JAN 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 19 MARKET SEGMENT REPORT: ASSOCIATION MEETINGS LITA CONFERENCE BUDDY PROGRAM The Library Information Technology Association (LITA) of the American Library Association (ALA) is headed to the Georgia World Congress Center for the ALA Atlanta Midwinter Meeting Jan. 20-24 and will be using a fresh approach to connecting association members at conferences. Recently, LITA launched the LITA Conference Buddy Program to make conference attendance more approachable, foster inclusion and build connections between new LITA members and members who have attended past conferences. Inspired by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) Buddy Program, the LITA Diversion and Inclusion Committee partners an experienced conference attendee with someone new to the event and the "buddies" have certain criteria to complete such as meeting in some form – through social media, email or phone – and meeting in person at the conference before attending an event together. The "experienced" attendee is required to make an effort to introduce the new member to other LITA members and conference attendees. Any LITA member interested in the program as an experienced or new attendee can apply on LITA's website, n ASAE Springtime Expo tools to make the association's events a success. "We regularly post on ESPA's dedicated social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We encourage members to share their photos and tag ESPA, and then we share those posts with the membership at large. During National Celebrate Services Week and Green Week, we share photos of our members' involvement and create photo galleries to share across all social media networks," said Paul Ruby, CMP, president- elect of ESPA and the associate director of catering and event management at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. "For specific events, we use three different social media channels to announce event 'save the dates' and when registration opens. "During our events, we live-tweet comments and photos and have dedicated hashtags that attendees use to share their own comments and photos – which ESPA then retweets," said Ruby. "We also engage with attendees via a Twitter contest that's focused on answering questions and sharing photos around the venue and with other ESPA attendees. There's also a bonus question on Facebook. The winners receive prizes. Attendees look forward to the Twitter contest and our members absolutely love participating." The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) also uses LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to help get information to association members and grow interest, including sharing conference information, according to Gretchen Bliss, IECA's meeting manager. "We definitely use social media to reach out to members and potential members. We've even hired a professional to manage it," she said. As further indication of the growing importance of technology to associations, Tina Ladner, former president of Mississippi Association of Professionals in Corrections, said that lacking a website, even temporarily, has been a problem in garnering event attention among members and others affiliated with corrections who are interested in attending events or might become interested by clicking on the site. "Until a year ago, our site was connected to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. We even had our newsletters there, so that was a challenge. We are in the process of trying to recreate our website and plan on having it back up in a ►

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