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September 22, 2010

IMEX survey reveals growth of social media use across the sector

This year, IMEX surveyed over 1,000 of its hosted buyers immediately after the show for their views on social media, industry blogs and Smartphone usage.

The survey asked the buyers about their use of social media, both as a professional meetings and event management tool and as a networking channel. Of the respondents 625 answered confirmed their preference for LinkedIn as an online networking site: LinkedIn was used by 64% of respondents, and Facebook by 60% of buyers. Twitter is currently used by just 27% and YouTube by 23%.

Almost half of respondents (46%) also confirmed an increase in the use of social media for networking over the past six months, although 32% felt it had remained about the same. Also in line with wider business trends, Blackberry is currently the Smartphone of choice in the global meetings industry, with 57% of respondents saying they use one and 31% using Apple iPhones.

"As a truly international show with a good cross-section of buyers from across Europe, the USA plus the 'BRICs' countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, it is interesting to observe the rapid growth of marketing channels such as YouTube and realise quite how far it has come as a credible, global communications channel that's open to all," said Carina Bauer, chief executive of the IMEX Group. "Further into the future, once more African countries move from 2G to 3G technology, for example, and mobile penetration really accelerates, this could create yet another step change. Current trends suggest that mobile payment systems, environmental monitoring and even intelligent sensors embedded into mobiles are all just around the corner and these will have huge implications for the meetings and events industry.

"The growth of social media in different world markets creates both enormous pressures and provides international businesses such as ours with fantastic opportunities. The discipline for all of us is to pay careful attention to where the value truly lies for each of our different audiences and never to assume that a 'one size solution fits all."

Some of these issues have already been raised and are being explored by UK research company, Fast Future Research through its ongoing Convention 2020 research study, which is supported by MEETINGS:review. IMEX is one of the study's founding sponsors and encourages all meetings industry professionals to share their views and get involved in Phase 2 workshops. For more information - http://convention2020.meetingsreview.com/

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