The how, when, and why of integrating social media into events

By Peter Cassidy - October 28, 2013
4 mins read time
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From tech conferences to fashion parades, many of our customers are regularly using social media to make their events more engaging.

Whether it be user-generated content (via hashtags, for example) or official content feeds from presenters, sponsors or brands – ‘social walls’ are a great way of encouraging social interaction and broadening the buzz around your event.

Here’s the How, When and Why of integrating social media into events.

HOW?

Ever attended a conference where the majority of people were watching their phones or iPads instead of the presenters? More than ever, people are following events via social media – and traditionally, social media has only been on their own devices.

But what if you, as an event organiser, could grab all of the social conversation happening around your event – moderate and curate it – then broadcast it up onto a big screen for all to see? Better still, what if you could create a custom design to ensure it was 100% on brand?

Social Walls are a great addition to conferences, launches, parties, festivals, sporting events or concerts… any venue where an audience is engaging on social media.

Here’s some great examples:

Qantas / Disney Planes: The Australian Premiere of Disney’s Planes movie was launched inside Hanger 96 at Sydney Airport – with 254 VIP guests invited to attend.

The social reach of these VIP’s (actors, media identities, musicians, chefs) is enormous – so how could the event organisers encourage them to be actively posting about the Premiere on their own social accounts? How could they enhance their experience?

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The answer was this enormous Social Wall.

Vogue / Fashion’s Night Out: Fashion’s Night Out took over Sydney’s CBD as designers, brands, models and fashion icons gathered across the shopping district as a celebration of the industry.

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With so much happening across such a large space, Vogue used Stackla Social Walls – placed at strategic locations – to capture the social buzz around FNO, through a mixture of official and user-generated content.

Swisse Color Run: A fun run which involves getting pelted with multi-coloured powders… we’re yet to come across a more colourful Social Wall.

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Positioned at the finish line of the run, these screens showed a live Photo Slide Show of user generated content, aggregated from Instagram or Twitter.

Telstra / iPhone 5s launch: The launch of the new iPhone 5s was creating a huge amount of buzz within Telstra’s five flagship stores around Australia, with fans queuing for hours to get their hands on Apple’s latest toy.

So how could Telstra keep their customers entertained and informed while in line? And how could they encourage and reward customers for posting about their products?

Simple. They installed enormous iPhones within their stores to show real-time user generated content around the launch.

This custom interface used a combination of our Social Wall and Photo Slide Show displays to create a dynamic, vibrant and unique screen.

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WHEN?

So when might a Social Wall be useful? Whether your event is a conference, a fashion show, a product launch, a concert, festival or sporting match – we’ve identified a number of great applications.

1. Big Screen

Grab content from your attendees, presenters, sponsors, media – via any social network, accounts or hashtags, and broadcast it up onto a wall or TV screen for everyone to follow.

Stackla’s moderation and curation tools give you precise control over exactly what gets published – you can even ‘pin’ or ‘schedule’ posts.

And how does it look? Use one of our themes, or create your own design using our simple editor tools or (for the tech savvy) custom CSS.

2. Ambient Screens

Will people be ‘mingling’ around your venue? Our Social Walls provide interesting, organic experiences – great for VIP lounges, green rooms, back stage experiences or even trade shows.

You can even keep your event sponsors happy with greater weighting and special styling for their content.

3. Social Q & A

Looking for an easy way to engage an audience? Give your users a hashtag to which to post their questions – hand pick the posts you like and push them through to your event screen for your panelists to answer.

It sure beats the old “raise your hand if you have a question” approach… and never again will you have a panelist ask someone to “repeat your question, please”.

4. Web and Mobile integration

People are visiting your website, mobile site and app in the lead up to your event. Why not incorporate a ‘social wall’ into your online properties?

Prior to the event, users can see the lead-up hype, start submitting questions or relevant content.

During the event, users can follow the conversation within your own web or mobile sites. Not all your attendees are on Twitter? Why should they miss out?

Post event, users can use it as a social archive of the event – browsing through sorted and categorised content, following key influencers, presenters or peers.

WHY?

Here’s a run down of the benefits of integrating social media into your event.

Greater event reach on social networks: people get a kick out of having their content displayed on a big screen, so give them the chance and watch them go! More posts = greater reach = free marketing.

Greater audience engagement: stop talking at your attendees, starting talking with them. Give them a voice and you’ll discover a whole new level of engagement.

Better quality social content: people don’t want their peers to think they’re fools. If your attendees are getting their thoughts published on a Social Wall, they’ll think twice about exactly how they express them.

Activate your sponsors: your sponsors are always looking for ways to leverage their investment. Plug in their social accounts and involve them in the conversation.

Kill boring slides: there’s nothing worse than ‘intermission’ slides at a conference. How ridiculously boring. Keep your attendees engaged, not asleep.

Build a social ‘archive’ of the event: integrate into your web and mobile sites using our Social Hub and keep a nice reference point for event attendees after the event. Sure beats emailing presenter slides around.

See how you can start getting better content with less effort.

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