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Anon 10/07/2013 [2]

Our members don't 'do' Facebook

We've been trying to create an online community for our members (we are a european association - 10,000 + individual members) but they just don't seem interested. We are getting very little traction on Facebook or Twitter, but some on Linkedin. Are we doing something wrong? Ideally we'd like an active Facebook page where we just have to moderate content, but it's just not happening. Help!

Carina Bauer of Regent Exhibitions Ltd - Imex 13/07/2013

You need to consider the differences in the platforms. They are all social media, but each fulfil a different requirement. LinkedIn is business focused - people are on there to foster business connections; so on LinkedIn Groups you are more likely to get traction with business type discussions which you can moderate and encourage.
Facebook, however, is different. People are largely on facebook for social reasons - to interact with friends and family. Where they connect with business colleagues it tends to be business colleagues who they see as friends. As a result the 'conversation' on Facebook tends to be far less in-depth and serious. You are unlikely to get serious discussions on your page in the same way as your LinkedIN group. On Facebook you need to consider posting interesting/ fun content to get traction. The best you can probably hope for are likes of your status updates/ photos/ videos and some comments of them. If you look at the big consumer brands (Innocent is a good example), their Facebook content is almost entirely fun photos and competitions.
Twitter is more of a signpost. If you put up some research or post an interesting discussion/ question in LinkedIN, use Twitter to direct a wider audience to it. If you post a funny photo on Facebook, link to it from Twitter. You can also use Twitter to link to other research in your field, showing that you have your 'finger on the pulse'.
In short, think about the 'personality' of each of the mediums and think about your association's personality and how you can best use them.
Hope this helps.
ICCA have also just launched a social media guide that you might find useful: iccaworld.com

Rebecca Schepers of MCI Group 27/09/2013

I agree that people like to keep facebook for their personal use. I once heard an analogy that compared twitter to a bar where you would chat with anyone on pretty much any topic; LinkedIn to speed dating where you're there for a reason and to connect and then facebook being for people who you'd invite into your living room. Facebook is becoming increasingly tedious to control who sees what in your profile and with the rules changing regularly, it is less appealing as a professional platform.

I agree that twitter is a good sign post. Link it to a blog or articles you write that are on your website, as well as to other useful content. People will disengage if you only put your own content on there. Value comes from you being a source of all kinds of interesting and relevant information. Also, try turning others content into a discussion forum. Put up a couple of points of view on a particular topic and invite some key members to comment/discuss. I've found that trainees and young association members are great at curating and moderating this type of information, and also bringing in more of their youthful colleagues.

Good luck!



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Anon 12/06/2013 [1]

HQ is stealing our business

I've noticed more associations making decisions about where to hold their meetings at a central level, by-passing the usual bidding process altogether. As a local PCO I am finding leads are drying up because everything is being organised by association headquarters, not local committees. I think this is a real shame, because it takes some of the local flavour out of proceedings and is less sustainable because local suppliers can be overlooked.

Anonymous user 28/06/2013

I disagree. We handle the bidding process at HQ, as opposed to the locals handling it because they are not familiar with what it really takes to put on a large conference. Our local hosts change every year & most of them have never worked a conference before. When bidding, the locals focus on local entertainment & tourism options for attendees, not the foundation of the meeting which is hotel rooms available, meeting space capacities, travel time & transportation methods between venues, airlift, etc. No one can properly handle that, but the association meeting planner. If a city doesn't meet the minimim requirement in terms of meeting logistics, the city's a no go regardless of how badly the locals want to conduct the meeting in their city.



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Anon of Anon 22/05/2013 [1]

We need transparency on all sides

Just returned from ICCA's AES summit at IMEX and was struck by confusion surrounding whole bidding process. Roles unclear all round. CVBs doing PCO's work. Associations not providing enough guidelines for RFPs, who's taking commission for what? etc etc. Is it time for clear, transparent, and universal guidelines - or rules - to make the whole process more straightforward and transparent?

Christian Mutschlechner of Vienna Convention Bureau 06/06/2013

Yes it needs definitely an increase in professionalism on both sides, quite often RFPs are unclear or destinations and suppliers do not know exactly what to expect behind unclear messages - it needs more openness and also a clearer relationship between volunteer leaders in a an association and the professional staff in associations



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Anon 08/05/2013 [0]

Should we ask for free venue hire?

I attended Association Congress in Estoril and remember hearing one of the speakers say her association insisted on FREE venue hire for its annual congress! I can't remember the numbers but she was obviously leveraging delegate spend against this. Firstly, I guess this would only work with publicly-funded venues, right? Secondly - what kind of numbers would you need delegate-wise to ask for this - and not get laughed at? Thoughts, appreciated.



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anon 04/04/2013 [1]

Hybrid wobbles

We're about to hold our first hybrid event, live-streaming a workshop session to an online audience. I think I've thought of everything - think - but I'm sure I've forgotten something obvious that could derail the whole process. What if the speaker moves around too much and goes out of shot? Does it matter? What if online audience can't hear Q&As? Any advice for a hybrid virgin??

Ronald van de Streek of Congrex (Holland) B.V. 04/04/2013

Dear Anon,

Maybe obvious, but make sure you have a good Internet connection! Many venues offer WiFi, but speed is almost never guaranteed. This also applies to Internet via cables.

Furthermore it is a real challenge to keep the (hybrid) audience involved in the sessions which is a must for a good hybrid event.

Also think about what you will do with the content after the event. Are you planning on sharing it throughout the year(s) to come? If so, did all speakers release their content to you for that purpose?

Good luck!



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anon 08/03/2013 [1]

Commission worries

We've recently appointed a PCO to run our annual conference and noticed a number of commission items in the fee struture, against hotel rooms, sponsorship etc. I understand this is standard practice, but can't help feeling a bit exposed by all of this. Any advice/things to look out for would be appreciated...

Genevieve Leclerc of The Transportation Society 22/03/2013

Greetings,
As an international planner who has worked for a PCO for 16 years and is now Director of Meetings for an international association, I totally understand your concern and perhaps I can help a bit. The revenue that a PCO derives from managing a meeting consists of more than half a dozen sources. It typically costs about twice as much to run an international meeting that what PCOs can charge their association clients, otherwise too much revenue out of the registration fee would go to administration. Therefore a portion of their revenue has to come from elsewhere, and commissions are standard because, unlike other revenue streams, they are tied to the PCO's performance. From your point of view, I would recommend: 1) Have a conversation with your PCO (ideally before contract) where you ask for transparency and wish to know where they make their revenue (it's ok for them to make money, unlike us they are not non-profit). Then 2) State your bottom-line, and what you hope to make as far as revenues for your organization, so they understand that you also need revenue to reinvest in your association. Scope out with them how they intend to make you ear this revenue. 3) Tie how much commission or other incentives they obtrain to performance (number of delegates, abstracts, exhibitors, sponsors, etc.) in the contract, and you can increase the percentage if the minimum is reached. 4) Ask for a bigger share of the profits (or commissions) if your target is reached. 5) Talk to your (their) suppliers and make them understand that you know this is going on and that you want to make sure it's on the up and up (i.e. commissions are written in contracts and you know about them). 6) You can ask for free rooms to be passed on to you and concessions from them, which they will give upon asking if you make it part of the deal. Make this work for you by entering in a true partnership with your PCO where both parties will benefit. It’s my experience that after all these years, few associations and PCOs have truly learned to work well together and trust each other, in part because not enough dialogue is happening on what each of the parties want out of the agreement (over and above ‘a successful meeting’). Good luck!



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