LGBTMPA: So what were some of your initial first steps in assisting the LGBTMPA with its social media presence?
MJS: Nearly all of our clients start by having a presence on Facebook as their first step in creating their social media presence online. Facebook has made it incredibly easy to create, as well as build out in terms of photos, description and links. The problem is that its so easy that everyone does it... that, combined with the fact that Facebook has made business page postings nearly non-existent in a person's News Feed means that unless you're doing hyper-targeted, paid advertising with Facebook, it's hard to stand out and get your message noticed.
We did some research and found that the meeting and event planners were strong on LinkedIn. So we helped them to create both a LinkedIn group and a LinkedIn company page. We also ensured they had @LGBTMPA covered on Twitter as well. As things progress and we get some good photos and short-form videos from upcoming events, we'll focus on an Instagram and YouTube as next logical steps.
LGBTMPA: You mentioned hyper-targeted, paid advertising on Facebook. Can you elaborate?
MJS: Yes! So while Facebook makes organic (free) business posts difficult to find, it has made a paid, sponsored post stand out nicely in the News Feed. The trick is to make sure you are targeting your EXACT demographic. We've had clients come to us and say "I've tried Facebook advertising, but it didn't work... I reached thousands of gays & lesbians and had virtually no performance whatsoever!" So my first question is "who did you target?" It turns out 9 times out of 10, it was simply an LGBT audience, and that's just not going to work! You need to be more specific and targeted than that.
Once upon a time, that strategy probably made sense when our choices were just LGBT media versus traditional media. With the growth of online targeting, advertisers were ecstatic that they had new opportunities to target a more focused niche audience within the LGBT community, such as travel, health or sports. But with Facebook's hyper-targeting capabilities, an advertiser can now reach much more effectively their "exact" target demographic, sometimes in multiple ways which can be A/B tested to see which strategies are the most effective.
LGBTMPA: So what else has worked for promoting the LGBTMPA online?
MJS: We've also had some strong success in monitoring any and all articles related to the meeting and event planning world, but with an LGBT perspective. We take these articles and broadcast them through the LGBTMPA network, thereby putting the association at the center of these conversations and positioning the LGBTMPA as a thought leader in the LGBT Meeting Professionals world. By including articles and content specific to the LGBTMPA as well, including these interviews and this blog, help the LGBTMPA to build up its credibility and online membership base over time. We make sure to include relevant hashtags related both to the article being posted, as well as meeting and event planning in general, such as #meetingplanners and #eventplanners.
Over time, the LGBTMPA's social media presence grows, and all of this activity becomes indexed in Google, Yahoo and Bing search, helping to ensure that no matter where someone is looking for information related to the world of LGBT meeting and event planners, the LGBTMPA will be there as the most relevant source for information, news and content for this community.