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Posts tagged ‘tools’

43 Social Media Tips, Tricks, Big Ideas & Real World Examples for Meetings & Events

When it comes to Social Media – all of us are learning. Some of us faster than others. You should be able to benefit from the successes, failures and experiments of other event professionals.

Think of this list as a “social media launching pad” to get your event’s social media program off the ground in a hurry. If you use all of the resources here – then you will find yourself inside a collaborative community of event professionals that are leading the events industry into the world of social media.

The list is loosely organized by category. Though, some articles could belong to several categories.

Start Here

As a starting point, watch this video of David Meerman Scott talking about Social Media in Events to the CMP Conclave in San Antonio, Texas last summer.

Resources & Communities of Practice

1.  Free Social Media in Events ebook. Three excerpts from this ebook. that you might find interesting:

2.  EventProfs Twitter Group: Self-organized community of Event Professionals

3.  Engage365 (Social Media for Events Community)

4.  Time to Shake Events Up

5.  Three Perspectives for Developing a Social Media Strategy for Events

Planning Your Event

6. Social Media For Events: 101 (Link to 10 Social Media in Events Articles)

7.  Mashable’s Guide to Using Social Media in Events

8.  Meeting and Event Planning with Social Media

9.  Why Event Managers Should be Using Social Media

Promoting Your Event

10. Using Social Media To Promote Events

11. 8 ways to use MySpace for Events

12. 13 Ways Linked Supports Event Marketing

13. 5 Powerful ideas for using Facebook for Your Events

14. Social Media Amplifies Event Marketing

15. Why You Need Bloggers and Tweeters at Your Next Event

16. Three Reasons to have your Presenters Create Videos to Promote Their Sesssion

17. Why User-Generated Content is Good for Meetings & Events

Social Media Marketing Guide by Anne Thornley-Brown

18. Social Media Marketing Strategies for Event Planners – Part 1

19. Social Media Marketing for Event Planners – Part 2: RSS Feeds & More About Blogs

20. Social Media Marketing Tools for Event Planners – Part 3: Twitter & Facebook

Social Networking & Community Building

21. Pre-Event Community Building (Excellent Resource)

22. Using Twitter to Build a Community Around Your Event

23. 14 Online eCommunity Options For Your Next Annual Meeting

24. How To Make Your Event’s Social Network Easy to Join

25. How To Increase Social Media (and technology) Adoption

Backchannel and Twitter

26. 10 Reasons Why Your Conference Should Use a Backchannel

27. Bringing Twitter’s Backchannel to the Frontchannel

28. Tips for Using Twitter During Presentations

29. Tweeting At Conferences And Events: The Good, The Better, The Best

30. 5 Ways to Visualize Twitter at Events

31. 8 Tips for Monitoring the Backchannel during your presentation

Other Useful Resources

32. Using Social Media for Meetings and Events

33. Role of Social Media in Future Events?

34. Does Social Media Feel Like an Awkward Embrace

35. Using Social Media To Listen To Your Conference Attendees

36. Social Media in Events Survey

37. Social Media Revenue Streams for Trade Shows and Conferences

38. Technology Plans for 3 Leading Organizations

39. Benchmarking Event-Driven Non-Profit Social Media Campaigns

40. See how welders use Twitter at Tradeshows

41. User Generated Content & Conferences: Shoot the Reaction

42. 6 Must Read Posts about the ROI of Social Media

43. Best Use of Twitter at Conferences: Change the Context


I am not omniscient and I didn’t stay the night in a Holiday Inn Express.  So, I probably missed some useful resources – like like your killer blog post or awesome online magazine article. Please accept my apology and use the comments section to add it to the list.

Google Waves Hello to Events

Sunday evening, Twitter was buzzing about Google Wave being used at the recent EComm Conference in Amsterdam. The Fresh Networks Blog did a nice job of recapping the power of Google Wave in Google Wave vs. Twitter at Conferences.

To me, this event demonstrated how you can tap into the energy and brainpower of the attendees to share, communicate and collaborate at events.

Here are some of the ways that the attendees used Google Wave at the EComm Conference:

  • Send messages
  • Share notes
  • Build group summaries of the sessions.
  • Provide feedback on sessions, etc.

