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Guest expert: Events and digital media
posted on: 2012-05-01 11:02:35
Mike Spicer blog

Mike Spicer shares how social and digital platforms can help your message and improve visitor engagement all year-round.

Seen as an add-on in the past, social and digital media channels are now an innovative way to drive interest around speakers, exhibitors and delegates at your events.

So, how can marketers make the most of social and digital media when planning an event?

The lead up to an event is paramount to its success. Online event pages allow attendees to register their interest and sign up for additional event communication. Online registration sites are extremely useful as people can view important information about the event, all of which improves overall customer satisfaction.

But also think about how the information provided can be used to your advantage. For example, if an attendee is coming from far afield, send hotel recommendations. Or if they mention that they’re vegetarian, provide details about catering options at the event. This personalised care is what events must do to stand out from the crowd and ensure repeat attendance year in, year out.

Digital media will engage your attendees during the event. It’s important to use social and digital media to enhance the experience for attendees. Marketers have tapped into increased smartphone use through ‘Twitter Falls’. These large screens update continuously in response to Twitter activity around the event. This unfailingly encourages attendees to tweet about the event (there’s nothing like having your name up on a big screen) and participate in online debates, all the while increasing the audience of the event dramatically.

Another element of integrating digital media with the traditional is that rather than waiting for an online response from the company or other delegates, people attending the event can find spokespeople and have face-to-face discussions regarding a topic previously only discussed across online platforms. Set up an online forum beforehand, requesting queries which spokespeople can then have to-hand on tablets at the event itself. This reinforces the truly personal element that is an event’s USP, while also incorporating the communication potentials of digital.

In addition, marketers can encourage digital registration upon entry as a way of monitoring which key industrial figures and companies are attending. For some exhibitions, marketers use digital scanners to sign up delegates for mailing lists and future events.

Post-event engagement creates long-term rewards. Rather than treating an event as a one-off occurrence, marketers are fast beginning to consider events as an extension of an online discussion, with marketers using mailing lists, Twitter and LinkedIn to create long-term attendee relationships.

Social and digital media can also be used to measure responses to the event itself: The popularity of the theme and those who would be interested in attending future events.

Ultimately, the benefit of social and digital media is that they create online communities. If marketers can incorporate the immediacy of digital technology with the personal nature of face-to-face contact, it is possible to establish a far wider audience than in pre-digital times.

This environment in which people can connect with a brand and other like-minded people is crucial to achieving business buy-in and lead conversion.

 – Mike Spicer is CEO of Pulse Group.

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