Social media is not the only benchmark for an attendee’s engagement with your event.
Here at GenieConnect, we’re quietly proud of the way that we’ve integrated social media such as Facebook and Twitter into our event technology. You can tweet or like content or session data directly from the app – which means that even those without Twitter or Facebook accounts can join in the fun. And at the big events we support – for example, World Travel Market or the Mobile World Congress – you’ll find evidence of fairly intensive social media activity.
However, in the UK, the latest stats from the UK’s Office of National Statistics showed that only 44% of businesses used Twitter and this dipped to as low as 20% for industries like construction. (We tried in vain to find similar figures for other countries.) So, while marketers and digital natives may be filling the Twittersphere with content, the same may not be true for engineers or medical researchers. If your next event is aimed at these latter groups, then you shouldn’t expect a vast amount of social media activity to take place.
Is this a reason to panic or throw away the notion of using event technology at your next industry or corporate meeting? Absolutely not. Let’s go back to the reasons why we get excited about people using social media at events – it’s because this is the most immediate way of seeing that your attendees are actually engaging with your event. But it’s not the only way.
For example, you can now conduct live polling via a mobile app to both engage with your audience and gauge their feelings on a particular topic. You can use gamification so visitors can compete against each other to be top of a leaderboard. You can encourage networking between attendees by enabling them to message each other and set up meetings – even make smart recommendations for people they might like to meet by matching them up with others with similar profiles.
In short, social media is simply one of a number of ways of demonstrating engagement with your event and a tweet or a ‘like’ may not be the first choice of doing so for many of your attendees. So, by all means check that your event technology partner does social media integration properly – but make sure that you are not settling for a one-trick pony when what you actually need is a thoroughbred.