If you are new to Google Wave – I suggest that you watch this simple video that explains the concept:

Mass Collaboration At Events

The thing that caught my attention was the use of Google Wave for mass collaboration at an event. It almost seemed like wikis+twitter on steroids. It made me consider the following scenario:

What if you brainstormed a bunch of ideas in a plenary session through Google Wave and prioritized them on the spot. Then, you could assign one or two topics to each break-out session. Ask the teams to expand on the ideas and make recommendations for next steps.

It they used Google Wave, they could end up with a summary document and action plan. In this scenario, you would avoid the flip charts, the massive amounts of handwritten notes, the situation where notes were left in the conference room, etc. Everything would already be “digitized” and ready-to-share. So, when attendees return to the office, they can maintain the momentum of the event and start making change happen.

Sounds like a good idea to me. What about you?

(Note: I know that some of you already do something similar with other technology solutions.)

A Word of Caution

Before we get too excited we probably need to keep the following four things in mind:

  1. Google Wave is still on a limited release.
  2. Wifi access/connectivity in many venues is still questionable.
  3. If you have a room full of laptops, netbooks, etc – then you need to provide power strips and tables.
  4. We still need to learn more about using the tool and how to best apply it for collaboration.

Bottom Line

I think Google Wave has demonstrated that it can be a powerful accessory to engage the audience, create interaction and enhance collaboration at events.  Once it rolls out, it may be something to consider for your events.

What do you think? Do you want your attendees doing the wave and engaging in mass collaboration?

It’s Halloween: Are Your Events Haunted by the Blackberry Prayer?

You know the blackberry prayer. It’s that pose that attendees adopt when they stuff their faces into their blackberry devices (or iphones) during the keynote address or breakout sessions. You know – at the exact moment that they should be listening.

For some speakers and event organizers this can be embarrassing and frustrating. After all the content is supposedly important stuff. Based on what I am hearing and reading in discussion groups – it seems to be haunting events.

BlackBerry Prayer

New Flash: Mobile Devices Are Here To Stay

With more than 120,000 applications available for smart phones, mobile phones are only going to grow in usage. So, you can expect the blackberry prayer to become more common at events in 2010. Here are some additional facts:

  • More than 58% of Americans have a web enabled mobile phone
  • In Europe, 1 in 4 households cancelled their landline and are only using their mobile
  • More than 2 trillion SMS (text) messages were sent in 2008. (Yes! that is Trillion with a “T”!!)
  • 1 in 4 new mobile phones sold in the US is a smart phone.

Besides dressing up as the headless horseman and throwing flaming pumpkins at attendees (which, by the way, I don’t advise) – what can you do to get attendees to look up and pay attention to the speaker?


If You Can’t Beat’em – Join‘em

You can’t prevent people from using their smart phones at your event – but you can engage them through the smart phones.  Ask attendees to use their devices to look up answers during a session. Ask them to tweet you questions or comments. Or use one of the mobile event applications that helps them keep in touch with you and the event.

If those ideas still sounds scary to you – here are 10 more ideas that will help you create interaction:

  1. Increase Interaction Time & Reduce Speaker Presentation Time
  2. Setup A Backchannel
  3. Use Mobile Texting Tools
  4. Use the Buzz Collaboration Format
  5. Try the Fishbowl Technique
  6. Try an Unconference
  7. Use Open Space Technology
  8. Try An Audience Response Team Building Game
  9. Start a Flash Mob – Like Oprah
  10. Try a Treasure Hunt

Bottom Line

Ghosts, Goblins and Blackberry-using-attendees do not control your event experience – you do.  When it comes to addressing the growing number of mobile devices at your events you have two choices: Trick or Treat.

Let me know if you have any alternative witches brew that might be useful here. Happy Halloween!

photo credits: jochen & oskay

Note: I discovered the term “Blackberry Prayer” in a Podcast between Jeff DeCagna & Sue Pelletier: Listen | Read

Announcing 2010 Event Technology Shopping List

With hundreds of new event technologies hitting the global events market each year, it can be maddening to figure out where to start and what to use. To help you, my colleague Ruud Janssen and I have developed an event technology shopping list.

On Tuesday, 1 December, we will be presenting our 2010 Event Technology Shopping List to the participants of the EIBTM Tech Hour at 1pm. Here is our promotional video.

