On the internet the process of deciding upon a purchase begins with finding the necessary or desired information. If we focus on the organisation of conferences and congresses we can’t even imagine success without the involvement of social media in the process of planning and executing the event. Especially since conferences, seminars or congresses as part of the hotel business have elements of identity common for “show business”.  They are interesting, popular, based on names, the social component of “who else is attending” etc. Such content is among the most interesting in the environment of the social media.

For organizers of conferences and congress an internet business model based on measuring ROI will be most effective. Therefore, a modern internet marketing strategy in hotel, fair and meetings industry is connected with managing and monitoring results. The online social part of the meetings industry can be broken down into several segments:

1) They have to hear of you;
2) Tell your story and they will hear you;
3) Make sure, the attendees feel they are attending your event;
4) Interact with attendees through chat, games,…

Classic and revolution of social media hand in hand

Besides the classic online tasks like managing the website and a web presence, promoting and advertising in the form of communication 2.0, social media (integrating social media into the planning of the event, organizing and inviting speakers and guests, promotion and distribution of content, managing a platform for the biggest possible gain from social media by using them during the event as well as after) are in the centre of attention of meetings organizers. Why?

The answer is simple if we start with basic economy and put aside the fact social media is currently a hot topic (not only in business, yet in mighty social changes where everyone can follow the course of events as they unfold). The cost of using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Blogger, WordPress and similar platforms are so low classic methods of marketing seem very pricey. But don’t let that fool you. The key to success is in integrating classic and virtual tools to a wholesome promotional interaction where the social media is ranked at the top of your communication hierarchy.

Let me list five reasons why creating and managing the reputation and appearances of your event or trademark on the web, specifically in social media is extremely important:

1.     The web is now the most useful media. According to the latest surveys people in Slovenia also focus 38 % of their media use on the web, thereby making it an important source of creating an image for an event. Approximately a half of web users actively participate in social media.
2.    Because social media produces new publications and new content every day. It’s important these are not just publications per se, yet content actually created by the users.  Among the content you can find your event, your visitors as well as your competition. Find the stars of your events and make sure they promote your event to make it a success.
3.    You potential clients can clearly express their intention on attending the event or not, which means they can influence thereby accelerate the decision process of their friends in favour of your event, which also contributes towards improving the content about your event appearing online, if you keep up with the debate and contribute to it.
4.    Social media is an excellent platform to test new social technologies and at the same time an opportunity for the users to distribute the information themselves and spread the knowledge on your event. Because companies and other organisations spend way too much time and means for an activity, which will not yield desired results the winners are those who actively contribute to the social media debate.
5.    Because companies are often unfamiliar with the critical phases of building, monitoring and managing the appearance of the company online, many presences in social media are confusing and unfocused, which presents a marketing opportunity for those who know what they are doing. Use the power of social platforms, multimedia, short messages, blogs, social profiles and other concepts to your advantage.

Besides all of the above there is another good reason to enhance your web presence and make sure it is wholesome. The future of organizing meetings and seminars is pointing towards virtual conferences. They can be marketed individually or as virtual support of classic events. Therefore try not to neglect the role of social media tools even in organizing classic conferences. The most advanced conference planners actively offer the basic elements of social media and at the same time test new tools such as group games, live communication, "widgets" with the topic of the event etc. Let me finish with a thought which has become a mantra of contemporary marketing. Talks and debate on your market and amongst your clients are already happening – the art of good business is in encouraging the “right” topics of these conversations. To start, why not join these debates? Are you in?

Primož Žižek, E-laborat

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