Social Media Tips from The Event Team

Social Media Highlights and Tips
(taken from HSMAI Panel at the San Diego Zoo)

Our Director of Sales & Marketing Lindsay White has been invited to sit on an HSMAI panel this week where the topic is social media in the travel and tourism industry. We know she probably wouldn’t have the time to answer every question in depth, but we wanted to make it easy for panel attendees to access thorough tips and suggestions. Hope you enjoy – feel free to share with your colleagues!

1. What type of content gets you the most response from your social media followings? (Questions, photos, videos, etc.) How do you determine what content to share and how often are you posting.

What we post
Photos/Videos. Visuals are  always the best. At our weekly staff meetings, we have a Photo/Video-Worthy events section on our agenda, so we can discuss as an office how our upcoming events will be highlighted online.

Pictures say so much more than words, especially when it comes to creating a concept!

Resources. We are committed to highlighting our company as THE expert in our industry. We post blog entries that give industry tips, etc. We are constantly showing our expertise in the region, or providing helpful industry information. This constant activity on our blog also ensures that our website is not stagnant.

Internal email marketing. Don’t get so caught up in social media platforms that you overlook old school email marketing. We marry the two…bimonthly giveaways where we directly email our target audience, pointing them toward the social media content we want them to see, asking them a trivia question, then entering them in a drawing. Don’t overdo it though, you want to develop relationships with your audience, not annoy them with spam. Make it easy for your audience to opt out and don’t take it personally if someone decides they don’t want to be on your email list.

How we determine content
Our brand tagline is “super people superior events,” so all of our content must fall under that tag line. Our content either highlights our family-like atmosphere, great customer service, industry expertise or our actual events as they happen.

Stay true to your brand!

When we post
We try to post content at least daily on Facebook and at least weekly on our blog. This can vary according to how much is going on or how busy we are with other projects. My tip is to be more concerned with authenticity and creating useful or interesting content than freaking out if you miss a day. But on the flip side, make sure there is enough activity where people can tell you are still in business.

2. Advice on the challenges of keeping up with the multitude of social media profiles and/or time management.

Which Social Media Profiles to Utilize
Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do it all! Ask yourself what works and what doesn’t work for your company, then hone in on those platforms. And be willing to change your focus according to the needs of your company.

For Example – We are getting enough incoming business at the moment where we don’t need to be too concerned about scouring social media platforms like Linked in for potential clients. Instead, we spend most of our social media efforts strengthening partner relationships within the industry and establishing our brand message, primarily via Facebook (everyone is on Facebook!), our blog, and more recently, YouTube. However, if we happened to (knock on wood) be experiencing another drought in our industry, I’d shift my attention to seeking out new clients on other social media platforms.

Time Management Tips
Additional or “Backup” Admins We have 2 other people listed as admins on our Facebook page just in case things get a little crazy in the office, or if I am not available when something needs to be posted.

Find Help- More and more, we are incorporating social media responsibility into our internship program. This is a very small investment that yields a huge return. Students in younger generation practically have social media abilities written into their DNA. They don’t need to be trained, it just comes naturally. Our last intern was majorly involved in social media projects. He created marketing videos that we posted on YouTube and our website, as well as original blog content that we posted weekly on our website. Having his help freed me to focus on other marketing projects.

Find a rock star intern! Our last intern Brian (above) is a grad student at CSU Northridge. He helped us immensely with social media projects!

3. What are your favorite social media tools to streamline all of your social media activity?

It depends on the company, but I try to post in real time whenever possible. When I can’t, or when I know the content won’t suffer for pre-scheduling posts, I use HootSuite. I’ll also pre-schedule blog posts on WordPress. Since I am limited for time, I do sync Facebook posts to Twitter just to make sure our twitter account is active even if I can’t get around to posting individual tweets.

