• Listen, listen, listen. “You need to know what’s being said about you everywhere on the Internet, and what’s being said about you on Twitter,” says KiKi L’Italien, membership and education services manager, Optical Society of America, Washington, D.C. Set up Google alerts for your organization’s name, your annual meeting’s name, any secondary meetings you have, your primary competitors, and keywords for your industry, to pick up news articles, blog posts, photos, and anything else related to your alert topics. Because Twitter isn’t tracked on Google, you also need to set up a separate-but-similar keyword search on Twitter.
  • Find internal champions on your staff. If you have a staff member who loves Facebook, put her in charge of your Facebook fan page, says Jeff Hurt, director of education and events with the National Association of Dental Plans, Dallas. Twitter might be a natural for your techies. You’ll find your staff much more interested and involved if the media they head up is one they love anyway.
  • Encourage exhibitors to use Twitter. L’Italien says that exhibitors who pay attention to tweets from attendees can develop relationships before the event and get them to stop by the booth, as long as they truly respond to the needs the attendee expresses and do it in a friendly, nonmarketing way. While a similar pitch via e-mail would have been ignored at best, L’Italien says Twitter interactions with exhibitors at ASAE and The Center’s annual meeting not only got her to their booths, but helped develop real friendships.
  • Make it easy for your members to let people know they’ll be at your meeting. Give them a “Meet us at the Meeting” image they can display on their home page, with a link back to your event Web site.
  • Remember that your goal is not to drive people to use Twitter or Facebook or another social media, but to reach out to people who are using those media, says Peter Hutchins, vice president of knowledge initiatives with ASAE and The Center, Washington, D.C. “We don’t want you to think Facebook or LinkedIn are the home place for what ASAE and The Center has to offer. We are careful to create those accounts to be a funnel to bring members back to the core ASAE site, because that’s the place we can monetize and learn from the relationship and interactions.”
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