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12 Keywords for the Change in Meetings Industry Trend 3. Social Media

Today, we are witnessing speedy development of new technologies such as mobile, social media, and virtual reality, and an outpouring variety of social issues such as economic depression and environmental questions. Under such circumstances, meetings industry people, who should lead the change, need to smartly cope with trends in the world with their brilliant insight into the world affairs. In this light, we have identified twelve major trends that reflect latest changes in the global meetings industry. Third keyword is social media.

3. Social Media

Combination between Social Media and Business

How is social media influencing the global meetings industry? The biggest change that social media has brought to the meetings industry must be the reestablishment of the relationships between service providers (i.e., event supervisors and planners) and customers (i.e., exhibitors and audience) and of their the roles. Whereas previous service recipients merely passively received services supplied by providers, the emergence of social media has turned them into active agents, who bring instant feedback on the products and services and thus exercise direct influence on the provided content.

① Use of Social Media by Hosts and Planners of Meetings

Service providers such as meeting and event planners use social media as their marketing tool. Various organizations in the meetings industry such as PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), MPI (Meeting Professionals International), and ASAE (American Society Association Executives) promote their events and arouse prospective participants’ interest in the event by running blogs while they gather up various feedbacks and reflect them in the organizations of events.

According to Social Media & Events Report 2011, an analysis of social media usage based on a survey of a thousand or so hosts of events, which was conducted by Amiando, a Europe-based globally operating online event registration and ticketing firm, 78% of its respondents perceived social media as an important marketing tool and 42% of them described it as ‘very important’ and 38% as “important”. Meanwhile, for principal uses of social media, 77% cited ‘upgrade of recognition’, 60% ‘new communication path’, and 59% ‘leading customers’.

② Meeting Planners’ Usage of Social Media

Then, let’s look at meetings industry people’s current usage of social media by characteristic. The survey disclosed in March 2012 by MeetingsNet magazine showed that 89% of meeting planners aged 20 to 29 were using Facebook, which was followed 82% who were users of Linkedin. Meeting planners who were 30 years or older used Facebook more than Linkedin, while 90% of meeting planner who were 60 years or older used Linkedin. Meanwhile, twitter, YouTube, and blog were shown as less frequently used as compared to Linkedin and Facebook. By gender, the usage was generally close for both Linkedin (80% of males and 86% of females) and Facebook (60% of males and 57% of females).

As for usage of social media by career experience, meeting planners with minimum 15 years of experience came at the top with 88% of them as Linkedin users, while those with 10 to 14 years of experience came at the lowest 79%. For Facebook, 65% of those with minimum 5 years of experience were top users, while those with 15 to 19 years of experience came at the bottom with 49%.
③ Meeting Viewers’ Usage of Social Media

A survey of the usage of social media, industry blogs, and smartphone by 1,000 hosted buyers, which was conducted by IMEX, a major exhibition provider that marks this year its 10th anniversary, after its 2010 exhibition, showed that the hosted buyers’ usage of social media was similar to the usage registered by meeting hosts and planners as well as meeting planners. In the type-specific usage of social media, 64% of the respondents said that they were using Linkedin, followed by 60% of Facebook, 27% of twitter, and 23% of YouTube. 46% of the respondents said that their usage of social media for the previous six months increased, while 32% said that their usage remained the same.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Linekdin, and YouTube are building on their vast network and huge influence to gain their credibility in global meetings market as marketing and communication channels. Looking ahead, as Internet availability becomes more bountiful in the emerging meetings markets including China, the influence of social media industry will be all the more upgraded.

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