How To Turn A Negative Into A Positive When Someone Bashes A Conference Speaker On Social Media

If you’ve read any of our past posts on integrating social media into events and conferences, you’ll know that we’re big advocates of live tweeting/Facebooking/blogging/etc. Opening the door to different elements of your association’s event can help increase your reach, engagement and value among your target audience. For example, when the keynote speaker is talking to attendees, help those who couldn’t be there in person follow along by throwing out some key facts, stats or quotes on Twitter. It’s a great way to show the social media universe you care about them.

But what happens when you share a thought or two from a speaker and it doesn’t sit well with your online audience? We’ve seen it happen and it’s a reality of the game; when you open yourself up to engagement, feedback and adulation, you also open yourself up to criticism.

Conference speakers are almost always experts in their fields and are well-respected in the industry they are involved with. However not everyone is going to agree all the time and more outspoken users of social media will no doubt voice their opinion loud and clear when they disagree with a viewpoint. This can downgrade your efforts on social media, the event and the speaker and make it an unpleasant experience for all. Don’t let this potential scenario scare you away from using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other platform at your event. In fact, there are a few ways you and your association can turn the tables on harsh critics and make this unfortunate situation a win-win.

The best way to turn a negative comment into a positive is to mould it into a learning experience, one that promotes meaningful conversation and dialogue. Instead of ignoring the comment or shutting down the person who is commenting, start a conversation with them. Thank them for their thoughts and ask them why they feel the way they do or what alternative view they could offer. Be polite and invite the person to express their views in a constructive manner, rather than an outright dismissal of the speaker’s ideas.

Nothing on social media every happens in a vacuum. Other people are likely to see the critical comment and jump in with their own thoughts, perhaps even the speaker themselves. Attempt to be a moderator without taking sides. Instead, attempt to foster positive discussion and help everyone involved realize that differing views can lead to a new perspective or solution on a problem. It’s also ideal to provide people with context to the discussion taking place. Someone who doesn’t have the full story of the discussion can end up saying something volatile because they don’t have all the facts. This can be done especially well on Twitter as the platform allows you to “quote” past tweets and attach them to one of your own, thereby tying the two messages together and providing context.

The process above is an ideal outcome to a negative comment about a presenter or speaker. Unfortunately, there are some who like to take their critiques too far. This happens when the person doing the critiquing makes it personal, uses offensive language, is uninterested in a constructive discussion or veers to another, less salient point in an attempt to keep the conversation negative. In this case, always stay polite and professional if you chose to respond. Your members, attendees, speakers and partners will see your professionalism and attempt to keep the situation civil and productive which will eliminate a negative perception of your organization or the event. Always put your best foot forward and the majority of your audience will respect you for it and realize a good customer service experience when they see it.

Four Ways To Think Like Your Audience To Create Better Headlines and Titles

In today’s marketing environment, a handful of words can make or break your online communications strategy. We’ve officially entered into the era of clickbait and always judging a blog post by its cover. This means titles and headlines are one of, if not the most important part of constructing an effective piece of content to centre your efforts around.

Is the title too wordy? It will never fit in a 140-word tweet. Is it too bland and matter-of-fact? No one will click on it and land on our website. It’s not a list? How will anyone know if they have time to read it all?

These factors might seem downright silly, but they are based on very real thoughts that people have. In a world saturated with content, deciding which to look at and which to disregard means taking everything into account. Marketers need to understand what their audience is looking for and how to entice them to click on that blog post or follow a link to their video on YouTube. We’ve put together a few tips to get you started on the road to understanding your audience and developing better starters for your content.

If They Have A Problem, Offer A Solution

You need to know what will make your audience’s life better. They will prioritize content that adds value to their life over other mildly interesting information or purely fun pursuits. Once you know what problem they want solved, create content around that issue and tell them in the title, headline, tweet, etc., that this problem will be solved by your post.

For example, if you are creating content for an association, find out a problem your members are having and write a blog post about it or even find a third-party article and tweet about it. Create a headline or tweet that captures both the problem and the promise of a solution all in one. Your audience will recognize the opportunity to get some advice on an obstacle they have been facing and will be more willing to click on the link to your website, comment or share the post.

