Incorporating social media (via Twitter, blogging, video, community sites, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) is a growing phenomenon for live and virtual events. Last week included a swing through Chicago for strategy development on two conferences where I produced social media in 2009. I'll be heavily involved in growing the social media presence for both events (the national Business Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association Market Research Conferences) again in 2010.
According to attendees and event industry observers, we introduced more innovative social media experiences than even many tech-oriented events. This impact at the front end of producing event-based social media comes from the fact the activity merges several areas of expertise for Brainzooming, including:
- Strategy development
- Customer experience design
- Social media
- Event production
Based on first-hand experience, beyond creating a buzz or "newness" for an event, strategically incorporating event-based social media delivers a variety of real benefits:
- We created additional layers of content beyond capturing speaker talking points. We produced additional commentary, links to relevant information, and video interviews, among other educational assets.
- We extended the conference impact to audiences outside the event through conference websites and the liberal use of hashtags.
- It's possible to motivate favorable behaviors through incorporating promotional offers to drive trade show traffic.
- It provides another way for attendees to become actively engaged in an event.
- We gained an understanding of audience reactions to presenters on a real-time basis.
- It's a way to solicit and address on-site customer service issues.
- Our efforts provided additional educational value by introducing a large percentage of attendees to social media applications.
- The social media team's presence prompted new interaction opportunities among those engaged in tweeting at each event.
What experiences have you discovered with event-based social media? We've found that realizing the full range of benefits requires a well-planned strategy and "producing" an event's social media effort, not simply leaving it solely to organic development. (Check out the deck below for a sense of the range of interactivity we built into the AMA Marketing Research Conference.)
Through both producing major events and taking a lead on organic social media in a number of smaller events, we've developed many fundamental approaches and look forward to sharing the benefits of these learnings in events this year. And if you're doing event planning, let us know if you're interested in finding out more about how social media can deliver new value for your event. - Mike Brown