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Socio Event Platform [Review]

By EventMB Studio Team

Socio is an end-to-end event management platform powering virtual, hybrid, and in-person events of all types and sizes. Here is our review.

 

What is Socio?

Socio is an end-to-end event management platform that helps event organizers and marketers execute event experiences across the event lifecycle. Socio is a Cisco company, and part of a broader, integrated technology suite for meetings, collaboration, and events including Webex and Slido.

Socio’s core offering is a highly-customizable event platform built for web, iOS, and Android devices with optional add-ons like event registration, streaming, branded event apps, lead retrieval, live display, and online communities.

 

Socio’s Main Product Categories

  • keyboard_arrow_right Event Platform

The Socio Event Platform is the core of Socio’s offering and allows planners and marketers to build a single event that’s accessible across devices (web app, iOS, Android), through both a web browser interface and the Socio event app.

Core features include live streaming (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), attendee engagement tools (chat, Q&A, polling), networking (Shake and Connect for mobile devices, 1:1 video chats, meetings, topic-based discussion rooms, profiles, connections), sponsorship tools (sponsor profiles, sponsor tiers, banners, video rooms), gamification, and comprehensive data and analytics.

  • keyboard_arrow_right Event Registration

Socio integrates with third-party registration providers, but offers a native registration platform that feeds data directly into the event platform.

Event landing pages are customizable and no specific technical background is required to build them. Socio Registration features include dynamic ticketing, custom checkout forms, and attendee check-in. Ticket purchases are instantly eligible for payouts.

One of the standouts of Socio Registration is the ability to align ticket types to custom groups within the Socio Event Platform, creating endless opportunities to personalize and target event communications and experiences to specific groups within your event.

  • keyboard_arrow_right Socio Streaming

Socio Streaming is powered by an integration with Restream that can be accessed and activated in one click, rather than having to integrate using RTMP or some other method.

Socio’s streaming solution makes it possible for organizers to create professional, TV-quality live streams without the need for an AV team. Features include custom banners, backgrounds, overlays, sponsor ads, and the ability to play videos.

  • keyboard_arrow_right Branded Event App

Socio offers a customizable branded app. While a container version of your event is available in the App Store or Google Play at no additional cost, you can choose to create your own native iOS or Android app to showcase your event’s branding. The Branded Event App is equipped with the same functionality as the core event platform.

  • keyboard_arrow_right Lead Retrieval

The Socio Lead Retrieval app is an optional add-on that operates through licences assigned to specific sponsors and exhibitors. This app allows sponsors and exhibitors to capture and rate leads, as well as collect metrics on their sales team’s overall performance at the event.

  • keyboard_arrow_right Live Display

Socio Live Display is a web-based platform that draws key content from the event app to be displayed on screens around your venue. With Live Display, organizers can highlight event content like the networking leaderboard or upcoming sessions in the event schedule.

  • keyboard_arrow_right Community Platform

Socio Communities allows organizers and marketers to create a venue for year-round engagement, networking, and education with their audience. This has many applications. For example, associations can use it to create professional communities, and marketers can use it to host an online community or customer advisory board.

Socio Communities are designed to cultivate brand affinity and engage audiences in a permission-based channel outside a standalone event.

 

EventMB Review

Socio has sought to balance usability and flexibility as it evolves into an end-to-end platform that can be used across event types and formats (in-person, virtual, or hybrid). Socio offers native tools and features while still allowing event planners to embed third-party solutions should they want or need to.

Socio has prioritized customization and branding in its event design. Organizers can update their hex colors, choose from over 150,000 customizable icons (or upload custom artwork), adjust their mobile app layout, and create custom, branded mobile apps.

Socio is fully drag-and-drop, so no technical experience is required to build an event. Additionally, organizers can bulk upload event data like speakers and sponsors. However, if planners do need support, Socio provides customers with a dedicated customer success manager and offers live chat support, email support, phone support, and access to a robust knowledge base. At the time of writing, Socio scores a 97% in ease of use, 94% in ease of admin score, and has a Net Promoter Score of 90 on G2.

 

Who Is Socio For?

 

Socio is suitable for internal events of 50+ people and external events of 20,000 or more, and supports events across all formats (in-person, virtual, and hybrid).

Socio helps organizers host a variety of event types, including external events like conferences, summits, webinars, trade shows, job fairs, fundraising events, networking events, and product launches; or internal events like QBRs, sales kickoffs, and all hands meetings. Socio currently serves a variety of industries and verticals, including Fortune 1000 companies, technology companies, professional associations, higher education, financial services, government, media, nonprofits, and third-party planners in event services and marketing.