Time Is Money So Tell Them How Much They’re Spending

An audience, any audience, appreciates full disclosure and that includes telling them how long your content is going to take to read, watch, etc. If they know your video is short and sweet, they can watch it while they take a 10-minute break or at their lunch. If your blog post is 2,000 words and an in-depth profile of one of their colleagues in the industry, they might decide to bookmark it and read it after work. However, if they are unsure about the time it takes to consume the content, they might leave your website feeling jipped or give up after a few minutes and never return.

This dilemma can be solved with a few tweaks to your titles, headlines, posts, etc. First of all, lists are a great way tell people how long your content is. For example, if your title says, “5 Ways to Get Better At Your Job,” they may have time to read it here and now, but if it says “35 Ways to Get Better…” they might leave it until tonight. You can go a step further and do what some sites like Mashable are doing and add an approximate read time on the title. This will tell your audience exactly how long it will take them to read your blog post, article, etc. so they don’t waste time. They will appreciate this small service immensely.

Give Them A Challenge

I dare you; the three words that made any activity irresistible when you were a kid. In reality, this mindset doesn’t go away as you grow up. Everyone enjoys testing themselves, even if it’s a challenge that’s a little more cerebral than stuffing as many marshmallows in your mouth as you can. If the content you are creating warrants it, present the information as a challenge to your audience.

Injecting a little fun dare into your headline, title or post involves knowing what your audience will see as an invitation to test their know-how, wit or skills. For example, if you are creating an infographic about crazy facts and stories for fans of a particular pastime or sport, go ahead and create a title such as, “Check Out How Many Of These Crazy Hopscotch Facts You Know And See If You’re A True Fan.” This is a challenge for your audience to prove to themselves that they know everything there is about hopscotch and prove themselves worthy of calling themselves a fan. Sometimes a challenge is irresistible and this will lead to more clicks, views and engagement.

Speak Their Language

Each group of people, while it’s based on geography, age, occupation or other factors, has its own way of talking. Using the words and phrases in your content’s title that your target audience can relate to and uses in every day life is an important part of drawing their attention and keeping it. When they see language they use and understand, they feel more comfortable and confident that the content they are clicking on, reading, watching or participating in is legitimate and important to them.

To understand what language to use to draw your audience in, it’s important to mirror the words they use and the language that other popular communication outlets use in your industry or area of interest. Check to see what buzzwords are being used among your target audience in Twitter chats, Facebook statuses or the comment sections or articles or YouTube videos. Read professional trade magazines or popular websites that cater your target demographics. Lastly, review your past content and see which posts generated the most engagement. Use the language from these posts’ headlines and titles and create similarly effective content in the future.

What To Do About Social Media When Your Association Starts A Joint Initiative

Associations are in the business of building relationships. Most of the time, these relationships are with members. However, there are plenty of situations in which associations partner with other organizations, be they sponsors, for-profit enterprises or other associations, to take on a project. After all, two (or three or four) heads are better than one.

There is no shortage of logistics to coordinate when two or more organizations get together, but a large part of making any successful initiative is communication, of which social media is a segment. Knowing how to manage the message on any online platform can take a so-so project and make it smashing success. Joint initiatives make it a little trickier as there is more than one voice in the mix. Here are a few tips to help your association smooth out and wrinkles in your social media communications during a collaboration.

Before

The planning process is important for any joint initiative and there is sure to be ample opportunity to discuss a communications strategy with your partners, including how you are going to coordinate social media efforts. Come to meetings prepared to talk about several elements of social media marketing so your association and the other parties are on the same page. The following are some questions to keep in mind as you go through the planning process:

  • What platforms do you and your partners plan to use to communicate with stakeholders?
  • Will you use separate, existing accounts or create new ones specifically for the joint project?
  • What form will the content about the joint effort take on the account(s)? Will you need videos, pictures, stories, links, etc? Will it be serious or more light-hearted?
  • How will you track and measure the success of the social media efforts and their impact on the project?
  • How often and how long should the content be rolling out on social media? Once a day for a month? Once a week for a year? Somewhere in between?
  • ¬†What resources (labour, money, infrastructure, etc) will all parties contribute to the effort?
  • What information is off-limits and what content can be shared?

