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Top 10 Blogs by Meeting Planners

The way we conduct business in the meetings and events industry is changing.  Our industry has always been “social” in that we attend lots of industry events, network at tradeshows, etc.  But now the way we sell is becoming social.  (For a great article on what it means to be a social sales person, check out Michael Brenner’s A Day in the Life of a SocialSalesperson).

It used to be that to know someone we’d have to spend time to develop the relationship in person or over the phone.  But now there are copious amounts of information online for suppliers to know more about their market.  Want to know more about a particular meeting planner’s background?  Check it out on LinkedIn.  Want to know what planners are talking about now?  Look up the chatter on Twitter.

But if you want deeper insight about what matters to planners, what keeps them up at night, find out what thought leaders in the field are blogging about.  Here is a round-up of 10 event professionals whose blogs and tweets I follow regularly to keep a finger on the pulse of the meetings industry:

Cara Tracy / @cjtracy: Cara’s posts should be on every hotel or CVB salesperson’s reading list.  She gives frank advice on to best get her attention as a meeting planner.  And she understands suppliers because she used to be one herself!

Tahira Endean / @TahiraCreates: Tahira is Director, Creative and Production, for Cantrav Services, a DMC in Vancouver, but this blog is her own (Cantrav also has a greatblog featuring other writers).  As she says, she is, “passionate about my family, friends, events and experiences.” (Note: heartfelt thanks to Tahira who shared with me her list of favourite blogs a few months ago.  Many are included in this list as well)

Jeff Hurt / @JeffHurt:  Jeff is a prolific writer and I often retweet his posts on audience engagement and making meetings more relevant.  Being aware of the challenges that planners face in demonstrating the value of their meeting programs I believe makes any supplier better prepared to meet to their clients’ needs.

Jenise Fryatt / @JeniseFryatt: Jenise is uber-connected in the meetings industry and her blog often features interviews with planner and other meetings industry influencers from around the world.  She also writes insightful pieces about difficult issues – one such post is: AlarmBells are Ringing, But Is the Event Industry Listening?

Judy Kucharuk / @judylaine: I met Judy at the Green Meetings Industry Council Conference in Montreal in 2012 and instantly liked her outgoing and giving personality.  She’s an independent planner with a passion for sustainable events and a great sense of humour.

ShawnaMcKinley / @S_McKinley: By her own admission, Shawna has, “made a career walking in the space between event planning, travel and tourism, environmental education and sustainable business consulting.”  Great blog with lots of ideas and resources and a links to even more.

Adrian Segar / @ASegar: Adrian is the author of Conferences that Work: Creating Events that People Love.  His blog is full of advice for planners on how to make theirs the type of events where people truly connect and learn.  While many of the blogs out there focus on technology, I have found Adrian’s posts to be refreshingly participant-focused.    

Mariela McIlwraith & Elizabeth Henderson / @MeetingChange: This blog started with a bent on sustainability, but it has morphed into a very insightful resource for planners. Some of my favourite posts include: It’s Time for Associations to Transform and Gamification Framework for Meetings.

Liz King / @LizKingEvents: Liz is a New York City-based independent planner with a love for technology and social media, but she and her guest bloggers touch on a wide range of meetings industry topics, from CSR to branding and crisis communication.

Julius Solaris / @tojulius: Julius and a host of guest bloggers provide a great perspective on events (with many from Europe), regarding event marketing (a.k.a. “heads in beds” and filling room blocks!), technology, trends and lots more.

My hope with this list is that you find some great insights – and possibly some “meeting intelligence” – for the next time you’re looking to connect with a meeting planner. 

Now are there any blogs or folks you follow that we should add to the list?  

What Kind of Social Media Golfer Are You?

Social media and golf analogy
Ladies' Twilight foursome:
Janet, Doreen, Joy & Claire at the
Glengarry Golf & Country Club

As I was cleaning my golf clubs over the weekend I began to think how golf and social media have a lot in common.  I know you must be thinking, but hear me out.

Just as in golf, social media has “pros” who have thousands of followers – and likely an army to help them manage their networks.  And then there’s the rest of us who get out there and muddle through.

For good golfers it makes a difference whether they use a 5 wood or a 3 iron for a shot.   For a duffer like me, playing with a driver, a 4 iron and a putter is usually enough to get me through a 9-hole round with my ladies’ twilight league on Thursdays.

I’m often in awe of social media experts who are not only on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook but also on Pinterest, Vine, AboutMe, Google+ and a host of others.  Compared to them, I feel like an amateur!

But is that really justified?  Recently at the Caesars Windsor’s Meeting Planner Symposium, I facilitated a social media session where all three of our expert panellists reiterated that social media doesn’t have to be a game where you must use all the tools available.  Rachel Stephan of event marketing firm les sens créatifs in Montréal urged attendees to first find out what networks their audience uses the most.

Why try to be on Pinterest if your business doesn’t lend itself to visuals (like mine)? Hearing this simple advice was liberating!

While I think I may be slightly better than a social media duffer, I’ve realized that Twitter and LinkedIn are my driver and 4 iron for my business social media activities.  Facebook I use as my putter, for my “short game” with my family, friends and immediate local community, not for business.

And then there's the issue of "practicing": as with golf, using your chosen social media tools regularly will help you gain confidence, engage followers and build your business.

So what kind of social media golfer are you?  Are you using all the clubs in your bag or just a few?