October 2, 2012
“Absolutely inspiring keynote speech this morning and just heard some great panelists speak about PR! Loving #CAFCareerDay” — Devin Mulertt (@devinmulertt), tweeting during the Chicago Advertising Federation’s Career Day
A good, engaged conversation via social goes a long way toward relationship building between an organization and its members and non-members. When it comes to events, social can be used as a tool to garner interest, provide details, and extend marketplace reach. But once the event occurs, a common mistake is turning off the social spigot. You may jump up on your desk yelling, “We made it! We sold out the event,” but think about it, you’ve just spent months talking up an event with a growing and captivated audience of followers only to stop the ‘conversation’ right before or during the actual event! Not only is this bad socially, it’s downright rude.
Recently the Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF) held its Career Day, which is a day-long conference for anyone wanting to work in the Chicago-based advertising field. This annual conference includes multiple speaker tracks, networking events, a luncheon and one-on-one meetings with high-level industry professionals. For ‘students’ of advertising, it’s a perfect way to learn about the industry as well as connect with potential employers.
While CAF promoted the event via e-mail, the organization also used its Twitter feed (@ChicagoAdFed) and, a month or so before the conference, established the Twitter hashtag #CAFCareerDay and placed it in all Career Day promotions as well as on the CAF website.
After the first promotional push, #CAFCareerDay usage on Twitter gained momentum and conversations between CAF Twitter followers, CAF members and other tweeters were fast and furious. CAF staff monitored the conversations and found that these unsolicited remarks were ‘promotional,’ in that they revolved around how people couldn’t wait for the event and couldn’t wait to meet up at the event.
By time Career Day came around (and it was a complete sell-out with over 300 attending), the excitement on Twitter was at a fever pitch. The morning of the event people were tweeting about their journey to get there, were setting up ‘get together’ times, and were talking about the speakers they couldn’t wait to hear.
Staff jumped into the conversation, which added another level of engagement, showing attendees of Career Day that CAF is a living, breathing and involved organization. For staff, it was easy to join in. We simply tracked the established hashtag, and interjected and communicated directly with individual attendees as well as speakers and sponsors who were tweeting during the day. For those who couldn’t attend Career Day, they followed the conversations, getting a feel for the event, while having a seed planted that would make them want to attend the next Career Day.
Ultimately, the #CAFCareerDay effect was multi-leveled:
- It generated interest in the Chicago Advertising Federation
- Non-member attendees participated more, which could lead to them joining the organization.
- It extended Career Day beyond the walls of the venue.
- Event speakers and sponsors were happy seeing their names out in the Twittersphere.
- Members felt directly engagement with organization.
For associations looking for ways to extend their reach to their membership as well as to non-members, Twitter provides a quick and easy connection, especially during events.