I became the president of Social Media Club St. Louis about two and a half years ago. I took leadership from an excellent leader and friend, Brad Hogenmiller (@javastl). Brad and our board at the time, many of whom have since become advisors, felt strongly that we not charge for membership and that instead we let our fans and friends of SMCSTL speak for themselves as "members" of a new kind - as people who simply enjoy convening in St. Louis to network and learn about social media. Since then, I've noticed that our board has taken to calling our fans and friends the SMCSTL "community". Because we don't have "members" per se, we truly have fostered a "community" of friends.
The SMCSTL board respects, admires and values the SMCSTL community. The board meets monthly to discuss upcoming events and initiatives, and we're always talking about how to make those events more valuable and worthwhile for attendees.
In late summer of 2014, our board conducted a survey of our community, and over 130 of you responded to the survey.
Here, I would like to share with you some of the most interesting findings from that survey.
What types of events you are most interested in attending
When we asked you to rank the types of events you feel are more interesting to attend, you told us that educational events on a specific topic are most valuable. After that, Educational events focused on a specific social media outlet rank second. Then, you ranked the following events in order of importance: purely networking or happy hours, events featuring a national speaker, full or half-day conferences or workshops, events connected to another St. Louis area event or institution or highlighting the St. Louis region as a whole, and then events benefiting local non-profits.
Please force rank the following types of events, with 1 being the events you would be most interested in attending, and 8 being the events you would be least interested in attending.
What you're willing to pay to attend an SMCSTL event
We've hosted a variety of events in the past few years for which we've charged admission. We've charged anywhere from $5 to $55 admission, but we really wanted to know what you think about admission charges. What is our community willing to pay to come to an SMCSTL event?
hen we asked, "For paid events, please indicate the amount that you feel is most reasonable for a networking event that includes some form of content / program such as a speaker or panel on a topic," the amount that ranked the best was $10 - $20.
Where you want to attend events
One of the biggest challenges our board has faced is in deciding where to host events. For many years, we had to decide if and how often to have events in St. Charles, MO, and we've always struggled with where in St. Louis city or county is most convenient to attract the large percentage of our community. We've hosted events on Washington Avenue, in the heart of downtown St. Louis, in Soulard, the Grove, Clayton, University City, Creve Coeur, Chesterfield, South County and more. When we asked you in this survey where you prefer to attend events, we got the following answers in order:
- Inner-ring suburbs (Maplewood, Webster Groves, University City, etc.)
- St. Louis City (Downtown)
- West County
- South County
- North County
Another development that has happened in the past year or so is the creation and growth of our sister chapter, Social Media Club St. Charles (@SMCSTC). We will continue to look for opportunities to partner with SMCSTC, but we're also thrilled that they are here, under solid leadership, to focus on events and knowledge sharing among the social media fans and followers who live in and around St. Charles County.
Be sure to subscribe to receive updates about upcoming events here.