Nov/Dec 2014

A fresh resource for people who plan and manage meetings, events, business travel, promotions and incentive programs. Providing you with inspiration, guidance and great ideas.

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Page 45 of 85

meetings & events meetings & events "I ˆt Š ‹Œ •Ž's " ƒ" •t •–—˜ ™•t š›œ ƒ–žŸ" Moriah Bacus of Define Events in Toronto has found that bolstering attendance for less popular sessions is done effectively through social media: "I show those type of events extra love through Facebook and Twitter, while pulling back on publicizing events where we know we'll get the adequate numbers." She establishes a variety of conference hash tags so that messages can be easily found and accessed across all platforms. Bacus also enlists the help of session presenters. "When you engage with attendees before the session, they're more likely to show up," she says. Presenters can crowd-source topics attendees would like to see discussed, or they can poll a potential audience for their opinion on key subjects. It's a way to encourage engagement well before the event. Bacus discovered the effectiveness of an "all hands on deck" approach when it comes to social media. "I get all team members—from interns to account executives—to send out messages about upcoming sessions," she says. You can also get more out of your social media if you learn what time of day traffic peaks. LinkedIn, for example, sees a jump in users early in the morning and late afternoon. continued from page 43 Get the word out Onsite communi- cations before events are key to driving traffic to sessions. At Ignite's Business Event Expo, conference participants were invited to bring their lunch or a coffee to education sessions via loud speaker announcements. It did the trick. The timing for less-attended events is important, too. Some planners have found that scheduling them just before lunch helped boost numbers. Sarah Lowis, president, Sea to Sky Meeting management in North Vancouver, has one client who makes an offer few participants can refuse. The AGM was not as well attended as it had hoped, so the client was willing to offer food and drink, plus complimentary registration for next year's conference. It is a tactic that has seen audience numbers jump by 20 per cent since it was first used in 2009. *

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