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Posts Tagged ‘social media tips’

Why you should work with your Meeting DMO & CVB

Friday, November 25th, 2011

When you’re a meeting planner, you want to do something BIG for your meetings but sometimes you don’t have the time or resources to execute a social media strategy to engage your attendees. Social media has the ability to bring your attendees together for event networking or be an interactive host. How so? At the Social Media Symposium for Tourism, a session on “Social Destinations Create Social Meetings” by Sparkloft Media demonstrated examples of how destination marketing organizations (DMO) or CVBs could act as a resource for meeting planners. Here are some tips discussed in the session for working with your meeting DMO and CVB:

  • Google Maps – you shouldn’t have to spend time or energy on creating interactive maps for your attendees when your energy would be well-spend in other areas. Talk to the DMO or CVB for your area to create a unique Google Maps for your group of the area with hotels you’ll be using for your meeting, restaurants, special meeting spots, landmarks, attractions or even hiking and walking trails. Afterall, they know the area!
  • Help! desk via social media  – at a conference, you’re already busy running around so it can be difficult to answer questions on Twitter or Facebook from your attendees. Today, many attendees (not just Gen Y) would rather tweet a question or Google it rather than going to ask physically ask someone for help. Talk to the DMO or CVB of where your meeting is being held to work out a special package for your conference. The package can consist of their associates on social media in shifts answering questions of your attendees whether it’s directions, hours of operations or recommendations.
  • Don’t try to teach yourself HTML & graphic design – it’s not worth your time and energy to try and reinvent the wheel. Your DMO or CVB most likely has a graphic designer and web developer in-house and would love for you to use them as a resource. Ask them to create necessities for your meeting such as a Facebook fan page for your meeting where attendees and speakers can interact pre, during or post conference. Have them create a hashtag for your conference, this is also how they’ll be able to answer attendees questions on Twitter and oversee the conference.

To read more about the session, check out the Dave Serino blog from the SoMeT conference. One great example of a CVB working with meeting planners was an article featured in Meetings Focus, Phoenix CVB Uses Twitter Hashtags to Entertain, Inform Meeting Attendees.

How do these tips resonate or concern you for your next meeting? If you’re a planner, what other ways have you used CVBs or DMOs as a resource for your events?


8 #Eventprofs from NCC Worth Knowing {Part 1}

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Interested in meeting the team that makes up NCC? In the past year, our own event professionals, sales managers and conference planners have slowly jumped aboard the social media bandwagon. What does this mean? They’re beginning to engage in LinkedIn discussions, tweet in the #eventprofs community and exploring the idea of blogging.

Remember back when we wrote the post 10 Event Professionals Worth Knowing on Social Media? It was quite a popular post, often shared among our peers and everyone graciously left a comment thanking us. Now, that we’re even more immersed in the Twitter world, it’d be more difficult to narrow down to 10.  Here’s our personal list of 8 #Eventprofs from NCC Worth Knowing on Social Media {Part 1}:

  • KatieSimmonsWBP – Wow! Katie picked up Twitter faster than anyone I’ve seen before. She’s our catering manager who coordinates and plans weddings and social events at West Belmont Place. Her tweets are entertaining, it won’t be long before our clients are following her on Twitter to see what she does she isn’t planning events.
  • Chef_MasonChef thinks about tweeting, but his rare instances of tweets are about future food ideas or food for thought. He responds to tweets, so tweet him and see how clever and entertaining he can be in 140 characters.
  • LandsdowneHost – Our General Manager, Kurt Krause is a community advocate and very active in Loudoun County. His tweets focus on politics, Virginia transportation, economics and daily news.
  • Arizona2DC – Carolyn our sales manager for corporate and religious markets has made a splash. She’s social and her personality shines through on Twitter. So far, she’s made a name for herself in the Virginia wine community on Twitter and meetings community.
  • NCCGreenDiva – Pat Trammell, our Director of Housekeeping and otherwise known as Chief Sustainability Officer, Pat’s tweets focus on green hospitality practices and news. She’s also featured on the NCC Blog as our Green Diva. Follow her for unique ways to be green whether you’re a planner or just interested in eco-friendly tips.