During

After the planning comes the execution of the strategy. Many of the elements that go into a successful social media campaign for a joint project are the same as a regular online marketing strategy; make sure you are posting consistently, the posts are engaging, measuring the results is a priority and responses to questions or feedback is addressed in an appropriate and timely manner. However, there are a few differences you need to be mindful of when coordinating with other organizations:

  • Mention your partners whenever it is appropriate to do so. Remember, it’s a partnership, so keep their name on display and they will do likewise.
  • Don’t change the voice/style of your social media accounts too much to conform to your partners’ styles. Your audience likes your style for a reason.
  • Share information with your partners, including any significant interactions you receive and the numbers behind certain posts and the overall effort.
  • If you are not sure about information, the appropriateness of a post or anything else, contact your partners first to have a discussion. Better safe than sorry.
  • Keep up to date with what your partners are doing. If a certain method they are using is successful or there is an opportunity to collaborate or improve the message, it’s a necessity that you take it.
  • Stick to the plan you agreed on during the planning process. Don’t go too far off-script and if you do, consult with your partners about your ideas and motives.

After

There is still work to be done when the collaboration between your association and other organizations comes to an end. Just because a campaign, contest, sponsorship, event or other project finishes doesn’t mean there isn’t some legwork to be done. The formal conclusion of the partnership can often dictate whether or not organizations want to ally themselves with you in the future, which makes this step just as crucial as the planning and execution stages. Here are some tips for giving the joint initiative a fairytale ending:

  • Thank your partners on social media. Mention them in a tweet, Facebook post or short video or tell your story in a blog post or longer video. A little recognition goes a long way.
  • Do a full-scale analysis of the numbers and social media’s impact on the initiative. Send the numbers to your partner organizations and ask them for their numbers and analysis.
  • If you created a new social media account for the joint project, make sure to either dismantle it or develop a sustainability plan to keep it successful in its continued existence.
  • Give your social media audience a recap of the project and its successes, including an last details, which individuals to thank, the outcomes and the next steps.
  • Continue to monitor the social media accounts of your partners to generate content ideas, develop your audience acquisition strategy and cement the relationship between your association and helpful allies.

How Associations Can Measure The Impact Of Social Media Marketing On Their Events

One of the biggest reasons associations use social media is for event promotion. It’s not hard to see why. Events are a big deal for member organizations. They make up a large portion of revenue and are one of the sole touch-points an association has with a large group of members over the course of a year. It certainly makes sense for organizations to throw a big part of their communications, including social media, behind such an element.
With this in mind, it’s important for associations to know which type of communication is working best and how to build a strategy around promoting events to maximize the resources available to them. This means that the results of an event marketing strategy on social media must be measurable in some way. The question of how to measure the impact of Twitter, Facebook, a blog, etc on conference registration and participation is crucial for the success and sustainability of associations, which is why we’ve tackled the subject in the paragraphs below.
Go With The Flow
If you are attempting to measure the impact of your association’s social media efforts on event promotion, the best place to start is by tracking the flow of online traffic. Raising awareness of your event among your target audience through social media is one thing, but converting these people from informed members to event attendees is the tangible outcome you are ultimately striving for. In order to know if this conversion is happening, you must figure out if the content you are posting online is driving traffic to sites where conference registration is taking place. One you discover how effective this path is from social media content to registration, you can start to formulate conclusions as to the success of the online communications strategy.
Tracking the flow of traffic can generally be done using Google Analytics. Accessing Google Analytics can be done yourself or by contacting your association’s website provider/management team. This tool tracks how website visitors entered the site and how they navigated around the site. Using this information, you can discover how many people came to your event’s registration page through Twitter, Facebook or blog links. More traffic to the registration page means a higher conversion rate for your social media and a higher return on investment.
Stick To Your Guns
Tracking the flow of web traffic is the primary way to tell if your social media efforts are having an impact on the success of an event, but there are a few ways to take the data your are already collecting from your online accounts and parse them to draw a better picture of your results. These pieces of data are generally used to analyze how your event is doing (or did) with engaging attendees and encouraging participation. Knowing your social media’s level of success with this task is crucial to determining if your event achieved enough buy-in to be sustainable in the long-term.
There are several specific pieces of data you can examine to discover the impact of social media on the engagement and participation of event attendees, many you may already be tracking as part of a regular reporting regimen. If your event has a hashtag, measure the number of times it was used, clicked on and what was said with the hastag. You can also track how many times your association’s posts with event-relevant content were favourited, shared or commented on. Lastly, tracking the number of target audience members (such as members or potential members) that become followers of your social media accounts in the days during and immediately after the event can help you determine if the event will have any long-term impact on the way people perceive the value they are extracting from the association.