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.
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!
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.
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!