Up & Coming on Twitter:

  • SharonMeyers1 – Sharon is our Director of Catering and is actively involved in associations and professional organizations around Loudoun County. She’s learning how to tweet, so feel free to tweet her a warm welcome.
  • DCTrainingGal – Paula Tobin is our sales manager with many diverse markets including social, healthcare and corporate. She recently joined us at NCC and is looking forward to using Twitter to connect with clients.
  • Rachael_Mull – A recent graduate from VirginiaTech, you might recognize Rachael from our YouTube video series this summer with our five hospitality interns. Rachael’s spunky personality is waiting to shine through on this social media platform too.

Part 2 will be released in the next few days.

Scared to Start Your Own Blog? 5 Excuses You Should Overcome

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

One hour spent on the couch = 1, 2 or even 3 blog posts.

Photo Credit: Flickr Chris. W

Starting a blog can be a scary thing! On Tuesday, a blogging panel hosted by Loudoun Small Business Development Center, featured Ray Smith of W3 Consulting and blogging panelists Heidi Chappel of Heidi Chapple Flowers, Hannah Hager of and NOVAExecutive, and Sarah Vining representing The National Conference Center. Participation and questions from the audience led to several conclusions – there are a lot of people who want to start a blog but are fearful of ‘failure’, are unsure of their mission in starting a blog and believe they lack time to dedicate to maintaining a blog.

If you’re contemplating starting a blog, here are 5 excuses and opportunities discussed between the panelists and audience members:

  • “I have no idea what I’ll write about or who will even read it…” – Before you start blogging, know who you’ll be speaking to and focus in on WHY you’re blogging and your mission. Ray gave the example of an individual who might blog on Loudoun County small businesses and started blogging on ophthalmology – it just doesn’t make sense for the Loudoun County small business reader. Stick to what makes sense for your readership. For NCC, we gave the example of how we previously recipes from Executive Chef Craig Mason and although the community enjoys these, unless it has a tie to green meetings – the meetings and events audience enjoys our typical posts that are industry-related. Biggest advice: Don’t write a press release or a newspaper article – although a blog is meant to be informing, it should be written conversationally.
  • “I don’t have time to dedicate to a blog…” As Hannah Hager pointed out, no one has less time than Holly Chapple who was a panelist, owns her own business and has 7 children (yes, 7). Every night, Holly dedicates time to writing a post which equates to one hour. Holly has gained national and regional media coverage and contributes it to her blog. You won’t know the ROI of a blog until you try! Ray pointed out studies show the more you blog, the increased chance of booking business from it whether weekly, daily, or multiple times a day. Once you decide how often you’ll blog, it’s about finding time to fulfill that goal.
  • “But I don’t have any ideas…” Write 5 possible topics down that you believe your audience would enjoy reading and pertains to your objective. Compose the posts in advance and ta-da you have 5 posts for the next 5 weeks (or how ever often you decided you would blog). Other tips included an editorial calendar such as WordPress’s Plug-in or keeping a running list of ideas – Hannah Hager mentions always having a post-it note and jotting down your ideas, similar to an author or journalist. We did a “trial-run” of ideas with the participants such as the history of why you chose your profession, defining a word in your industry the general public may not know or challenges in the industry. The last piece of advice is to bring a camera EVERYWHERE – Holly says, “With a camera, you’ll find a blog post in the most obscure places.”
  • “There isn’t enough manpower to go around the office to keep up with a blog…” Although Ray offers ghost-blogging at W3 Consulting for non-profits and small businesses, if out-sourcing isn’t possible he recommends dividing the work among staff members. For instance, one person serves as the editor, researches the ideas and manages the editorial calendar, another individual researches and generates the content (this can also be divided into 2 roles), and lastly, another employee handles the technical portion and “publishing” process. Blogging doesn’t have to fall upon the hands of 1 individual but having a consistent voice in the writing plays a role in branding and the voice of your company.
  • “How will I choose a platform? And what should I avoid in my blog? Won’t competitors steal my ideas?” There are many platforms like Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress, but whatever you choose you want to make sure it’s a platform you’ll stick with or you’ll run into many problems attempting to convert to a new platform. WordPress was a favorite among panelists who like it for it’s aesthetic potential and functionality as an independent site. Avoid politics, scandals, profanity, explicit content, and slander unless you’re a news outlet or hosting a blog on politics. From Ray’s perspective, “As a company, it’s wise to stay away from sex, drugs, and politics – it’ll hurt the reputation of your company.” As far as competition, your ideas are your own and no competitor can replicate them if you presented the idea first. Competitors also can’t replicate the same relationships you have with clients either. Transparency is key for companies! In addition, growing occurs through sharing – those afraid to share will fall behind in growth. The best article that addresses this is from Ready2Spark: Are You Afraid Of Competitors Stealing Your Ideas?


