The Dangers of Ignoring Social Media for Your Next Corporate Event
So, you think you can hold a corporate event or conference in 2014 without social media. Maybe you just don’t know or care much about social media, so you figure that no one else will know or care, either. Perhaps you envision your company or product as traditional, tried-and-true, a household name already, or just too nuts-and-berries to be using anything so technologically oriented. Well, wake up, people, because if you choose to turn your nose up at apps, tweets, and Gamification at your next corporate shindig, you might as well just shoot yourself in the foot. If you don’t want to be bothered, think you just don’t need it, or haven’t a clue how to use it, you are going to think differently after you try to move ahead without getting on the bandwagon.
Lack of Community
One of the ways to band participants together before, during, and after a conference is to set up a Facebook page about it. On a FB page, progressive companies invite people to upcoming events, post updates about it, take polls about expectations and preferences, and allow people to chitchat with each other before they arrive, when they’re at the workshop, and to stay connected after they go home. Without social media, your event will lack that feel of community so important in a group meeting.
Reputation as a Has-Been
Companies that fail to get with the times develop the reputation for being archaic and oh-so-last-decade. No matter what products or services your business sells, and no matter how well known you perceive your organization to be, if you fail to move on with the times, you will be known as something from another time period, if you are noticed at all. Where would the restaurant under the golden arches be if they never went beyond the basic burger? Where would newspapers be if they didn’t notice they needed to develop news sites and blogs online? The answer to both those questions is: somewhere in the past.
Missed Opportunities to Attract Customers
So, if everyone else in the modern age is getting their news of events and happenings through social media, how are they going to find out about your organization’s conference? Without an online presence to link to, there will be no “shares” and “likes” about your upcoming corporate event. You might have the venue rented, the caterers ready to roll, the band tuning up their instruments, and an empty ballroom. Why? Because all of your former clients and customers found out about your competitor’s extravaganza on their Facebook page when one of their friends hit “share.” If you’d opened up to tweets on Twitter, apps, and Linked In, you could have gotten your invitations out. You know those paper copies you spent big bucks to print and mail out? Tossed into the recycling bin with the unread throwaway ads and junk mail.
Another danger of ignoring social media is that you can spend too much of your event planning budget on hard copies, printing, postage, and storage. I mean, come on! Paper copies of everything are cumbersome. If you utilize social media and technological advances before, during, and after your shindig, you won’t have to print and mail a slew of invitations. You won’t have to print mass quantities of schedules and handouts for your event, because everyone can access them online. If you cut the paperwork and postage fees out of your expenditures list, you will have much more to spend on decorations, speakers, meeting rooms, souvenirs, caterers, and the venue itself.
Giving Your Competitors an Edge
If you opt out of using a powerful marketing tool like social media, it’s like you are handing your competitors an edge on a silver platter. You’ve worked hard to make your product or service of the highest quality. You’ve spent tons of energy showing customers why your company’s gizmo is head and shoulders above the rest. If you ignore technology at your next event, that is like deciding not to wear your lightning-fast running shoes at a race over bumpy terrain. In fact, it’s like you handed over those special shoes to your competition. Was that a smart idea? Who will win the race now and who is to blame?
No Finger on the Pulse of Your Attendees
One of the beautiful things about using electronic communications is that it allows you to track your attendees likes and dislikes throughout the event. In fact, with pre-event polling, you can even figure out how everyone is feeling about the upcoming event before they even arrive. With this sort of tool, event planners can keep their fingers on the pulse of everyone’s mood, and then address any issues that come up. Without having access to this information, the whole party can go sour without planners ever knowing why.
Hard to Spread the Word Post-Conference
So, even if you manage to gather a small crowd without the help of social networking, how will your message go viral? Going viral means that a message spreads like wildfire through electronic channels, i.e. social media. You may have made the most wondrous presentation, but without Smartphones tweeting the message around or posting videos of the amazing thing that happened, no one will know about it. How can they link back to your Facebook page or post positive comments on your blog, if you don’t have pages and blogs? The message will have to travel via word of mouth, and that’s like relying on your feet for transportation in an age of jet planes and automobiles. Best case scenario would be that attendees might post awesome happenings to their own blogs or networks. The problem with that, though, is that you don’t have any control over how it’s packaged. You want to be the one to pass on your own good news first. If people share your post, well, the more, the merrier.
If you don’t want to use social networking to promote and run your conference because you are technology-challenged, relax. There are companies you can hire to do the promotion for you. If you hire a tech-smart business to set up your social media sites, write your copy, and teach you how to step into the new world of blogging and computerized communication, you won’t be sorry. The only regrets you will have are failing to realize just how dangerous it is for you to flat-out ignore social media at your event.