Online networking sites, mobile apps and the latest developments in technology are being used to engage and interact.
“Social networking will increasingly become a key tool in the marketing of businesses and events. And new technology will continue to help to engage audiences, allow for increased message retention and further assist the return on investment,” he says, writing in the recently published British Meetings and Events Industry Survey.
Mr Saxby is, of course, correct. But social media usage around events has already outgrown its primary purpose to simply promote.
Almost 6,000 delegates, who attended Cisco Live Europe at the ICC London Excel earlier this year, were able to interact with each other during the plenary sessions via a big-screen live Twitter feed and the hash-tag CLEUR.
In addition, Ford of Britain is using social media before, during and after its events in order to track the conversation and generate online content. The car maker used a sustained Facebook campaign for its launch of the latest S-Max last year.
“Bloggers were invited to the event to drive coverage, and the conversation streams on Twitter were measured for peaks and troughs,” says Ford of Britain marketing director Mark Simpson. “Social media channels didn’t just promote the event; they informed, measured, enhanced and recorded it so that it could be relived again and again.”
“Social media has increased the life cycle of an event and its potential reach almost beyond measure”
By integrating social media into event strategies, organisers can allow their audiences to decide on event content, pre-promote the event, and share the event experience with delegates not able to attend, evaluate the event in real time and maintain the longevity of the post-event experience. Social media has increased the life cycle of an event and its potential reach almost beyond measure.
Corbin Ball is a consultant who advises clients worldwide on how to use technology in order to save time and improve productivity. He says: “Online applications, such as Slideshare and Flickr, should be used to archive speaker presentations and event memories, making them freely available to delegates. A variety of mobile ‘meeting apps’ can also be employed to help integrate and enhance.”