These are 5 tips to help you start your own blog or utilize your current one for professionally or for your business, whether small or large. Overcoming excuses is the first step to stop procrastinating and start blogging! One of the most valuable things mentioned on the panel from blogging was the connections made through blogging – Holly’s view on blogging, “it exposes you to a world of people you would have never met.” If you enjoyed this post, you may like Tips from a Social Media Panel in the Tourism Industry. What were other excuses you may have overcome to building and maintaining a blog?

[Round-Up] Our Favorite Posts: Oldies but Goodies

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Photo Credit: Flickr @abooth202

Every so often, we include a round-up of our favorite posts from the week past. However, with a collection of posts that we enjoy seeing again over time, we included 5 “oldie but goodie” posts by #eventprofs from around the world. These contain inspiring ideas and unique tips that are rarely shared with others. We caution you, these aren’t the same type of posts you’re accustomed to reading in your Google Reader each morning. After you read these, you’ll say it’s no wonder these 5 articles are “oldies but goodies”.

  • {Tahira Endean} If there were a pie chart of your life – does work, friends/family, play, recreation, and free time all have an equal slice? No? Well, why not? Tahira Endean’s March blog post, “Balance…ummm yeah” discusses the difficulty of balancing all of the points above especially for event professionals who often receive 24/7 demands in every direction. She shared this last night and although it was our first time reading the article, we knew it would be one we’d like to read again. Her post hits home for event professionals and describes “work life integration” in which we enjoy intersection points that bring these worlds together. Check out Tahira’s blog for tips on enjoying the ‘perfect moments’ and they key to accepting the unbalance.

  • {Adrian Segar} Heading to a site-tour? What will you bring? In this post by Adrian Segar, he shares his new favorite site tool for booking conferences at venues. You might suspect that all venues have floor plans and dimensions, but according to Adrian, “On a recent round of site visits, only one of seven facilities visited had this information readily available.” With that surprising news, you might be off to purchasing your new site tool.

  • {Sheila Scarborough} Using social media to attract meetings and conferences to your town – This is a post we often retweet again – a real “oldies but a goodie.” Most tourism articles entail successful social media strategies put in place by other CVBs, but Sheila Scarborough covers the important, but simple details to attracting meetings through social media. Some of these tips include completing a profile for your CVB on LinkedIn and reading other industry blogs and leaving insightful comments. Check out for a refresher on the small social media details that attract meetings.

  • {Liz King} Small touches that matter – In this December article from Liz King, Liz leaves us with inspiration on how to engage with our Twitter followers. With different time zones and schedules, it can be a task to get to know all of your followers. Whether 100 or 3,000, Liz’s selfless advice encourages you to take a moment out of your day to get to know 1 follower that day. Read the article from the blog of Liz King Events.

  • {Sparkloft Media} Is social media time “taxing” on you? Imagine 5 Twitter Accounts, 4 Flickr Groups and 5 (soon to be 6) Facebook Pages. This is an everyday for Amy Brock of Visit Savannah (CVB). In an interview with Amy Brock and Anne Hornyak of Sparkloft Media, you learn about her 5 “hats” and the personalities she becomes each day for the CVB. After reading this you’ll have a new outlook on social media accounts that once may have seemed time-consuming.  Thank you Anne Hornyak for the fabulous interview, it’s an “oldie but goodie” for anyone using social media or contemplating.

Do you know of any other “oldie but goodie” posts that should be included in this list? Share them with us in the comments section below.