Using Social Media Smartly

Whether you’re using an event’s designated hashtags to discuss presentations, posting photos of amazing table décor, or writing tweets about where you want to meet up during the next break, social media is a great way to keep track of what’s going on at an event. It’s especially crucial from a professional meeting planner’s perspective, as it’s a free way to promote upcoming events – one with the power to potentially go viral and get you thousands, if not millions, of views.

But because social media is so, well, social, one of my best practices at Red Velvet Events is to use social media as a positive and forward-thinking framing device for our events. Do things ever go wrong? You bet they do! But you won’t see complaints popping up on my Twitter feed. Focusing on the negative parts of an event is not productive, in my opinion.

When I do public speaking engagements, I sometimes hear from people, “It sounds like nothing ever goes wrong at your events. How do you do it?” The truth is that I simply don’t put the bad stuff on social media. I choose not to broadcast missteps – mine or my colleagues’ – because, again, focusing on the good parts of an event is more productive than spotlighting the bad parts. If something goes wrong at an RVE-produced event, we find a way to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. And if something slips up at a competitor’s event, I don’t offer critical feedback, and especially not in a public way – that’s just not professional.

However, everyone does not subscribe that opinion. I’ve seen my share of criticisms and complaints directed at me on social media. But that’s how it goes with the public eye. To participate in social media, you have to be willing to take risks. You have to accept that sometimes you will encounter tweets, posts, and comments from people who are critical of your work. You’re putting yourself out there, and that’s always opening yourself and your organization up to criticism. But if your work is great and you’re proud of it, isn’t showing it off online worth the risk?

Using social media smartly is a great way to showcase your organization’s talent. Now, you do take a risk when you discuss your organization’s work online. But here’s the thing: the conversation about your brand is going to be going on whether or not you participate in it. So you might as well be a part of it. Sometimes all you can do is influence the conversation, not change its trajectory. But you can still do that much.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on social media? Tell us in the comment section below how can companies could use the different platforms to their advantage.