Often, when we speak to clients, they want solid examples of how social media and events work together. Last night, The Grammys provided an excellent case study of how audiences interact with each other and how they share their opinions and feedback. Without even tuning in, anyone watching the Twitter stream or reading Facebook was able to see that there was a moving tribute to Whitney Houston including Jennifer Hudson’s performance of “I Will Always Love You” where people reported that “she nailed it” and “she took my breath away.” You didn’t need to turn on your TV to know that Adele needed a new suitcase to carry home all of her awards including Song of Year, “Rolling in Deep” which she sang during the show. With mostly positive reviews of music’s biggest night flooding the web, there was no doubt that Nicki Manaj’s WTF act was confusing and downright bizarre and caused many to tune out.
In addition to being able to monitor the activity, engagement was increased because people sitting in their living rooms across the country could share express their feelings to their social networks and feel part of a community. People no longer feel like passive observers, but active participants who are able to have real-time conversations about what they are watching. With celebrities tweeting from the red carpet, the sense of connection is even greater.
So now imagine that you were in charge of The Grammys. You would know instantly what people liked, didn’t like and at what point they went to bed for the night. There were no evaluations, no exit interviews, there was simply raw and authentic feedback. Now imagine this wasn’t a major TV event, but your own meeting or conference. Are you paying attention to what people are saying? Are you using the feedback to build future programs and reward speakers who receive the “she nailed it” comments?
Now with a show like The Grammys there is a level of anonymity because most viewers don’t personally know the event producers. They aren’t afraid of offending someone who has put a lot of work into creating the perfect experience. They expect that any public artist opens themselves up to a certain level of scrutiny. There is some difference in the online behavior of people watching a celeb fest and no an association meeting. However, there are many events with active social media channels that reveal a lot about what participants are thinking, feeling and experiencing.
Seven Simple Steps for Using Social Media at Events
- Identify which social networks and hash tags are being used by the participants (even if you have already designated them).
- Listen to the conversations happening on the social networks.
- Respond to concerns in a timely and professional manner.
- Acknowledge positive feedback.
- Encourage event participants to converse and connect.
- Use comments, both positive and negative, to plan future events.
- Save screen shots to use as future testimonials to promote your event.
Whether it’s The Grammys, The Super Bowl, The State of the Union or your annual conference, social media brings an entirely new dimension to events. How are you using it?