How can I select the best app of 2013 for my event?

Everybody is talking about them. Everybody wants one. But many people struggle with how to choose the right one. We are talking about mobile event apps: an unstoppable hype of the event industry. On 16 May, the Event Manager Blog launched The Event App Bible: an impressive attempt to bring some clarity into the general confusion concerning event apps. The free eBook offers a great overview of the many possibilities out there, however without making an explicit recommendation for the best event app. We like to help you with that selection: we analysed all apps listed in The Event App Bible and chose our personal favourite.

06 How to select Best Event app 2013 How can I select the best app of 2013 for my event? by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)What should a good event app be?

In order to be of value to your event or conference, an event app should ‘mean’ the following to you:

  • The app should make our event experience more intensive by providing functions that cannot be replaced by non-tech solutions. That means the app should provide functionalities that simplify a user’s ‘event-experiencing-process’.

  • The app should create additional value by extending the lifetime of the event beyond the boundaries of the physical event. It should stimulate (potential) attendees to engage before and after the event.

  • The perfect event appp should benefit everyone involved: participants, sponsors and the event organizer.

What 7 features should my event app have?

Page 23 of the Event App Bible lists a myriad features and functions of event apps. Unfortunately most of them are not necessary or even useless for your event. What should a good event app in our opinion at least be able to do?

1. Easy to sign up and manage Registrations

This is the first step at any event or conference and, if badly organized, it can be messy and time-consuming. An app that let’s you register in a few clicks and helps the organizer to manage the registration process efficiently is very valuable.

2. Create a Personalized agenda

Most conferences offer a full programme. Give your attendees the ability to choose the sessions they are interested in and establish their personal conference agenda. The organizer receives valuable information about which session are going to be popular.

3. Exchange contact details through Badge Scanning

Networking is often at least one of the objectives of a conference or event. Now, what happens with all the collected business cards when you return to the office? A scanning function or another badging feature is useful to exchange networking information super efficiently.

4. Ability to Work offline

Ever been to a conference or event with poor WiFi access? Fill this one in for yourself …

5. Attendee networking & messaging

A good event app should help your visitors to detect other interesting people in the venue and to get in contact with them. It would even get better when it helps your attendees to stay in contact after the event.

6. Audience response system to increase interactivity

An app function that facilitates audience participation during the sessions adds value to your conference. Therefore it should enable attendees to send questions and comments to the stage.

7. Intuitive Design

Chances are big that stakeholders will user your app for the first time. So the learning curve should be smooth and easy. Good design makes an app not only more friendly to the eye but also more fun and easy to use.

Our nomination for the best event app of 2013

Mobiel Event App Double Dutch MSUK branding 180x300 How can I select the best app of 2013 for my event? by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)If we apply our list of essential functionalities to page 23 of the Event App Bible, only a few apps survive: Connectspan, DoubleDutch, NoodleLive and Spotme. If we then take a look at interface design, Double Dutch comes out as most promising to us. The app possesses all necessary functions which add extra value to an event. The modern interface is user-friendly and stimulates social interaction.

This week you get a chance to ‘test drive’ the app at the Meetings Show UK in London. Choose your operating system and download the #MSUK event app right here.

What do you think?

Which features should a good event app have in your opinion? Do you have experience with event apps? Which one would you recommend?

Please share your experiences with us!

Wanted: 5 Facebook buttons to improve content quality

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

it’s about 9 years ago when you gave us Facebook to share news, events, love and fun with our friends. Unfortunately the tremendous growth of your network to more than one billion users has also led to a constant regression of content quality. Since more and more people have a smartphone with a camera-function, which can access the worldwide web wherever they go they seem to feel the constant need to share everything what happens to them (or the fact that nothing happens at all) with the whole world.

As a result our news feed is for 80 percent stuffed with dispensable, boring or annoying updates, which are neither fun nor love at all. The worst about this is, that we are very limited in our reactions to that kind of updates. There is only one option to express yourself: the Like-button. But simply ´not liking´ a post won’t get it out of my news feed. Additionally, the poor fellow who is posting bullshit all the time won’t get the necessary feedback that his updates suck! That’s why I plead for the introduction of these five Facebook buttons:

02 Facebook buttons Wanted: 5 Facebook buttons to improve content quality by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)

1. I don’t give a shit

For all these updates, which are no updates at all, because they are neither new nor relevant. Consider the following examples:

“Dinner was yummy! Now cuddling on the couch with my pumpkin…”

“If you buy our really brilliant (but useless) product now, you get 50 percent discount…”

“Here are 50 pictures of me and my friends on this really awesome party.”

“I’m going to sleep folks, good night!”

We need the ‘I don’t give a shit’ button to remind each other that our lives are not a daily soap show and that we are not interested in watching each other 24/7.

2. Get a life!

Since Facebook wants to share happiness and love, we won’t get the frequently requested ’Dislike’-button. But how can we handle friends who have the tendency to spread bad karma and insult? How can you hush those, who constantly emphasize that life sucks, the government sucks or the weather sucks? The easiest way out would be to unfriend them. But if you feel sympathy for them, because they obviously never see the bright side of life, you can send them a subtle message by hitting the ‘Get a life!’ button.

3. Tell your mother!

You passed your exam, got a new job or just got engaged? I definitely ‘Like’. But there is no need to share all the good news with the whole world. Your baby photo’s might be interesting for your family, but I am getting sick of them. I understand that your relationship anniversaries are very exciting for you and your sweetheart, but I really don’t care. And if your FarmVille cow has finally given birth… well, tell your FarmVille friends. Like a newspaper has sections for particular topics, Facebook has the brilliant feature to create groups for that kind of news. So please, be a little more selective, would you?

4. I don’t wanna know!

For many of us this might be the most crucial button. We often suffer from the illusion that Facebook is a big pub where we can meet for some private chit chat. Unfortunately this pub never forgets any conversation, so every personal detail you share has the potential to go around the world. Would you like to know if, how and when your parents have sex? Exactly! And I don’t want to see you drunk, naked or sitting on the loo. Trust me, I like you even more if you spare me such details.

5. I’m with you

After the Boston disaster many timelines are once more flooded by updates that move us but are actually not quite ‘likeable’. Certainly I want to show my support and sympathy for all the victims and their relatives but ‘Like’ does not seem the appropriate answer. I don’t like bombs, I don’t like attacks and I don’t like innocent victims. But what other options do we have to express my feelings? Time to introduce the ‘I’m with you button’ for showing support in serious matters.

6. Your request

I think that the five buttons above would improve the general quality of Facebook updates a lot. But certainly you can think of more buttons to express your thoughts about your friend’s updates. Which button would you recommend?

A ‘Like’ for the ‘Like’-button

Who would have thought that the tiny blue thumbs up icon would cause such a drama? More and more people decide not to use Facebook’s ‘Like’-button anymore for various reasons. Blogger Len Kendall took it to the extremes and put himself under arrest. He won’t be liking anything this month. Kendall expresses his concerns that liking has become automatised behavior, which makes our social interactions thought- and meaningless. Well, maybe there are many people who like without thinking. But is that bad at all?

01 Like for a like1 A ‘Like’ for the ‘Like’ button by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)

Spread the love

Social media, and especially Facebook are a place to share joy, happiness and good news – things which are all likeable by their nature. If you like a post or comment that made you smile, you simply say ‘thanks for spreading the love’. Hitting the blue button costs no time or effort but you can give the smile back to the person who posted. It is no big deal to friendly say hello to the bus driver but your kindness could make his day a little brighter.

Not for smart asses

Well-educated people might claim that liking is terribly superficial. Yes it is, welcome to the world of Social Media. This is not the place for broadly articulated thoughts or philosophical discussions about ‘the meaning of nose hair’. Facebook is a coffee party where friends and wannabe friends keep in touch by having a little chit chat. Nobody will take the time to read through your extensive comments. By the way – how much comment could a sweet kitten picture probably deserve?

Like whatever you like

Should we like out of obligation because we are worried about somebody’s feelings? That’s completely up to you and it is no problem if you do. When I really fancy a boy I will automatically laugh about all his crappy jokes because I like HIM. When my grandma tells a post-war story – and be it for the 10th time – I listen, because she is important to me. Sometimes we like stuff because of the person who shares it with us and not because of its actual content. Where is the problem?

Don’t be afraid

…of liking things. To you it might not be a big deal but it might cheer up a friend. We all need affirmation. Dare to give it and you will get it back. Fans of more articulated content, you can join a political discussion forum, hang out on Google+ or better – meet in real life.

So, check yourself right now: do you have a smile on your face? You know what to do!

Social Media for events: interview with Eventplanner.TV

Check out this highly engaging episode of Eventplanner.TV about Social Media for events. Watch untill the end, where Gerrit shares Donald’s concept of “Some to Some” communication for the first time.

Description:

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, … Everybody is talking about it, but how many event organizers actually succeed in using social media? How many of them make money with it? Gerrit Heijkoop knows all the secrets of using social media successfully for your event.

How Can I Be Social – A Social Media Checklist for your next conference or event at #EMEC13, Montreux

Gerrit Heijkoop and Donald Roos will take you on a journey that will grow your confidence in how to approach new social technologies when organizing your next meeting or event.

View in external player (Silverlight): http://bit.ly/HCIBSEmec13

07 How Can I Be Social   A Social Media Checklist for your next conference or event at #EMEC13, Montreux by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)

You can see and download the slides of this session right here:

3 Smart Social Media Lessons – from our own experience at IMEX

Three learnings from the @IMEXSocialTeam reporting from #IMEX12 in Frankfurt

During the IMEX in Frankfurt show in May, the “IMEX Social Team” reported live from the show floor. Our objective was to provide a participant’s perspective in real-time to the rest of the world and to help people with all their questions about social media so they could join the conversation online. In this post we share some of our key learnings for the use of Social Media at live events.

1. Make a connection between online and offline

From a cynical perspective, one could choose to view Twitter as a place where ‘people have a conversation with themselves, hoping that someone will respond’.  A more optimistic perspective sees the platform as a great opportunity to make potentially valuable new connections.  In practice during IMEX this meant the social team scanned the #IMEX12 timeline in order to identify people who were tweeting from the show floor and then we went to look them up and make a personal connection!

“Excuse me Melissa, you have been Tweeting at us, right?!” After a first look of surprise, we were always greeted with a big smile. “Yes indeed! How nice to meet you in real life!”.  Of course this usually led to a ‘photo opportunity’, which then resulted in a tweet, and often a re-tweet quickly thereafter.

Imex Social team Frankfurt 2012 meets Melissa in real life  3 Smart Social Media Lessons   from our own experience at IMEX by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)We believe it is vital to make a connection between the online and offline worlds at live events. Whether with a personal ‘lookup’ like we did, with a Tweetup Drink like the #EUventprofs community did, or with a physical ‘Tweetingpoint’, often supplied by the organiser. It is often the perfect – and the only – way to make online networking relevant to the offline networking goals and ambitions of a live event.

2. Add a personal touch

We were quite amazed that no less than 40% of our messages were ‘re-tweeted’. This gave us a much larger reach, compared to the 137 followers we collected in the five days we were active. We really made an effort to add a photo and someone’s @username to almost every message which gave a strong incentive to the re-tweeter. This tactic alone, although requiring a bit more work and attention to detail, seemed to be almost a guaranteed recipe for a ‘re-tweet’. Why? Because people love to be in the spotlight!

Imex Social Team Frankfurt 2012 with Ray Bloom  3 Smart Social Media Lessons   from our own experience at IMEX by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)And they want to tell their friends about it. Have you ever been mentioned in a newspaper when you were a kid? I bet you saved that clipping and showed it to your parents, grandparents, neighbours and classmates didn’t you? For now that principle still seems to hold in the Social Media arena. Our tip: next time you write up a Social Media message, try to add a personal touch to it and see what difference it makes.

3. Integrate with other media

Twitter and live events are made for each other. Due to the fact that all updates are public, it makes it really easy to connect with people at the same event, whether you’ve met them before or not. However, Twitter has a drawback: it still only reaches a minority of your total audience. That is why we strongly believe in integration with other media such as print and e-mail, which are accessible to everyone.

Adding a selection of ‘user generated content’ to your existing editorial media is a reward for the crowd that is already tweeting about your event (see previous learning). And at the same time it will show those who are not yet participating in the online conversation that there is some good stuff going on.  And of course, the more people tweeting about your event, the more exposure and reach you (and your sponsors!) can enjoy.

Imex Social Team Frankfurt 2012  3 Smart Social Media Lessons   from our own experience at IMEX by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)You’ll be able to see the @IMEXSocialTeam in action again at IMEX America in Las Vegas from October 9th – 11th where we’ll be sponsored by MEXICO.  Don’t forget to send a tweet to @IMEXSocialTeam once you get there. We’ll do our best to find you on the show floor!

[NL] Social media op evenementen: interview met Eventbranche.nl op Event12

“Het integreren van social media op evenementen. Eindelijk praktische toepasssingen! Een gesprek met Gerrit Heijkoop van de Social Media Helpdesk.”

Productie credits: Media Centrum Hilversum

The power of Social Media for Events at #FRESH12, Copenhagen

Recorded at Fresh12 in Copenhagen, Denmark. For the Meeting Support Institute (MSI) with the kind support from Abbit Meeting Support.

See for more info about this conference (and more video’s with Gerrit!): http://www.thefreshconference.com

Social media for beginners: the social media revolution

Even if you do not like social media, you cannot ignore that they are there. Even if you refuse to have an account on facebook, twitter or instagramm, your friends will be buzzing on these platforms. Even if we try to ignore it, the world will change. Here is an impressive video about the impact of social media on our lives – online and offline.

How do you feel about the social media revolution? Do you think this is a good trend? Please share your opinion with us.