I was asked to appear on a social media panel as part of The Gathering – a morning of discussion hosted by Etherlive.
- Giving your event longevity through online channels and capitalising on intellectual property
- Protecting your intellectual property and corporate knowledge for internal and externally facing events
- Improve conference networking through social media, local apps and content alignment whilst on site
- IT’s place in today’s live corporate event sector; what to look for and what to avoid
All sessions were run as open discussions, with one or two invited thought leaders asked to get the conversation kick started by presenting their experiences and best practices.
My contributions and advice to organisers mostly focused on social media utilisation during an event, with some named examples of technologies and brands that had successfully run awareness building campaigns.
Technology MUST help the attendees to be present, to get more from the event. If it becomes a distraction – because it’s too absorbing or too poor at its task – then you are wasting time and money.
Playing devil’s advocate – in the corporate world you are tied to email and phone calls, and constantly producing electronic documents. Is the whole point of attending an event not to get away from those things and actually have some face time? People do business with people.
Assuming an organiser has a solid case for technology during their event, what works? We have achieved success with ThinkWall in B2C because it’s exactly what the brand wants – buzz online generated by enthused event attendees.
In terms of technologies that deliver a positive onsite networking environment focus on what can be delivered reliably that will add value. Figure out what your event is there to achieve, then decide what technology works around that. Do not fall into the trap of assuming your basics are covered – like power and wifi at the location.
Access to the internet will soon become a basic human right. Are you just going to frustrate your attendees if they can’t get access to remote content and communications easily? It helps on many fronts. People can bring extra information with them and contribute to your event. If your wifi fails, you’re going to hear about it very quickly – bucket loads of negative feedback online.
I advised that organisers look at smartphone apps which connect users with each other, inform each user about other users, make recommendations, and provide useful event information.
Soon event goers will be able to have a personal assistant experience in the form of an app that guides them through the event and makes sure they meet with the best possible contacts.
Technologists are close to a real break-through with audio content available in the ideal context, but we’re not quite there. GPS can’t pin-point our locations precisely enough and quickly enough. Siri on iPhone is a step in the right direction – you have a personal assistant of sorts – imagine what it might be able to tell you in your ear about who you’re meeting.
Look at the future of AR technology too! Being able to hold your smartphone up to the world around you have extra layers of useful information appear is hugely powerful. Layar offers a great platform to get developers started.
Back to focusing on what’s available now, technology can help attendees during events through appointment scheduling and driving discussion.
Mixing up content availability can be a nice touch, for example pushing the speakers slides to mobile devices at the same time as they appear on stage. This has to be handled right else you add to the noise and put huge strain on your network connectivity.
Actually the meta (extra) data is of more use to the attendee and far more interesting. What about seeing what other people in the audience are thinking? Is that not useful to know? ThinkWall provides a great way to encourage and review feedback. It’s also a great ice breaker and conversation starter for your attendees when networking.
Organisers need to be addressing ROI much more rigorously. What is your ONE objective and how do you measure delivering it? Social media comes with a series of metrics baked in. Learning about those will help you find something that informs decision making and represents awareness raising effectiveness.