Have you been trying to figure out the best social approach for getting your meeting attendees engaged with your event? What is your winning social strategy for piquing your customers interest in attending your organization’s conference? Many Event professionals are wrestling with these questions… and more.
Determining how to weave a social strategy into the fabric of your event is not an easy task. In fact many meeting executives are still trying to learn the basics of the technology itself. So, is there a magic social formula for getting customers fired up about your meeting?
The Secret Sauce for Attendee Engagement?
There really isn’t a “silver bullet” or universal solution to a successful attendee engagement strategy. Every meeting has its own set of dynamics. The “secret sauce” if there is any, is that you, and your team must invest significant time and energy to get your own organization engaged. A key component to that process is developing a well thought out strategy for integrating social technology into your event.
There is a common misconception in the business world that a sound approach is to sign up for a bunch of social networks and then wait for the magic to happen. This “build it and they will come” philosophy is a dead-end that will not serve you, your customers, or your organization well, at all. I published an article last week blog about this issue .. check it out!
Collaboration is Key
Next week, at the Experient e4 Conference, I will be leading an Exchange Cafe session entitled, “Social Media: What’s Working and What’s Next?” For context the e4 conference brings together Experient’s customers with Experient Account Managers and Executive Leadership, along with Events Industry Supplier partners. This year we are meeting at the brand new Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria, in balmy Orlando, FL.
The point of this collaborative session will be for participants to share event-specific social technology success stories, best practices and solutions with one another. I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on this subject! I will be writing a follow up blog post to share the takeaways with you. In the meantime, here are five event solutions I’ve seen work effectively, for you to consider in developing your event’s next social technology strategy:
Solution #1: Crowd-sourcing Session Topic Ideas — Here’s a great way to get potential attendees interested in your event … give them a voice in helping to generate session topics. Utilizing social networks and your event blog promote the opportunity for them to contribute their ideas. Not only will you get your customers involved, but you will learn what is “top-of-mind” to them.
Solution #2: Virtual Emcee — Is your conference hybrid, meaning are you connecting remote and face2face attendees together in the same event, utilizing some form of social tech? If all or portions of your program are being offered in a live video webcast a virtual emcee will add a lot of value to the remote attendee experience. One individual that has mastered this concept is Emilie Barta. It will be worth your time to check her website out.
One of the most important aspects of engaging a remote audience is to consistently communicate with them, especially during breaks, and between sessions. The Virtual Emcee can accomplish this easily, on your behalf. Whether its interviewing speakers or individual attendees, these snippets of interactivity capture remote participant’s attention and keep them engaged during lulls in activity.
Solution #3: Audience Interaction — Utilizing either Twitter, with a hashtag reference, or a text-based application, such as Zuku, engage both face2face and remote attendees with audience polling, or Q&A. In this new mobile apps era, its no longer necessary to use dedicated devices for this functionality as it is now possible to accomplish the same thing with the convenience of your own smart-phone.
For an introductory video to Zuku please click here.
Solution #4: Virtual Scavenger Hunt — With location-based applications, such as FourSquare, or GoWalla add a scavenger style hunt event to your social function. Imagine holding a reception in a museum, and then posting clues on Twitter for attendees. Then using their smartphones participants solve the clue and report back by checking in on Foursquare. For an added twist attendees could even take pictures of the solved clues or their teammates with their phone and post in their social networks.
There are many variations to this idea, even ways you could create trivia games that attendees engage in at registration, using location-based apps. How bout challenging your event’s planning team to a unique site inspection game where they learn about the host facility by following clues?
Solution #5: Event Blog Becomes a Community — There is a tool available now, called Wibiya, that installs onto any blog or website, in five minutes or less. Amazingly, using this tool blog readers can translate a blog article into any language in a matter of seconds. There is also a built-in chat client, so that users can connect with one another at the blog page. Pretty cool stuff!
One innovative idea for the use of this tool would be to install it at your registration website. Then, use it as a customer service tool, in addition to the native functionality. Note: I have not tested this idea, but if someone does please let me know how it works.
Question: What new technology or ideas have surfaced in your world lately? If you are attending the Exchange Cafe I look forward to hearing about them. If not then please share them with us in the comments of this blog.