Finding opportunities to reinvent your meetings can sometimes be a daunting and onerous task. Meeting attendees demand even greater value for their registration dollar than ever before. Meeting professionals must continue to innovate in order to retain loyal returning participants and to attract new attendees to their conferences. If you work for an organization that serves a niche industry that you aren’t experienced in – an engineering society, for example, as I did – defining opportunities to innovate that will deliver value to your audience may elude you. How can meeting professionals obtain the meaningful insight they need to affect change and to present top-notch programming and networking opportunities? Consider crowdsourcing different approaches to your meeting via social media.
Crowdsourcing is a relatively new concept that has rapidly become part of mainstream social media patois. By definition, crowdsourcing refers to the vetting of ideas and soliciting feedback from large groups of people who are in invested in the subject matter. Small contributions from the many responders result in a greater complete and more dynamic body of information. In short, meeting professionals can informally survey prospective attendees for data – and even gain buy-in – from those who matter the most.
Presumably your social media followers have some interest in your organization and event to be following you in the first place. Many social media participants like to contribute, to be a part of a conversation and to be helpful. Here are some creative ways to crowdsource ideas for your next meeting using today’s more popular social media platforms:
Seek feedback: Ask specific questions to obtain the results you’re seeking. Many people love to share their opinions on Facebook! Unsure of how your attendees will react to an out-of-the-box venue? Crowdsource several options for future venues and let prospective attendees tell you what they think. Your followers may offer suggestions that you hadn’t previously considered which may prove to be better choices in the long run. Some Facebook followers may show their support by “liking” your post. This viral sharing of your communication may encourage additional input from like-minded friends of your followers.
Run contests: Organize a contest to determine which aspects of your meetings are most popular. The contest winner could be eligible to win a complimentary conference registration. If you’re looking to refresh your event, establish a contest to crowdsource new ideas and approaches to your event. The top innovative ideas may be eligible for a free registration or complimentary hotel room night. Facebook has very specific rules and regulations regarding the contests that are run on its platform. Contests are monitored very closely for guideline compliance and Facebook will act swiftly to pull the plug on a contest that doesn’t conform to its regulations.