Category Archives: Social Media

Reno-Sparks 2015 Citizen Special Event Survey

RSCVAPIC

Photo Credit: RSCVA & UNR Center for Regional Studies

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) partnered with the City of Reno and City of Sparks to collect opinions from locals about special events. They wanted to hear from residents in particular because if they aren’t drawn to special events in the community the events probably won’t be attractive enough to draw tourists from out the area. The other goals were to share the information with event producers so they can use them to enhance their events, and use the information to solicit new events. Special events play a valuable role in our community. They add to quality of life and generate economic impact for the region. It is important to have a combination of residents and tourists to support special events.

Nina Brown, RSCVA; Francine Burge, City of Sparks; and Alexis Hill, City of Reno were the leaders for the survey project. They did a fantastic job! The survey was funded by the RSCVA, City of Sparks and City of Reno. Survey analysis was provided by Center for Regional Studies at University of Nevada. The survey responses are going to be incredibly helpful to all of us event producers in the region.

The results of the survey were shared with event producers at a meeting this week. There was a lot of good information, way too much to review in one blog post.  There were a few results that were very fascinating to me. I will elaborate in future blog posts, but for now I’d like to highlight a few results that caught my attention.

Reno…Always Tardy for the Party!

The survey asked “When you go to an event, how far in advance do you make the decision to attend?” The top two responses were when first notified of event and the week of the event. Very few responders made plans further than a week before the events they attended. Event producers constantly talk about how Reno-Sparks ticket buyers usually buy tickets the day of the event and it always makes us nervous because we can’t forecast event attendance. The survey results just proved that we were right in our theory that they don’t plan ahead. It also made me think we should boost all of our advertising big time the week of the event to get as many locals to show up as possible.

Traditional Media Isn’t Dead

Everyone is crazy about social media and e-newsletters. If you want to attract millennials that is where you should be. If you want to attract customers 35 and older, you might want to consider spending some money on periodic publications, TV or radio. In the Reno-Sparks market that seems to be where most people over 35 years old get information about events and activities to attend.

Reno-Sparks is Price Sensitive

When it comes to spending money at events or on tickets, customers in the Reno-Sparks area are very price sensitive. They want to attend free events but not pay much for them. This is a pretty hard business model to follow. I couldn’t help but wonder if this community culture was caused by the heyday of the casinos when everything was comped because gaming was so profitable. Did everyone get used to having great experiences, the best entertainment, and low cost food and beverage subsidized by gambling? Why aren’t people willing to pay for the experiences that the special events offer?  How can we make sure to price events correctly and offer enough value to keep customers coming back? This section of the report gave me a lot to ponder.

I look forward to delving deeper into the survey and applying the knowledge to the events I produce. Stay tuned for more blog posts about the survey results. There are countless morsels of good information to share that event producers can use to improve their events and give customers more of what they want. I can’t wait to apply some of the lessons learned this upcoming event season!

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The Top 15 Lessons I Learned in Dr. Bret’s Personal Branding Class

Yoda Social Media Advice

Image Credit: MemeGenerator.net

During my last semester of grad school I was lucky enough to take Dr. Bret Simmons Personal Branding class at the University of Nevada. Dr. Bret, as he is known fondly by students, is a business professor, business speaker, a management trainer and consultant. He has done extensive research in social business and management. He teaches courses at the University of Nevada, Reno and blogs about leadership, management, social business, and personal branding. He is a the curator of TEDxUniversityofNevada and one heck of a social business motivational speaker.

If you are a grad student in the UNR MBA program, or taking under grad classes at the UNR College of Business, I highly recommend you take his class. The class isn’t just about Personal Branding lessons, but it is also about developing yourself and your brand as a professional. This blog is about the most important lessons I’ve learned and utilized from the class.

The Top 15 Lessons I Learned in Dr. Bret’s Personal Branding Class

1. Attract, convert, then transform is the name of the game in social media marketing.

To be a successful social media marketer you need to be able to draw attention to your website, convert strangers into consumers or customers, then transform by turning your success into a way to attract more traffic and start the cycle over. A great way to do this is to use social media platforms to share your success stories about your clients. For example, if you are a realtor don’t forget to post pictures and success stories on your social media platforms to celebrate your clients. You will celebrate the success, and in the process attract more business.