4. Any stories on failed social media practices or ideas that didn’t pan out the way you wanted them to?
Once I got an idea to go onto twitter and follow all the people who were following a convention coming to San Diego. Then I thought I would try directly message these people and saying , “Hey, if you’re coming to this convention and you need a DMC to help plan your corporate event, call The Event Team!” After I wasted a couple hours doing this, I thought to myself that the people on the receiving end of these messages were people just like me who don’t have time to do anything but hit the delete button. It didn’t take me very long to realize my time was better spent elsewhere.

5. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…what is your favorite platform for your company and why?
For us, Facebook is our preferred way to communicate online. Mostly because that’s where the majority of the eyeballs are. Also, you can sync it to just about any other social media outlet.  Youtube is also great because you can embed videos directly into your website. We do use Pinterest sometimes, but mostly as an internal vision board to create a visual concept of an event for potential clients. I’d like to reiterate the importance of direct/internal email marketing though. As effective as social media platforms are, it’s somewhat of a crapshoot as far as who you’re reaching. If you have collected actual email address for the people you want to reach, nothing is more effective than reaching out to those people directly…at that point, you can direct them to whatever specific content you’d like them to see. (Again, the no spam “golden” rule applies. Email unto others as you want them to email unto you!)

6. What tips would you give to the attendees here today on how to stand out from their competitors who are also on social media?

Be authentic
Stay true to your overall brand, image and company goals. Let your social media efforts be an extension of your company’s identity.  Constantly ask yourself questions about your content. What does this say about my company? Why would anyone find it interesting? Does it reflect who we actually are?

Make your content last
I am a huge fan of reshaping and recycling content to get more value out of your time, energy and information. I don’t mean that you want to share the same exact content on Facebook three times a week. But there are ways to make sure your social media content isn’t dead on arrival. I look at adding new content as adding new tools to our informational toolbox. These tools are available to use over and over again.

Example – We created a marketing video on our teambuilding services and uploaded it to our YouTube account. We shared that video over time on our Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In accounts. We embedded the video onto our Website’s teambuilding page. We posted a blog entry related to teambuilding and incorporated the video into that entry. We send the video link to potential clients looking to host teambuilding events. We run direct email campaigns to our hotel partners linking to the video and incorporating some sort of giveaway that will give them incentive to watch them and get to know us better. We include links to the video on relevant proposals. We announce the video in our quarterly newsletter. We send out press releases to relevant publications and our international affiliates like Hosts Global Alliance, who subsequently share the videos with their audiences. (And we’re including the video below as an example!) This is the goal of social media: trying to get information in front of as many people as possible, quickly and organically. You can repackage information in order to get the most use out of it, without being redundant because your audience is always slightly different.

7. How do you respond to negative reviews/comments?
We haven’t really run into negative reviews or comments. Whew!

8. How do you determine your brand’s voice in social media?
Last January, our company underwent a brand facelift. We changed our logo, color scheme, and focused very intently on what we wanted our brand to say. That’s how we came up with our “super people. superior events.” tagline. Those four words describe everything we want to say about The Event Team. We are super people: Exceptionally friendly, genuine, customer-service oriented, goofy, loving people. We want to share our stories, personal triumphs, funny moments, etc. with you, from birthdays to weddings to anniversary celebrations. We want people to get to know us as people, not as business people. Second, we offer superior events. We are so confident in our many years of experience, local expertise, industry knowledge, partner relationships, and each other, that you should feel comfortable hiring us for any service or event you need. Those are the two overlapping voices we strive to speak in, especially in social media outlets.

Note- This doesn’t mean those are the voices you should speak in. It’s very important to come to that conclusion based on the specific goals of your company. You might want to speak in a tone that always says “We are the best bargain in town” or “We have the highest quality products.” One of my favorite examples of a voice that works well but would never fly for The Event Team is

Thrillist. This is a newsletter/blog I subscribe to that highlights new venues, events, restaurants, etc. The voice Thrillist uses is an arrogant know-it-all. They literally talk down to you, like your cool factor would be zero without them. And it works! We totally rely on their emails to keep me informed on new trends and hot spots in SoCal.

Speak in a "voice" that works for your company!

 We hope you find this information helpful! Feel free to download a copy of these tips here!