Digital and Social Media is Essential in Extending the Live Reach of Events

6 July 2015

Digital and social media is essential in extending the reach of live events and created more targeted messages, according to Active Network's global strategic director and COI's director of live events.  Speaking at Confex, Active Network’s global strategic director Anthony Miller highlighted the role of social media in the Egyptian political protests. "The Egyptian protest event [on 1 February] started in social media and led to an event in one place in time with more than a million people sparking real change," said Miller.


"We are seeing a move from a moment in time to an event supported by technology then moving to engagement marketing," he added. "Now we are going to broadcast the message and listen back. Social media gives us the ability to do that." Miller added that a successful live event could now be based on ongoing dialogue with delegates and organisers. "We can sustain awareness and create an engagement continuum, the live event just happens to be the most engaging part of that ongoing discussion," he said. Digital survey methods could also push a move away from simply asking delegates about whether the food or event space was any good, to finding out what content could have been added, or products showcased, said Miller.

Encourage discussion

COI’s director of live events Simon Hughes shared the example of an event held by government to encourage discussion around the creative industries. The C&binet Forum began by using leaders from creative fields and engaging them as ambassadors. By using their own personal LinkedIn, Twitter, email and other social media networks, the ambassadors attracted more than 300 delegates to the two and a half day event in October 2009. Another 3,000 people attended the event digitally through webcasts, and by tweeting and blogging about it. Hughes said: "The event was a critical part of what we were trying to do, but the conversation was extended before – in talking about the content and speakers – and subsequently." He added some of the extra costs were offset by getting Apple to sponsor the streaming elements.