2. Content is King

To succeed in social media marketing you need to provide valuable, relevant, and compelling information. Make sure you bring legitimate and worthwhile material to the table. The more original and useful your content the better the results will be.

3. Blogging is Important

Blogging is the hub of social media strategies. It is a great way to share content and provide your knowledge and skills as a useful resource. Blogging allows you to interact with people and show them you are a credible resource. Blogging enables you to bring all social media platforms together to interact. This is why every time I post a blog on MadAboutEventsBlog.com I post it on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +.

4. SEO is a big deal!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to any social media strategy. You cannot succeed unless you learn about SEO. The best way to increase your results in SEO is to maintain well organized content and have a site with good structure for optimal results. I have found that Google+ has increased my SEO results and improved the positioning and visibility of MadAboutEventsBlog.com in search engines.

5. The World Has Gone Social

We have moved from the Industrial Age to the Social Age and the progress being made with social media platforms is amazing. The industry is moving so fast it is hard to keep up. You must adapt, challenge yourself to learn new techniques, or you will fall behind and lose your competitive edge.

6. Social Media is a valuable tool.

The #1 reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity, #2 reason is they crave community. This is important! When you consider the motives of people on social media you can understand where they are coming from. You can gain a better understanding of your customers and what they need. You can also tailor your content to your audience or desired demographic that you’d like to attract to your business. Don’t be afraid of social media, embrace it as a tool.

7. Social Media Consequences Move Fast

Don’t be an idiot on social media. Okay Dr. Bret may have said it nicer than that, or maybe not, take his class to find out for yourself! Social media is a great tool but it also can bring unintended consequences into your life and it can be a threat to your success if you aren’t careful. There is a social lynch mob culture that has formed online. If you are an idiot and post inappropriate material you can be attacked by the lynch mob. The most famous stories usually involve some employee posting something incredibly stupid and then the mob goes after them and their company has no option but to fire them. The biggest lesson here is that there is no longer a line between your personal and professional life. Social media and technology have completely changed the dynamic of a personal and professional life.

8. Friend-of-Mind Awareness

Personal and commercial relationships have merged on social media platforms. Your customers see your posts as well as their friends in their news feeds on social media. Do your best as a social media marketer to gracefully slide into customers’ personal space on social media by being amazing and interesting at all times, or by being useful to your customers online. The best part is this is the kind of marketing that customers and potential customers want, and they will seek it out.

9. Be Useful!

Use social media platforms to be useful to your customers. Build loyalty through interaction and information. We live in a world ruled by research based consumers. Customers’ needs change so you must adapt to them!

10. Always respond and be relevant in real time.

No question is unworthy of an answer. Radical transparency will help your company develop loyal customers. It is important to respond in a timely fashion. Customers expect you to respond almost immediately. I can tell you this is true from my own experience at work. I had a customer post comments on two of my companies social media platforms, and then slam us on an online review site because we didn’t respond immediately to their complaint. The problem was that they posted in the middle of the night and no one was working. I was surprised how customers expect a response 24 hours a day on social media, whether it will make a difference in their situation or not.

11. Be nimble – Nano is good!

Large organizations are challenged to adapt to these fast changing times. They are challenged to respond and react to fast moving social media platforms. If your company is nimble they can adapt to changing markets and have a better chance at being successful.

12. Crowdsourcing

There are new opportunities through crowdsourcing to work temporarily with a network of people for a common mission and then disband when finished. Keep your skills sharp and continue working to become an expert in your field so you can capitalize on these opportunities. Crowdsourcing allows ordinary people to make an extraordinary network.

13. Be a Social Leader – Blue Unicorns Are Cool!

It is important to embrace social media and have a social leader in your company. Set the example of being a listener to social media and your employees will pay attention as well. This can give you insight to the customer experience, what they think, and your company’s short comings. Rare leaders who are connected socially, and social media champions, are considered blue unicorns because they are so unique. They are able to engage the workforce, engage customers and learn what customers think about their company and their competition. This can lead to an advantage!

