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September 2010 Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.net21FEATUREFor the first time this year, IMEX inFrankfurt surveyed over 1,000 hostedbuyers immediately after the show toget their views on social media, industryblogs and Smartphone usage. The survey quizzed buyers on their use ofsocial media, both as a professionalmeetings and event management tool andas a networking channel. In all, 625respondents answered the social mediaquestions and confirmed their preference forLinkedIn as an online networking site.LinkedIn was used by 64 per cent ofrespondents, and Facebook by 60 per cent.Twitter is currently used by 27 per cent ofbuyers and YouTube by 23 per cent.Nearly half (46%) of respondents alsoconfirmed an increase in the use of socialmedia for networking over the past sixmonths, although 32 per cent felt it hadremained about the same. At the sametime, 44 per cent of respondents agreedthat 'there are too many social media andnetworking sites to keep up to date with.' Surprisingly, given the proliferation of blogswithin the wider business world, andincreasingly within the internationalmeetings industry, 83 per cent ofrespondents still do not regularly follow anindustry blog. Also in line with wider business trends,Blackberry is currently the Smartphone ofchoice in the global meetings industry, with57 per cent of respondents saying they useone. Of these, 47 per cent are usingBlackberrys, as opposed to 31 per centusing Apple iPhones and 24 per cent usingNokia devices. In November 2009 an IMEX GlobalInsights Poll of 45 senior internationalmeetings industry professionals revealed acertain degree of frustration with socialmedia. That poll showed that 22 per centagreed with the statement: 'My companywants to use every social media channel -but with no extra resource to support theadded work'. At that time a similar number,22 per cent, used social media in a limitedway for professional and networkingpurposes, preferring to use it just forpersonal communication. However, the findings of the 2010 IMEXpost-show survey suggest that the uptake ofsocial media for professional and corporateuse has now accelerated significantly. Theyalso show that YouTube, especially, ismaking its mark as a credible and viablechannel for corporate marketing andcommunications within the internationalmeetings industry. Says Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEXGroup: "As a truly international show with agood cross-section of buyers from acrossEurope, the USA plus the BRIC countries ofBrazil, Russia, India and China, it isinteresting to observe the rapid growth ofmarketing channels such as YouTube andBuyers LinkedIn to BlackberrysA new survey from IMEX reveals buyers' opinions on social media, blogs and smartphones, as they warmup for a paradigm shift.realise quite how far it has come as acredible, global communications channelthat's open to all. "Further into the future, once more Africancountries move from 2G to 3G technology,for example, and mobile penetration reallyaccelerates, this could create yet anotherparadigm shift. Current trends suggest thatmobile payment systems, environmentalmonitoring and even intelligent sensorsembedded into mobiles are all just aroundthe corner, and these will have hugeimplications for the meetings industry. "The growth of social media in differentworld markets creates both enormouspressures and provides internationalbusinesses such as ours with fantasticopportunities. The discipline for all of us is topay careful attention to where the valuetruly lies for each of our different audiencesand never to assume that one size fits all."The next IMEX takes place 24-26 May2011 at Messe Frankfurt. Ray BloomSmartphone usage has increased