The following question was posted today on the Who’s Who in Events LinkedIn group and it gives some food for thought.
Is Social Media just used to kill time and find out what old colleagues are up to or does anyone, other than social media consultants, get business out of it?
What is most interesting about the post is that it illustrates how much work is ahead of us before the marketing revolution that is social networking has filtered down to all areas of business.
While social media is transformational, the motivation behind it is not revolutionary in that it simply taps into our most basic human instinct to engage and connect. It enables the creation of a continuous dialogue between like-minded people which in the live arena can be capitalised on to create events that the attendees truly value.
When many people think of social media they are just considering Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, but these are really just the juggernauts that are educating the masses in the capabilities of what social media can do.
Imagine what you can do if you extract the technology of social media, using it to create your own network, drawing in your current attendees, other interested individuals and partner organisations. By providing them with an open and collaborative environment you will be able to understand what it is that motivates and concerns them, and then you can deliver business services and events that match these needs.
The organisations that are currently doing this successfully are incredibly diverse: from Cancer Centers who want to know how their patients select care at their center and what they want to receive while undergoing treatment; to AFOLs (adult followers of Lego); and then on to large technology organisations who were creating an event for their users based on what they thought were the issues but when they stopped and listened they discovered that there were other more pressing topics that needed to be addressed.
Social media is no longer just a useful part of an event or business marketing campaign, it is the linchpin of an event or business marketing campaign. Organisers and organisations that stop shouting and interrupting (outbound marketing) and start listening and responding (inbound marketing) will be the winners in a world that has, despite what the ostrichs may be thinking, already altered beyond all recognition.