Socio can also be used for international audiences, supporting 21+ languages (including those written in right-to-left format) and live translation services/closed captioning. Socio provides out of the box accessibility features and aims to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level.

 

Features

CONTENT

Live Streaming and Video. Socio provides native streaming (Socio Streaming), RTMP (useful for AV partners), and native integrations with platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Twitch, Facebook, and Streamable.

In addition, organizers can upload pre-recorded content, which is useful for simulive sessions (where you play a pre-recorded session alongside live chat, Q&A, and polling) or video used on resource lists or sponsor pages.

Content Pages. Socio supports multiple document types within the event agenda. In addition to the session title and description, planners can link to supporting documents for the session as well as speaker and sponsor profiles. Supported content types include video, PDFs, and images (JPEG, PNG, and TIFF).

Internal links on session pages allow you to connect event content, which lets attendees navigate more easily around agenda sessions, sponsor profiles, exhibitor profiles, video rooms, documents, and more.

Permission Setting. Planners can decide which features are visible to which attendees by creating groups within the event platform and assigning particular features to specific segments. With Socio, event organizers can display a subset of features to all groups. In other cases, event organizers might want to showcase certain features only to staff, speakers, or sub-groups of attendees based on segmentation that makes sense for their audience.

 

ENGAGEMENT

Integrations. Like most Socio offerings, Socio provides both native engagement tools and flexibility to use third-party solutions by embedding web pages.

Session Chat. Socio allows admins to set chat at the session level. This could be added directly to a session within the agenda, or it can be enabled using a live stream feature. If you have 15 sessions in your event, you can enable chat across all 15 sessions or enable them for some and disable for others. All chats can be downloaded post-event to gather content ideas, follow up with attendees, or for lead generation.

Native Q&A. Q&A is offered at the session level or as a global feature. When setting up Q&A, organizers choose which session to link to, can choose whether to enable moderation, and can also select whether they want to allow anonymous questions.

Polling. Planners can also set-up polling similarly to Q&A (at the session level or dedicated global feature). Polls can be visible at all times or scheduled. Additionally, organizers can select whether to show results when a poll has been completed by a user.

Before offering their own native Q&A and polling solution, Socio partnered with Slido. For organizers looking for a third-party solution, Socio’s preferred vendor remains Slido.

 

NETWORKING

Networking. Networking features include Video Rooms, connections, 1:1 video chat, direct 1:1 chat, Shake and Connect, meeting bookings, and third-party integrations.

Video Rooms. Socio’s newest networking offering can be applied in a number of use cases, like virtual roundtables or group demos in a virtual or hybrid setting to monetize sponsor tiers.

In Video Rooms, participants can chat with one another via live audio, live video, and typed chat. Participants can also collaborate, share their screens, and send connection requests. Video Rooms can host up to 13 attendees and 3 moderators per room and work across web and mobile devices (share screen not available on mobile).

Connection Requests. Users can make connection requests to other users. When accepted, connections allow users to message each other, send meeting requests, and see each other’s contact information.

Private 1:1 Messaging. Event stakeholders can connect with each other over chat, including 1:1 video and text-based messaging. In order to private chat, participants need to send and accept connection requests first. Private video chat can accommodate up to 13 users if needed. Socio also allows users to book meetings directly with other event attendees or sponsors and also provides the flexibility admins need to set custom meeting links for sponsors with third-party meeting tools like Calendly.

Shake and Connect. Shake and Connect allows attendees to simply shake their phone to discover who is around. Once shaken, potential connections will appear and you can decide on who to send a connection request to based on titles or companies that make sense. If the connection request is accepted, you can then direct chat, video chat, or set up a meeting.

 

MONETIZATION

Ticketing. Using Socio Registration, organizers can set multiple ticket types, create custom codes, hidden tickets, and more. Once a sale is completed, Socio provides instant payout rather than delaying payment. This helps organizers better manage their event cash flow.

Sponsorship. Socio supports a range of opportunities to sell sponsor visibility and engagement, including highly contextual booth experiences, and to tier sponsorship offerings based on flexible features like video rooms, sponsor showcase, event gamification, banners, push notifications, advanced profiles, meetings, and more.

 

DATA AND ANALYTICS

Socio’s data dashboard comes standard on all plans and is broken down into 4 main categories: high-level overview, attendee timeline, feature comparison, and sponsor metrics.

High-Level Overview. Shows data including organizers social shares, data on attendee messages, minutes open, total platform users (sort by day, week, or month), attendee logins (by device and operating system), and push notification performance.

Attendee Timeline. A drill-down view of an individual attendee’s journey. Organizers can review touchpoints with their event and export data based on account activity, connections, messages, and event activity.

