“Social media is now integral to all confer-
ences and events I do—especially those for
the public,” said Lizzy Caston, president of
Portland, Ore.-based Caston Communications,
“My favorite thing about social media is the
instant response that it provides,” said Stuart
Ruff-Lyon, vice president of events and education
at RIMS, the Risk Management Society, in New
York. “I love monitoring our hashtag and seeing
what we’re doing that excites them.”
Indeed, social media—when used effectively—
can help planners achieve a variety of goals.
Expanding an event beyond its physical space is
a goal for Roni Weiss, the organizer of the New York
Travel Festival, which attracts about 800 participants for a multi-
day tourism conference in New York every year.
“We’re a smaller event compared to the New York Times Travel
Show, so the way we make up for that is that we’re not just about
the physical attendees,” he explained. “We have a community that
we work with throughout the year. We have global reach.”
Weiss stresses quality over quantity when it comes to social
“It’s not just the number of people that engage but who engages,” he said. “If you look at the numbers, there are plenty of
accounts that have more numbers than we do, but we have influential people in the media and across the landscape.”
Outside vendors, consultants and host venues can be valuable
resources for planners looking to develop a social media strategy,
according to Geoff Lawson, vice president and general manager at
the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Va.
When the 20th-century Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message,” he probably couldn’t have imagined that within a few short decades an array of social media (not to mention a veritable army of tiny
electronic devices) would blast onto the scene, providing seemingly
endless ways to communicate. Savvy meeting and event planners,
meanwhile, have scrambled to leverage these new options in ever-changing ways.
Building awareness and engagement through
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond