By Tia Crawford

Events are always about making social connections—even when they’re about budgets, product launches, sales figures, rallying employees to get them excited and energized (or any of the two million other reasons that businesses participate in or organize events), the real reason behind getting people together is . . . getting people together. The human element is the most important difference between sending a memo and holding a meeting. For this reason, no matter what the official focus of your event may be, it needs to be socially savvy!

Socially savvy events need to work in three dimensions: by helping make social connections between participants within the event, by fostering connections that bring news of the event to the outside world, and—most importantly—by connecting the community of participants to the content of the event itself.

The Techniques

  1. Social Media – social media is now in a class of its own. With new platforms and channels appearing almost every day, managing social media has literally become a full-time job. For the purposes of this article, we’ll need to keep the discussion fairly simple! Research the most popular social media channels for your event’s main industries and focus on those platforms for promoting the event—before, during, and afterwards.
  2. Remote Attendance – face-to-face events are the most powerful form of meetings since they bring about the strongest chances for social interactions; however, not all interested parties have the time and resources to attend conventions, conferences, and trade shows in person. By creating hybrid events and enabling remote attendance, your event will cast a wider net—allowing participation on broader terms. Remote participants enhance an event socially, even though they are not physically present.
  3. Streaming Content – streaming content is like an open invite for participation. Imagine the difference between a closed-door session and an open-forum discussion—when we stream content from an event, we give outsiders a chance to become insiders.
  4. Videos – with approximately 65% of the population being visual learners1, attendees (both onsite and offsite) are far more likely to connect with, relate to, and remember content and contacts that are SEEN rather than only heard. Whether you’re looking for the best way to help attendees make social networking connections, you’re looking to push your event content out to remote attendees, or you’re interested in having your content go viral through social media channels, videos are an excellent choice for making deeper connections.
  5. Crowdsourcing – ever since 2006 when “You” were Time magazine’s person of the year2, businesses and individuals alike have realized that the opinions and ideas of individuals can, should, and DO make a difference. Truly socially savvy events can and should harness the tremendous potential of attendees’ ideas and opinions, whether for fun or in brainstorming for the future—attendees need to feel that their voice matters.

The Technology

  1. Digital Signage – from social media feeds to streaming videos, digital signage is the ideal technology choice to display all of the crisp, stunning, visual information that keeps your attendees connected—both near and far.
  2. Audience Response Systems – crowdsourcing becomes easy with an Audience Response System. Simply hand out keypads to allow polling and surveying, instantly gathering feedback from your attendees.
  3. Lead Retrieval Systems – a large portion of business events need social connections to turn into leads, follow-ups, and sales. Lead Retrieval Systems ensure that face-to-face contacts come with trackable data.
  4. Charging Stations – keep attendees’ devices charged, while putting a captive, engaged audience in front of you.
  5. Video Walls – all the practicality and beauty of digital signage, with the fun of being so much bigger!

For the best video presentations possible, don’t forget that SmartSource can provide the AV equipment rentals necessary—from lighting and staging, to sound and interactive video technology!

Resources: 1- Forbes, 2- Wikipedia