September 6, 2016
Integration of social media using events companies in UK
It is reported in C&IT’s State of the Industry 2016 report that demand for integrated social media at events are on the rise, with almost 40% of corporate clients asking for a social media plan to be integrated into their events.
Various agency bosses and events companies in UK admit to wrestling with the challenge. Warning of the risks of responding to client demands by saturating events by using every social media platform available. However, an example cited where social media has been integrated into an event is using Twitter to collect questions for the Q&A session and displaying them on the main screen.
Another suggestion is that you could include Twitter handles on people’s badges, so that people will actually know who they’ve been talking to. We assume this means in addition to their name rather than instead of? This surely is not what clients mean by creative integration of social media into their events, or is it?
The key to communicating with the clients
There is no doubt that social media has a role to play in communications with audiences prior to, during and after the event. With the degrees of integration, the channels used and the sophistication of content must surely be determined by the likelihood of the target audience to receive information in this way. There also appears to be a divide between external facing consumer events with social media used extensively and internal communication events where there is more limited use.
There is also no doubt that simply tweeting event content, posting on Facebook and creating event #hashtags is not enough. Likewise, event Apps are much talked about but less prevalent that you might imagine, costs and development time being the major barriers to implementation here.
At our recent annual Leadership conference, the event app was downloaded by a significant majority of the 1,500 delegates. The #hashtag trended on three separate occasions over the 3 days. But clearly there is more work to do on pre and post conference engagement.
With Facebook having been around now for 16 years and its younger cousin Twitter for 10 years it is perhaps surprising that both agencies and their clients are still struggling to go beyond the basic levels of integration into events. Maybe the truth lies in the fact that our audiences comprise people of varying degrees of social media adoption and in our experience those avid fans have a tendency to use their social media platform of choice in different ways to their peers.
What is true is that social media is here to stay, continues to expand its reach and platform options, so we must all continue to look for ways to understand what each audience group wants and how best to meet their requirements of social media interaction.