Every meeting planner is aware of the value of pre- and post-conference getting them excited about upcoming seminars and various activities goes a long way toward improving attendance, and it usually leaves the bosses pretty happy too. A strong social presence after those meetings also goes a long way toward helping you learn what certain organizations and divisions like and don’t like, and gets team members excited about the next event.. Reaching out to attendees long before the actual event and
Keeping up with all of that interaction, however, can become tedious and time-consuming, especially if you’re working across multiple social platforms. Although Facebook is a great go-to standard, more and more meeting planners are reaching out to other social sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and others to not only promote events, but also to promote their services. Instead of doing each of these posts individually, there are ways to get the word—and meeting-related images—out across multiple social platforms simultaneously.
VerticalResponse was originally created for on-the-go business owners who have limited manpower and/or limited time to keep up with social media campaigns. This platform allows users to select the top social media platforms that they would like to post to and schedule regular campaigns for a full month. The program can post as frequently or infrequently as you want, and it even provides content suggestions related specifically to your industry or the topic of the meeting you're promoting.
VerticalResponse also provides metrics so you can determine the effectiveness of your campaigns, and an e-mail marketing app that integrates easily with iPhones. The mobile version of VerticalResponse makes it easy to change or reschedule campaigns from your iPhone, or post updates cross-platform with a click. The program is $18 per month, however, whereas several other social media management tools offer free versions along with their paid pro options.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools out there, with high-profile users including McDonald's, PepsiCo, the World Wildlife Federation, Virgin, and Lamborghini. The program integrates with a large number of social sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, FourSquare, Wordpress, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, and Constant Contact. Along with being able to post across social platforms simultaneously, HootSuite also provides users with Facebook Insights, which analyzes the effectiveness of all of your Facebook activities; Google Analytics, which shows how your social activities are directly affecting your Web site activity; and several other analytic options from Twitter to Ow.ly to Google+, and more.
For larger teams, you can use HootSuite to organize, e-mail, and assign tasks to other social media marketers, and even message and collaborate with each other internally using the HootSuite platform. HootSuite apps are also available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry. HootSuite does offer a free version; its Pro version is $9.99 per month.
If these other programs sound a bit overwhelming, there are several simpler programs out there, such as Digsby. Originally designed as a way to manage chats and e-mail, Digsby allows users to check multiple e-mail accounts at once (including Gmail, Yahoo, and POP accounts) from one place and send e-mails right from the IM window. It streamlines instant messaging from your e-mail accounts and Facebook chat into one window that you can reply from, and includes the option to have messages pop up while you’re working on other tasks. As for cross-platform simultaneous posting, it currently works with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn, and includes a social network infobox that scrolls a real-time feed from all of your registered accounts. Again, while it's not the furthest reaching of the social tools, it's simple, easy to use, and puts a lot of daily functions into one place for easy accessibility. Better yet, it's free to use.
Depending on how much you want to be able to do with your social media campaigns and your personal level of tech savvy, there are many more social media management tools to choose from. And regardless of whether you go for the simplest cross-platform posting tool or a big social media management powerhouse, these social management platforms go a long way toward making it easier to communicate simultaneously and effectively across the Internet's leading social sites.
Have you tried a social media management tool? Which one seems to work best for your specific type of meeting management? Are there other management tools you would recommend?
When he’s not investigating blogging and social media trends, Tim Eyre, interactive marketing manager for Extra Space Storage,works with storage units users in 34 of the 50 the United States, helping customers store their stuff in places like the Atlanta self storage facility on Cheshire Bridge Road. His company’s in-house blog has recently launched an integrated social media program that he hopes will help spread their posts across StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and more.