At the recent Elevate conference, social media strategist Gary Vaynerchuk said, “If you are not, as an event marketer, in full-fledged effort of storytelling on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at this moment, you are borderline not relevant to what's about to happen in the next 24 months.” And whether planners, fund-raisers, and other event and meeting professionals agree with that statement, there is evidence to show the industry is taking social media seriously and relying on popular public channels as tools for marketing. Amiando, a software-as-a-service platform for online event registration and ticketing based in Munich, Germany, recently released its third Social Media & Events report that revealed an increased confidence in the power of social media for events.
According to the study, which surveyed around 1,500 event organizers in Europe, North and South America, and elsewhere, 75 percent of respondents believe social media networks are very important marketing instruments and 82 percent are planning to increase their activity on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most popular platforms, with 78 percent saying they use Facebook, 56 percent on Twitter, and nearly half on LinkedIn.
The report also investigated how social media is used in the context of events. The majority, 58 percent, indicate the main goal of using social media is to publicize an event, with secondary goals of increasing awareness of the brand and creating a new information channel to replace an existing one such as email.
Nonetheless, there are hurdles to taking full advantage of these online communication tools, with respondents citing lack of time, know-how, and personnel as the biggest problems. Additionally, only 20 percent make use of monitoring tools, and of that, 83 percent use free tools rather than custom or fee-based solutions.
For Vaynerchuk—and, perhaps, many event and meeting professionals—the limitations of social media channels are still being tested and they will continue to evolve to meet new needs. ”We're grossly underestimating these platforms,” said Vaynerchuk. “We're just starting.”