Meeting planners’ are in the relationship business. Their ultimate goal is making connections. They create face-to-face experiences. They use social media to what seems like the nth degree. Yet somehow, the efforts can all fall flat if relationships are purely transactional.
“Branding is for cows; stories are for people.”
I saw the above quote in the background of pictures for, ironically, a branding conference that took place last year. The same day I read in a blog about email marketing: “Keep in mind that a one-way relationship isn’t really a relationship at all. It’s exploitation.”
If we’re only pushing out information, begging people to register, or spending time creating and marketing an image for our conference, are we really making a difference?
I’ve posted hundreds of pictures from our conferences on Facebook and received great interaction and comments. But this morning I posted seven pictures of children in Haiti receiving stuffed animals made by participants at Collaborate Marketplace, and there was instant response.
We all joked about the statistics that show social media posts of babies and puppies get the most attention. The pictures might not be as relevant as the strategy articles we share or as helpful to your career as the conferences we cover in feature stories, but they did convey the power and message of our conference: The meetings you plan, the programming you stress over, and the numbers you crunch make a difference when you connect emotionally and meaningfully with people.