Lunchtime Links: Believe the Social Media Hype

The social media buzz predicted The Great Gatsby would be a hit, despite the film's subpar reviews. Could it forecast attendance at your next conference? Also: a lesson from about being a champion for your members.

The weeks leading up to an event can be crucial in terms of buildup. “Who’s going? What speaker are you most excited to see? Check out our countdown!” But can the social media hype around your conference predict attendance? Well, it did for The Great Gatsby.

All that jazz, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Measure the hype: The Great Gatsby may have a place in literary history, but it was Twitter and Facebook activity that pushed the film version into big box-office territory, even though the reviews for director Baz Luhrmann’s new movie weren’t all that great. Fizziology reports Gatsby was mentioned 780,000 times on social media during opening weekend and became a trending topic on Twitter—and that translated to much stronger ticket sales than anticipated. Forbes Hollywood writer Dorothy Pomerantz sees this as an opportunity for marketers. “The film’s success is a lesson for Hollywood. Marketers need to ensure that films are being talked about as much as possible,” says Pomerantz. “Of course convincing people to talk about a film is hard. It’s not something you can force. But it is a great way for the studios to make sure that their less obvious films have the best chance at the box office.” This lesson could apply to event professionals: Building buzz for weeks before an event could create hype around it and even predict attendance. Have you had success with event promotion using social?

Members need champions: Educator Rita F. Pierson recently gave an inspiring TED talk in which she said she teaches her students to understand they are “somebody” powerful and strong who deserves education. Association Subculture blogger Shelly Alcorn, CAE, considers this a lesson for associations about how they should treat their members. “Every member needs a champion,” she argues. “Every member needs outreach, to be taught how to access the system, to be shown a pathway to a better life. And not with a membership packet and a website address. We need to develop a culture within our organizations that decides that NO MEMBER WILL BE LEFT BEHIND.” How do you serve as a champion for your members?

Always follow up: Reaching out can sometimes be time-consuming, but it can show you care about your volunteers. VolunteerMatch’s blog suggests you send “next steps” suggestions to keep your volunteers engaged. If you use VolunteerMatch, your organization falls under its member network and allows volunteers to contact you through its site. This is where the ball comes into your court. “Let them know you received their inquiry and inform them about next steps. Schedule a phone interview, send them additional paperwork, or invite them to register on your website. Taking the time to follow up promotes engagement and retention, so make sure your organization doesn’t drop the ball.”

What interesting reads have you found today? Let us know in your comments below.

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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