Why a Shopping List?

When you are cooking, you combine different types of ingredients to prepare your dishes.  We think that the combination of tech ingredients is what makes the attendee experience great.  The shopping list analogy comes from the ingredients that you need to go get or hire.

Plus, not every tech tool (or ingredient) will be appropriate for your event.  For example, just because you like apples – doesn’t mean that they are appropriate for every dish. The same is true with event technology.

Finally, the shopping list supports my strong personal desire to make sure that each participant in the session goes home with something tangible and actionable for their next event.

How Will We Sort Through the Madness?

Just like a chef preparing a meal for his guests, we are putting the attendee at the center of the discussion. We are looking at event technology tools that:

  • Improve the participant experience
  • Allow you to reach out and connect with more participants than before
  • Allow you to do more for less.

After we assemble the list, then we will categorize and rate the tools. The criteria will look something like the following:

  • Impact on the participant experience
  • Extend the reach and range
  • Cost (relative to others in category)
  • Amount of prepartory time involved
  • Impact on the planner’s design & execution process
  • Global business capability (to acknowledge Asian vs European vs US suppliers)

(Note: This list is still evolving and being refined. Please share any ideas or input that you have!)

Our List of Event Tech Tools?

We already have a list of over 200 event technology tools. This includes the 48 participants in the EIBTM WorldWide Technology Watch Contest that was won by Pathable.

We know that we are missing several others. Soooo – if you have a product or service that you would like to recommend – please tell us about it. We will be happy to include it in our process. You can either leave a comment on this post OR send me an email at samuel_j_smith at

Bottom Line

The motivation behind this project is to create a tool that helps meeting and event organizers sift through event technology. Based on what you can see in this post – what will help you with your job the most?  What are we missing that we need to include in the process and analysis?

I hope to see you in Barcelona at EIBTM in December!

Go Old School – Build Your Event Social Network with Magic Markers

Get_Connected_Wall_01Are you looking for a super-fantastic way to bundle networking and interaction into a single activity?

Then you might like this idea. I found an old school way to build a social network using magic markers – it is called the “Get Connected Wall.”

The “Get Connected Wall” allows your attendees to create a extra-large social network of everyone at the event! It can be done during a cocktail reception – in real time – with magic markers and a super-sized piece of paper.

This awesome idea is the brainchild of Anna Okupinski, Event Manager for Scan Source, Inc. Anna created this idea to give a tech crowd a low-to-no-tech way to network and connect with each other.


How Do You Make Your Own Get Connected Wall?

  1. Go get a ginormous piece of paper and mount it on a large flat wall. Anna recommends checking out for paper. Make sure that you have a few extra people to help and plenty of tape, tacks and other sticky items to mount the paper on the wall.
  2. Then give attendees nametags where they can write their name (and possibly one or two things about themselves) and stick them anywhere on the wall. Anna suggests using “Hello My Name is” stickers to control the size of the name on the wall.
  3. Using magic markers, ask attendees to draw connections between themselves and other attendees that they know. On the connection – they should indicate what they have in common or how they know the person. If they don’t know someone, then they need to go meet them and figure out what they have in common. (Hot Tip: have a few people set-up to kick off the activity by putting their names up on the wall)
  4. Finally – Voila – you have a graph of your entire event. At a glance, attendees can see who else is here, how they could be connected and what they might have in common with the other attendees.


5 Reasons Why I Like The Get Connected Wall

  1. I was captivated by this idea because it was a simple tool to encourage networking and interaction. It creates a lot of value for attendees that are interested in finding like minded people, connecting with old friends, etc.
  2. This solution helps attendees answer three of the five networking questions that I think are important for their networking success: Who else is here? What do I have in common with other participants? and How do I find or connect with them?
  3. Creates a semi-structured networking and interaction activity that can be integrated into a welcome reception or networking cocktail.
  4. The Get Connected Wall – gets people talking and finding out where they have common ground and common interests. If you use this activity at the beginning of your event – you can get everyone connected right away.
  5. Understanding how everyone is connected to each other allows you to introduce people to each other during the event. This creating value for the attendees and makes you look like a star!

