I have the last month held two speeches on Möten&Events, #Moten14, about how to turn an event into a movement by embracing a digital strategy, making people connect and bringing value to your fans, followers or visitors of the event.
The way I got to know this trade and the people within it has been through events and meetups. Being curtailed for so many years by my back surgery and studies events became my compensation for the lack of travel. Instead of bumping into interesting people abroad I found a way to sustain my mental health by doing it on home soil.
During many of these events and I seen some great ones, with the full package having their one dubstep theme tune and with a flawless pre, during and post digitalization of the event. I have also seen others with lack of all digital attributes that could have made many great events thrive so much longer. Just this week I again watched Leo Razzak and his amazing speech in Almedalen 2012. Something that wouldn´t have been impossible if it wasn´t streamed, put on video, and now living in the varm embrace of the web.
Making a big events that sometimes last for more then one day is a big thing. It takes both a lot of effort and money so why not make it last longer and benefit from the possible digital tidal wave before, during and after the event?
People gathers for a reason and most often they visit your event to learn more, share experiences and to most of all to network. To meet people like themselves. So why not longtail this and connect people to share and learn even more with you. This gives your event a center of attention position which gives both you and your visitors and event more value!
During my 45 minutes on stage after opening with a brief personal story and slamming in the door into the social media landscape I gave 9 concrete take aways how to turn the event into a movement. The slideshare is in the bottom of this post.
Before the event
Let us suppose that your event is an annual one. Every year your company creates this summit for people in the business to gather under the same roof. To make this a full circle you can start building hype 3 months before, during and longtail the event 3 months after until you start over again. Start for instance with these three steps.
- Establish a #hashtag
- Blogger outreach
1.As you get closer to the event you surely already have your speakers and the schedule for the event booked. This gives you a great opportunity to interview the speakers about themselves, their speeches and their visions. Also the speakers probably have their own material as blog posts they written thats worth sharing, previous speeches on YouTube and much more for you to share and build hype for both them and the event.
2.Every event needs a hashtag for the visitors to gather around. Establish the hashtag long before the event and gather all tweets and posts under the hashtag to make it easier for your fans to follow to get the full picture whats going on. This is also a way to connect people with your brand/event and with each other.
3. Bloggers are like friends for the their readers and they have way more credibility than you to write about your event. Aim for small and medium sized bloggers that are hungry to market themselves and also there´s a win-win situation for both of you. The bloggers will get exposure on your platforms as well as you will get your great content and event to spread.
The bloggers will also gain traffic to their blog, exposure and a free pass to the event which gives them incentives to write more. Do everything you can to help them to get access to great unique material. The more unique content they produce the more visibility they will gain. For example, set up an evening for the bloggers to met the speakers during a dinner and then later on maybe closed sessions. Theres so much that you can do here. Respect their work and build a long term relationship, this is probably not the last time you want to get the word out.
During the event
Create a meeting point for your visitors. Not only physical but digital. Give people an incentive to be seen by others.
- Check ins and offers
- Film and pods
- ”Walls” for hashtags
1. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a modern sickness. Theres even applications now that can check you in to cool spots while you can rest easily at home while your digital footprint says otherwise. Most people like when their friends knows that they are in a cool, smart, educational, trendy or just a great events, places or parties. In a way it builds their social status. Having a check in spot or plenty of them is there for crucial. And why not make it mandatory for each and every exhibitor to create a check in spot or even a local Facebook Offer for people to gain value from for the visitors but at the same time create digital ripples that might attract more people.
2. Streaming an event and the speeches gives people not coming the possibility to get a feeling for the event. Maybe even to convert them to come next time. Also it creates a great value for people attending that can´t attend every session or speech. Its also hard nut to remember everything you hear on a full on day or two. This also gives you great content to spread later on. Why not even shoot extra material only meant for afterwards at the same time!?
If your afraid of people will dodge your event to watch the streaming instead you totally misunderstood why they come. Networking and sharing experiences are by far the largest incentive to attend an event even though speakers add large value too. But people meeting people creates business opportunities, cooperations and progress, not speakers on a stage. Maybe sometimes.
3. Registration at an event usually takes a while. Why not give the arriving people a feeling for whats going on inside by visualizing all Instagrams under your hashtag on a wall or monitor. This will sublimely make people take more pictures, especially if you also have a large projection of the picture inside the event. Most people love seeing themselves scrolling by on the wall. Or why not even have a photo booth.
Great fire starter for digital discussions are Twitter walls. Mount monitors that visualizes all tweets under your hashtags besides all the scenes where speeches are held. This gives people an opportunity to see what other people are thinking and leads to discussions. Also this can be a way to communicate with the speaker on stage as well for people in the audience to ”meet”. There are numerous of free tools to visualize this so cost shouldn´t be a factor.
After the event
Theres often a lot going on in peoples minds in the aftermath of an event. Don´t let that slip away. Connect them. Continue the dialogue.
- Meetups and FB groups
- Evaluate the event, reach out to visitors
- Spread content
1. After the event you hopefully have loads of people that gotten inspired and full of entusiasm. Create areas for them to ”meet” and continue the discussion. Why not have a monthly meetup or an afterwork where people can meet. Start one or several open Facebook groups to connect people. Curate and add value to the group by fueling discussions. For example Q&A with the speakers in the groups during a set time and date.
2. Let the visitors come with feedback how to improve the event. If you make the event as great as possible for the people attending the light will reflect back on you. Listen and show that your listening to your fans, followers och visitors. This can be an ongoing discussion all year around. Why not have competitions and a suggestions box where the top 3 suggestions get a free pass to the event with the heading: Inventor.
3. With all content created during the event you now have a truck load of great branding content to share. Also search the web for content created by the visitors to share in your channels. Don´t forget that you also have excellent content created by the bloggers. Why not make short film interviews with them as well and their experiences of the event and with the speakers.
The upside with making your event more digital
In all this noise that we are daily bombarded with its difficult to reach out and find all your target groups. By being digital you can be found and connect with the ones that already know you. And of course discover new fans, customers, brand advocates and much more. You can create a community thats far beyond your average reach and share experiences that both benefits from.
With 6.6 billion mobile subscriptions and the world becoming more digital as we go there will always be a dialogue about your brand, event, organisation on the web so why not participate? You have way more chance of making an impact there that you have missing out. Here you can respond to criticism, find brand lovers and build relations.
Becoming more digital makes the event by itself become more efficient. Different teams on the event can use individual Facebook groups to communicate. Soon there won´t be no need for paper handouts on events if we become even more digital which will save a little stress on our planet.
Converting your event to become digital and by longtailing it, your exposure potential will increase tremendously. And even if the conversion rate is quiet low I for sure believe that you will benefit from this in so many ways in the longrun. Wouldn´t a dream scenario be when speakers starting to contact you because the wanted to speak and your summit.
All of a sudden its not only an event, a summit or a conference. Its a living organism spreading its tentacles through out the web. Imagine what happened technology-wise the last decade and that its with one third of the worlds population hooked up to the web. Imagine when we all are.