Harnessing the power of social media for conference destinations
By Jennifer Young, Head of ConferenceLeeds
his year’s British Meetings and Events Industry Survey highlighted that social media is fast becoming a key tool for conference organisers to encourage delegates to attend a conference, as well as a tool to build on relationships with delegates post-conference. The same can be said for conference destinations as social media can be used in a variety of ways to showcase the region to a potentially global audience.
ConferenceLeeds has seen a growth in its social media activity over the last 12 months and it’s now an integral part of its communications plan. Using social media as a tool to target and engage with conference communities, as well as a channel for sharing key destination messages and venue news has proven to have a positive impact.
A recent survey conducted by ConferenceLeeds revealed that 58% of regular conference attendees found free time to be the most important factor in a successful conference, reflecting the fact that delegates are keen to know more about the location they’re visiting for a conference, in particular what a city has to offer from a recreational perspective. As part of our Delegate Welcome Packages, we harness the power of social media in terms of welcoming delegates to the city and enhancing their overall conference experience. By effectively engaging with conference delegates whilst they are here for business purposes, we work to inspire and motivate them to return as a leisure visitor and of course share their experiences of our city with colleagues, family and friends when they get home.
We also utilise our social channels to enforce the collaborative approach that we take with our venues and accommodation providers, which enables us to effectively highlight the assets we have here in the city. Essentially this acts as a tool for us to reach out to conference buyers and planners, enabling them to have a glimpse of what’s available in Leeds, including some of the fantastic conference venues we play host to. ConferenceLeeds uses social media proactively to share venue news, key USPs and special offers, as well as promoting its own activity at key shows to link up and secure valuable conference link ups.
Used effectively, social media can support your client relationship strategy and act as a powerful tool to be able to actively engage with conference organisers and delegates in real-time. Being able to tailor communications specific to a conference, its delegates and its subject matter has an important part to play in maintaining long lasting and meaningful relationships. By working with ambassadors in key knowledge hubs throughout your destination, and encouraging them to proactively use their personal social feeds in order to target sector-specific business will also play an important role in securing conferences.
Essentially, social media is something that is free to use, not overly time intensive and can be hugely effective when used strategically.