Features Comparison Dashboard. This feature provides access to real-time event feedback so planners can make adjustments during the event to improve performance. The dashboard answers questions like which content is resonating the most, what sessions are most popular, which sponsors are getting the most engagement, and more.

Sponsor Metrics. Socio’s sponsor metrics help organizers prove engagement to sponsors with hard data including sponsor banner engagement (impressions and clicks), user profile/social data of attendees that engaged with sponsor content, sponsor profile metrics (favorited, requested follow ups, meetings booked), and sponsor push notification performance.

 

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Socio offers Professional Services to clients hosting events on the Socio Platform. The services team can help with a range of event planning and execution needs, including:

Event Project Management and Planning. Socio will help manage your event timelines and event build out to ensure your event is a success.

Dedicated Technical Support. Socio offers on-site and dedicated representatives for pre-event and during event technical support including rehearsals. They can serve as the technical point of contact for all your staff, speakers, exhibitors, and attendees.

Event Production Support. If you’re new to the nuances of virtual or hybrid events, Socio can help run production functions like streaming and recording management.

 

Stakeholder Feature Breakdown

Socio has many features to make hosting events easy. While this list is representative of Socio’s features, it is in no way exhaustive.

 

ATTENDEE FEATURES

  • keyboard_arrow_right Native streaming (Socio Streaming add-on or third-party integrations)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Digital agenda (program, sessions, multiple tracks)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Video Rooms (Interactive, with moderation, screen sharing and chat)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Audience engagement (polls, session chat and Q&A)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Networking (Add connection, 1:1 video, 1:1 chat, meetings and forums)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Attendee, speaker, and sponsor profiles
  • keyboard_arrow_right Built-in accessibility features including closed caption and translations
  • keyboard_arrow_right Supports web or mobile app (iOS and Android)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Gamification (Games, challenges and codes)

 

SPONSORS AND EXHIBITOR FEATURES

  • keyboard_arrow_right Banner ads
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsor and exhibitor profiles
  • keyboard_arrow_right Lead gen tools and custom CTAs
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsored video rooms
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsored games and challenges
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsored push notifications
  • keyboard_arrow_right Interactive exhibitor maps
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsor list and grid views
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsor and exhibitor lead reports and ROI metrics

 

Features for Event Organizers and Admins

  • keyboard_arrow_right Drag-and-drop event builder
  • keyboard_arrow_right Custom branding and embeddable content (pdfs, links, websites)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Speaker management and profiles
  • keyboard_arrow_right Clone events, export/import features, bulk upload via integration or CSV
  • keyboard_arrow_right Unlimited admin accounts
  • keyboard_arrow_right Personalization (group-based audience segmentation)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Advanced analytics, reports, and real-time insights
  • keyboard_arrow_right Moderated forums and Q&As
  • keyboard_arrow_right Provide your own Help Desk (with chat and video room)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Integrations to software like Zapier, Eventbrite, Typeform, Snapbar, SyncWords, Slido, etc.

 

Socio Pricing and Plans

The core Socio offering is the event management platform and provides access to a desktop version of the event as well as an event app (container version). Any customer purchasing the event platform gets access to all features except for add-on products and features. Add-ons include Socio Streaming/RTMP, Registration, Branded Event Apps, Lead Retrieval, Live Display, and Socio Communities.

Socio bases pricing on a range of factors, including total number of attendees, whether an event organizer is hosting one event or multiple events, plus any add-on modules or Professional Services. Socio provides discounts for bundling and multi-year contracts. They also offer nonprofit discounts for certified nonprofits.

Socio doesn’t offer public pricing. The best way to get pricing information is to request a custom quote on their website.

 

Socio Pros and Cons

Pros:

End-to-end and customizable event platform.

Supports in-person, virtual, and hybrid event needs for a wide range of event types.

Drag-and-drop features mean building events take no special technical knowledge.

Highly flexible, including advanced internal linking and group segmentation.

Native tools and features with the ability to integrate or embed third-party options if desired.

Highly-rated customer support.

Cons:

Calendar view for single day events could be improved.

No native survey options.

 

IN CONCLUSION

Combined with support for a range of devices and event formats, Socio’s emphasis on simplifying the build process while allowing for branding and customization make it suitable for a variety of events. Socio provides ample interactivity, formats for content delivery, a variety of attendee networking options, and opportunities to monetize your event through sponsorships and ticket sales.

It also boasts encouraging scores in several service and support-oriented categories on G2.com. Learn more on Socio’s website or reach out directly to request a demo.

Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.

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EventMB Studio Team
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