful to them.

Archiving the event. Many meetings and conferences occur on a regular schedule. Social media archives can act like a library for an event. While that may not seem like much, future attendees will use past meetings to determine whether they want to attend or how many people from an organization they’ll be sending. By storing the value of a meeting or an event, social media can produce long-term benefits for organizers and attendees alike.