Events best practice: Creating a hive of social media activity

130627 KE, SmarterCommerce Tshirt v2

Following on from Adam’s blog ‘From Monaco With Love’, and whilst I’m still buzzing from the excitement of managing the social media conversations around the IBM #SmarterCommerce Global Summit last week, I’d like to share some of the key learnings and insights the team garnered during our time in Monaco.

Each and every event is unique, and social media activity needs to be tailored accordingly, but there are some sure fire ways to ensure that it is a key part of an event experience. Many of the points which I touch on below are with reference to Twitter activity; however that’s not to say that the use of other social media platforms for event amplification should be neglected.

Create triggers:

With so much activity taking place during an event, it is important to litter the venue with things that will remind attendees of the conversation taking place on social media. We found that making the ‘social media squad’ visible at the Smarter Commerce Summit worked well. Just check out the photo of my snazzy T-shirt – a clear call to action and nod to the hashtag made the team a walking advertisement for social activity as we roamed around the Grimaldi Forum with iPads in hand. By the third day, we felt like celebrities, as attendees stopped us in our tracks to have a photo with the social media trio!

There’s many ways to create social media triggers at events; Twitter falls on digital screens, hashtag promotion in event materials, as well as calls to action by speakers… the list goes on.

Give people a reason to participate:

Promoting social media through digital signage is a simple yet effective technique to encourage participation at an event. If you position screens throughout your event venue, showcasing social media conversations, attendees will tweet, in order to be seen and heard. It goes without saying that you need to decide on a simple, easy-to-remember hashtag to support your event.

Experiment with gamification:

Giving attendees a reason to participate in social media conversations is a sure fire way of turning up the volume. At the Summit, we experimented with promoting an influencer leaderboard via the official Twitter channel, which conjured up a healthy amount of interest. Playing key influencers off against one another is something that they tend to enjoy, and it works wonders for boosting the levels of social conversation.

Demonstrate that you are listening:

In my opinion, providing effective customer service support is one of the most important jobs that a social media team undertakes during an event. There is no point tweeting out content and encouraging conversations, if you are not going to listen and respond to attendees when they have something negative to say or when they need assistance. Showing you are present and responding in real-time is a must. We were hooked up to the wider event team radio system to ensure that we had a direct line into each contact, to ensure no questions were left unanswered.

Make it visual:

The great thing about events is the vast amount of ready-made content; a roaming social media squad can shoot and upload visuals in real-time. Create albums on Facebook and Pinterest and cross-promote across Twitter and Instagram; it will drive attendees to explore your various social media platforms, and should drive growth.

If you’d like to talk to us about using social media to amplify your event, tweet us @iftweeter

© Sean Ebsworth Barnes “IBM Monaco Thurs 2 18” Photo. June 2013


If you are searching for more insight into combining events with social then check out our research! 

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