Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Social Media: Best When Done by the Young?

I attended the 1st ever ASAE Super Swap last week and heard from a lot of great people with a ton of knowledge and really learned a lot. I also hope I contributed to what other attendees got out of the event since the key to a successful Idea Swap is each attendee sharing their own successes and failures to help other attendees solve their unique challenges.

During the afternoon session on meetings marketing the topic of using social media to drive attendance was brought up. There was quite a bit of good conversation about how social media is being used to drive attendance which led to some people in the room wondering how associations with limited staff resources are able to do social media in addition to everything else they are already doing. The unanimous response seemed to be to simply find a young person to do it.

Personally I think that social media needs to be used strategically and must fit into an organization’s multimedia marketing plan so a younger person may not be the solution to maximizing your success with social media. Am I off base?



  1. Scott, you are on base. Not only must social media fit into the organization's multimedia marketing plan, but it should not even be attempted if it's not being used to achieve the goals of the strategic plan, and the person using social media needs to have a deep understanding of the association's goals and vision.

    Whoever is doing social media at an association will be the association's public voice and personality, customer service representative, community-builder, member and volunteer recruiter, and knowledge resource. They must understand the industry and know how to find resources for those with questions or problems. They need to know how to solve negative issues publicly and diplomatically. They must know how to engage in conversation with a diverse mix of people of all ages and backgrounds. They must know how to build relationships.

    If there is a young person on staff who can handle all this, great. But don't assume social media is a young person's game only. The best engagers in social media whom I know wouldn't be considered young (sorry, friends!).

  2. Best when done by the young? Not really. Will we noe be defined by what media tool we grew up with? Bob's our direct guy, Paul does fax, Tim is email, and Sue is just the best Tweeter ever.

    We've always had media options and now we have a few more. One of the core questions is what message is right for the medium and what media are right for the message?

    Younger folks who may have more significant experience with some social media tools (because not all of them do) should definitely help lead those efforts, but we shouldn't relegate any tool to the exclusive domain of a single cohort in the workplace.

  3. I think you also have to look at your audience. Your members might be "old" but into the social media stuff. Having a "young" person be your mouthpiece might come back to bite you becuase they can't relate.

  4. We have noticed social media to be an amazing tool during conferences. We have integrated the event twitter feed in EventPilot, our mobile conference guide, and it's great to see what's going on live at the event inside the event specific app. The content is very targeted and not just informs attendees about great sessions, speakers, or exhibitors, it also helps people get together. You can watch the feed live now until 3/26 at http://twitter.com/search?q=%23ls2010.