Here are some tips to bear in mind as you strive to stay current with technology, deliver value to your attendees and keep your budget in perspective:
- Be clear on budget expectations:
Digital media budgets are comprised of several components and depending on a variety of factors from your customer’s profile to your budget, your organization may not need to utilize every available digital option. Typical media budgets for medium to larger-sized organizations include allocations for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), email, website (including mobile), content development and social media/engagement. As professionals rely more heavily on the information superhighway, you and other company stakeholders will need to make important decisions about how – and where – that money is spent.
- Understand how your attendees consume digital media:
Meeting professionals understand their attendees’ profiles and make informed decisions every day. From healthy snacks or a caffeine break and from a vegan option to a combination dinner plate, the decisions that meeting planners must make regarding their digital spend is of equal importance. Decisions on digital media spend must also be spent based data and an understanding of how event content is consumed. Unnecessary spending occurs when the data collection doesn’t take place, assumptions are made and erroneous and expensive decisions are made.
- Identify your technology options:
We can’t all be experts at everything! If your time and resources to research different technology tools and platforms are thin, find an intern to help you. Interns represent a growing segment of the event population and many have the technology skill set that you’re seeking to obtain the data to help you make informed decisions. Task an intern to explore and define the many options that comprise your digital media budget. Intelligence will result in informed, budget-conscious decisions.
- Social media integration is key:
Establishing a social media presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook is just one step in rounding out your digital media profile. Social Media Integration (SMI) and Social Media Optimization (SMI) are just as important steps for your digital media program to operate efficiently and cost-effectively. Ensure that each component of your digital efforts works together and links back to key locations: emails should include social media icons, social media pages should direct traffic to your website and so on. Dedicate the time, staff and professional know-how to executing these strategies effectively as soon as possible and at one time. Expenses tend to rise when “one-off” requests and customized programming fees are often assessed when projects are added after initial work has been completed.
- Wi-Fi is a must:
Most attendees expect the events that they attend to have free Wi-Fi. Whether or not this expectation is always practical or reasonable depends on the venue, but the expectation is still there. Attendees also expect access to a reliable and speedy network. Effective bandwith may be expensive, but it’s an investment and budget adjustment that event organizers must make. Complaints about event internet access and speed are not the Tweets that show managers want to see on their event Tweetboard. Find a sponsor for your internet access and direct attendee focus toward something more important: content.
- In conclusion:
Your attendees’ needs are dynamic and changing; the technology that you procure to support those needs must be just as flexible. Surveys are an efficient and cost-effective way to predict attendee behavior and to manage your social media digital output. Data points are also available via Google Analytics and the social media platforms that you utilize. Establish a per-person social media spend as you prepare your budget computations. It’s important to factor in staff costs in order to fully understand the expense associated with your social media program.