14. More Social, Less Media

It is important to be more social on social media platforms and less media / marketing. Be useful but don’t be pushy with your marketing messages. It is annoying to your customers and potential customers if all you do on social media is preach your marketing message.

15. Personal Brands Open Doors

You should always work on enhancing and protecting your personal brand. Since today there is no separation between professional and personal identity it is important to take care of your image and reputation. Personal branding can help you develop your image and connect with new business contacts. Social media is a great tool for personal branding. The people that do well on social media tend to be the people that were already doing well to begin with, it is easy to see the correlation and social media can help them showcase their success. You are a product whether you like it or not, so you must make sure to develop and protect your brand. Success attracts more success.

Going forward with my personal brand…

Developing a personal brand is a lifetime mission. I plan on using the tools I learned in Dr. Bret’s class to continue to develop my personal brand. Using the lessons above I will continue to develop as a marketing professional.

Suggested Reading:

Dr. Bret’s Blog
Follow Dr. Bret on Twitter

A World Gone Social – Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt

Youtility – Jay Baer

The Zen of Social Media Marketing – Shama Kabani

If you enjoyed this blog post please retweet and follow me on Twitter: @LisaJansenNV


6 Rules I learned from The Zen of Social Media Marketing

Buy the book here!

Image Credit: The Zen of Social Media Marketing on Amazon.com

The number one reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity. The second reason is because they crave community. This is a great opportunity for special events and marketing professionals to use social media as a tool to build relationships with customers and potential customers. Special event producers should be aware of the reasons social media is so popular and try to use it as a tool to enhance their special events.

Social media is powerful because people are more likely to believe what they learn from their friends. This includes the simple action of sharing and liking social media posts. This in a sense makes your customers and social media contacts become your brand champions. For example, when your friend posts on Facebook about a new special event they are interested in attending, you instantly are open to the idea of attending the event or at least clicking through to learn more. This helps build brand followers and relationships, which is valuable because later you might need these champions to help you drown out the critics.

Here are a few rules I picked up from “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Kabani:

1. Respect others online. Respect others everywhere…period. Since this is a blog post about social media we will stick with the online community. It is important to show respect to others online because you never know the consequences of your actions or who you are really interacting with. You also don’t know who all can see your message or how they will interpret your online posts. It is safest to respect others online and avoid trolls at all costs.

2. Don’t try to control or manipulate because it backfires. Sometimes you have to realize “it is what it is” and move on. If you try to control or manipulate it will backfire on you, maybe not every time, but eventually it will. A good example of this is when companies get busted shilling online review sites. When caught they get blocked and it ultimately hurts the business more than just having honest reviews from customers.

3. Don’t try to be all things to all people and don’t chase everything under the sun. When it comes to social media you should focus on the tools that will give you the best return. It is best to use those tools and do a good job, rather than use all social media tools and be average. I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. I am finding Instagram is my new shiny toy for special event social media. It is a really fun platform. The people on Instagram are very positive. It doesn’t have the same political and commercial influence experienced on other social media platforms.

4. Traffic is nice but not the only goal. Yes traffic is measurable and that is great, but what if that traffic never transforms into a customer and they are only passing through. I’d much rather have smaller amounts of traffic but build real customer relationships and build brand recognition. I like to use social media to share stories and build relationships with my business partners, customers, and potential customers.

5. Use your real name. This was new to me, in the past I’ve had accounts on Twitter and Instagram that used names no one would recognize because I thought it was a way to keep some privacy. Looking back that is one of the silliest ideas I’ve ever had. There is no privacy these days on social media. So you need to embrace that fact, be a real person, but also be aware that you are out there and make sure to behave yourself. If it won’t make Mom and Dad proud, or your boss, don’t do it!

6. Be proactive. Don’t go out there and be a pushy marketer. Try to have conversations online and interact with people. Make sure you are providing legitimate content and that you are being genuine. The positive results will follow.

If you are new to the social media marketing field I highly recommend “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Kabani. The book has a lot of valuable lessons and reminds you of common sense that you may forget when dabbling in the virtual and social media world.

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