It’s no secret that social networking has exploded in our society as well as in the meetings industry. Practically every hotel releases specials on Facebook and attendees are tweeting about events as they happen. And whether Twitter is here to stay, I can’t answer (although the office 8-ball predicts that it is not likely). The important thing to know is that tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more are here now. Getting the most out of social media is vital for staying relevant in the industry today and reaching a wider audience, but keeping a handle on proper communications is key. Mr. Smart E. Pants discussed social networking security in his column in September (click here to read “Safely Navigating Social Networking.”
If you are just starting out on social media networks, as many of you are, getting the most out of your communication can be trial and error. It will take you a few weeks to get the flow of posting regularly, responding to feedback and monitoring the activity of your followers, fans and friends activity. (TweekDeck helps, people, download it! There are plenty of resources for getting you started out there, so just google it.
And while social networking can have great returns if executed properly, monitor what is said about you and your company and what you say personally or professionally. I have read numerous articles about people posting that they were bored at work, or home “sick,” on Facebook or Twitter, which ended in their termination. You do not want this to happen to you. Likewise, if you are using social media in a professional sense make sure it is just that, professional. If you think that the post or tweet is questionable, don’t send it. Once it is out there you can’t take it back.
To keep a handle on communications, it helps to keep the involvement on networks limited to a few people. These people can communicate a uniform and consistent message; they monitor the networks frequently so they know how to respond and what can be gained from them. (It’s also easier to tell who is using Facebook to stay connected with their friends at work if they are not part of the social networking crew.)
Protect yourself personally as well. Don’t reveal too much information about yourself online. Once you sign up for something, adjust your privacy settings! Do you want everyone in the world to see the pictures of your kid’s fifth birthday? What about your trip to New York? Keep your personal things, personal. That’s all my advice for now, but I am sure there will be more to come as I tweet my way through another day.
If you have any questions, comments, tips or just want to say hi to our Social Networking Crew, e-mail us at email@example.com.