Bottom Line

This is a simple idea that is easy to execute, doesn’t cost a fortune and creates value for your attendees. It allows you to do new school things (social networking and interaction) in an old school way (magic markers and big-old-sheets-of-paper).

“Some of the connections end up being silly (both have a tattoo, fan of cheeseburgers, etc.) but no matter what it gets people talking to each other!” – Anna Okupinski

Share this Idea

If you like the “Get Connected Wall” consider using it at your next event, telling your like minded friends about it, sharing it on twitter or leaving a comment on this post. Better yet – send Anna a “Thank you” tweet to @annaoki. Wherever you share this idea – be sure to mention Anna and her awesomeness!

Photo Credits: Aaron Moller (@aaronmoller)

Will whiteboards become part of the collaboration experience at events?

This morning, I read an article on interactive whiteboards that got me thinking about whiteboards and collaboration in events.  The article indicated that interactive whiteboards were improving learning and collaboration in educational environments. Also, it said that 1 in 7 classrooms will be using these interactive whiteboards by 2011.

It made me wonder – will we start seeing whiteboards and interactive tables at meetings and events?

For those of you that are new to interactive whiteboards – Wikipedia has a great definition and description of the technology: Interactive Whiteboard. It should help you understand the difference between whiteboards and interactive whiteboards.

Collaboration Lounge for Events

Sometimes, we forget that people need the space and tools to communicate and collaborate at events. A few weeks ago, I learned about a new concept called the Collaboration Lounge that solves this problem (see Meetings Podcast Interview with Jay Smethurst). Essentially, a collaboration lounge is a networking space outfitted with comfortable furniture, markers and whiteboards. Participants use these whiteboards/markers much like they would use the back of a napkin or scrap paper to draw pictures and explain ideas. In some cases, Jay’s team will create visual summaries of breakout sessions and post those in the collaboration lounge, too. Then, participants can use those summaries to share ideas across sessions or expand on key points.

Interactive Collaboration Tables

From a technology point of view, it seems that the interactive technology is arriving in tables too. In this example of a collaborative table – you can start to imagine how this might work in large groups that are doing idea sharing, brainstorming, etc.

While that video gets me excited about the future of collaboration, it still seems a bit futuristic for most events – today.  Having said that, Microsoft launched an interactive table called Microsoft Surface in 2008. Sheraton Hotels is one of the customers using the technology – in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

Have you seen this?

To get a feel for the way people are using these tables checkout Fast Company’s “Killer Apps for Microsoft Surface.” The article pulls together several video links of different applications of Microsoft Surface — including my favorite the DaVinci.

What do you think?

Do you think that these tools can help you (or your clients) create interactive and collaborative experiences for participants? Will we start seeing whiteboards, interactive whiteboards and tables at events? Are you interested in using (or already using) these types of tools in your events?

Do Social Technologies Add Value to Face2Face Meetings?

Yesterday, HSMAI Affordable Meetings(R) National and Event Technology Expo(TM) released the results of a survey that found that technology cannot replace the value of face to face meetings. (Read Article)

The press release identified six elements of the conference experience that meeting professionals felt were unable to be replaced by technology:

  1. Socializing and networking spontaneously
  2. Helping attendees best put names with faces
  3. Allowing more free and open dialogue between attendees and vendors/presenters
  4. Training effectively via live and personal interaction
  5. Paying greater attention to others when face-to-face
  6. Engaging in real-time conversation that is not interrupted by technical glitches.

Does Tech Add Value?

My Thoughts

While I agree that technology will not replace the face to face events, I would argue that interactive and social technologies are improving and enhancing face2face meetings. Here are two examples:

Social Networking Solutions: Social networking solutions help participants answer the questions: Who else is at the event? Who are the like-minded people that I should meet? and what do they look like? Based on my experience, these tools helped me put a name with a face and maximize my limited networking time.

Speaker Q&A Texting Solutions: In a typical 10 minute Q&A session, the speaker can answer 3-4 questions via the microphone. When I have used Q&A texting solutions as a speaker, I have been able to answer 8-10 questions in the same 10 minute time block.

What do you think?

Do you think social and interactive technologies add value to face2face events? Do you think social and interactive technologies add value to the 6 elements listed above? I am interested to get your point of view.


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