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Custom live displays are offering planners new ways to inform and engage attendees onsite with social media but is the tech selling itself short?
Twitter, Instagram and now social walls have exploded in popularity at events in the past five years. Not only has digital signage been seen at more and more events, but also at a wider range of events including conferences, trade shows, and meetings. This technology collects the event’s social media footprint in real time including text posts, images and videos into one customizable visual that’s displayed at your event. Refreshing and capturing new content every few seconds, social walls bring the individual digital experience of posting on social media into the physical public domain.
By adding a layer of interactive participation, social walls give every attendee a chance to see their posts on a massive scale, creating conversation out of social sharing. Though it creates a shared social experience for attendees to congregate around, is that all your attendees need? Your event doesn’t exist in a bubble and neither should your engagement tools. Social walls have paved the way for live displays that provide more customization options, sourcing information from news feeds, sponsor content and event information.
Influencing Attendee Behaviour
There’s no doubt attendees get a certain gratification out of seeing their posts projected onto a screen. The semi-celebrity status encourages attendees to post more and in some cases results in a phenomenon known as “screenception.” This phenomenon was coined when attendees started to take photos of their posts that were already on the live display and then posting that photo of their post, yielding twice as many social media impressions from one post. Increased social media activity will expand your event’s reach leading to new followers, online networking and improved social media metrics.
Social walls provide a larger than life engagement tool for primarily social media, but most events are about more than social media, and providers are realizing the potential for marketing and monetization. Driving engagement with social sharing and bolstering your social reach is valuable to your event but it’s only a small part. If social sharing is your event’s top priority, a social wall is a great solution, but for professional meetings and conferences, attendees need a more practical live display.
Though this technology is still relatively new and just recently becoming buzzworthy, it’s been improving steadily. The humble beginnings of static plain text feeds from Twitter and Facebook has blossomed into customizable dynamic aesthetic displays of text, image, and video posts. Integrations may include but aren’t limited to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Vine, Flickr, Tumblr, and Youtube with additional features slowly rolling in. Additional features are unique to the provider and may include opportunities to show promotional or sponsored content, real-time announcements and live polls.
How it Works
Social walls and live displays gather social media posts by using hashtag filters (for text posts), keyword or phrase filters (for image/video posts), and @name filters which allow you to customize where you’re pulling posts from. Certain providers also offer the ability to customize the configuration with other content that would be pre-set.
Moderating the Experience
Moderation is naturally a big concern for using this kind of technology. Depending on the provider and the price point, there are a number of different moderation models. Common packages include live moderation that allow you to monitor, preview and publish posts from your mobile device or laptop. If you don’t have the resources for live moderation, you may want to consider a provider with profanity and keyword filters that can be preset, but additional moderation tools commonly comes with a higher price. The fastest way to moderate your live display is to connect one Twitter handle where you can simply retweet any attendees’ tweets you deem share-worthy.
Get the Most Out of Social Displays
There is a wide range of events this technology is applicable for including conferences, trade shows, product launches, not-for-profit events, and even internal meetings. Social walls and live displays can be embedded in a website or mobile app to build buzz and encourage online sharing before and after the event. However the greatest impact comes from projecting or streaming it to large screens during the event. Social walls and live displays could also be optimized for internal purposes, for example making a private live display to serve as a social hub for remote employees to post, share and foster a community. You can learn more live display tips and tricks here.
Why Use Social Wall Displays
Social walls and live displays are great at expanding your event’s reach, getting new followers, increasing online networking and improving social media metrics but the benefits don’t stop there.
- Social reach. Wall technology and live displays provide a social hub that creates conversations, bolsters your event’s community and extends your event’s reach on social media pre-, during and post-event.
- Ease of use. Most live displays are extremely easy to setup and maintain, requiring as few as 4 steps to create your wall.
Improved atmosphere. Provides a source of entertainment to attendees and gives the event a tech savvy edge.
- Monetize your wall. Advanced customization options aren’t offered by every provider, but marketing and sponsorship opportunities are catching on.
Boost social sharing. This technology hinges largely on the production of user generated content, and while it inherently encourages the production of such content, it also opens up the opportunity to creatively boost social sharing through competitions e.g. Best Twitter comment about a session, best picture at the event, etc.
- Quality content. The quality of the social posts will improve since the posts are being displayed for the whole event to see, attendees will be on their social A-game.
Future event marketing. Social Walls create a social archive of the event that you can use to find social media advocates, distill feedback about the event, and appropriate into a highlight reel or content for future marketing campaigns.
The Writing on the Wall
Events are about much more than social media. Taking a step back from the buzz reveals the potential to engage attendees in more event specific content which is well within the realm of the technology. Providers have already begun offering additional features that bring in live information, sponsored content and other engagement tools but these features should be the product’s mainstay, not just an add-on. Transforming a social wall into more of a live display will allow planners to focus attention on the parts of the event that are most important, not just social media. There’s potential to include informational or promotional material for the event, for sponsors, speaker and exhibitor content, and gamification leaderboards. Such a captivating engagement tool should be able to highlight specific activities, stakeholders, and important event information.
Planners should be looking to go beyond social media and add more to the onsite experience, what’s happening in the cloud and on the ground. Using an engagement tool to drive to other engagement tools just makes sense. Combining your engagement tools together makes even more sense. For example creating challenges for your event game that involve your event wall. Engaging attendees in this way will encourage them to participate in the event as a whole, resulting in a better event experience as well as improving the quantity and quality of all the data you’re collecting from the event, not just social media metrics.
If you’re ready to get into live displays for your next event, ensure your provider is a trusted event technology vendor that goes beyond social feeds and vanity metrics. Live display can offer real business results onsite and long after the event.