Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are you learning from your peers?


The reason we attend industry association conferences is to learn best practices so we can make our own events better. Are you paying attention to how your peers are using social media at these events? Your attendees will not necessarily use social media in the same way your peers do at our industry association conferences. However, it might be worth noting how the community has evolved.

Now that I have attended two of the major association conferences in our industry, I can compare and contrast the communities. The first thing worth pointing out is that the most influential tweeters can be found at both events. They typically attend more than one professional development conference on a national or international level. This might seem obvious because if they are successful networkers offline, then they are probably successful networkers online. Is the same true of your constituents?

Our industry is also lucky enough to have a “non-partisan” hashtag on Twitter. This means that there is a place for us to have conversations on Twitter that is not tied to one of the industry associations. This has connected the people who only attend events sponsored by one association, or are not able to attend any of these professional development conferences. Are you paying attention to the hashtags that your constituents are using or are your organization’s hashtag the one they go to?

Over the past four years, there certainly has been a migration of people on and off Twitter in our industry. The use of “non-partisan” hashtags as well as industry association hashtags has an ebb and flow to it. The early adopters got the party started, but like any other trend, once it was not the newest thing anymore, they started slowing down the participation. Other folks figured it out in the mean time and if they were able to see a positive ROI for the time spent there, they continued to participate. Your constituents may be found at any point in this continuum. 

Are you monitoring their activity so you can make informed decisions about what your event should be providing?