Egypt revolution highlights impact of digital on live events, says digital expert

Digital and social media is essential in extending the reach of live events and created more targeted messages, according to Active Network's global strategic director and COI's director of live events.

Anthony Miller at Confex
Anthony Miller at Confex
Speaking at Confex, Active Network’s global strategic director Anthony Miller explained: "There has been widespread media coverage about the way social media was used during the recent protests in Egypt, offering further evidence that the way people are communicating and accessing information has changed. We are also seeing a shift in the corporate events space."

Listening

"We are seeing a move from a moment in time to an event supported by technology then moving to engagement marketing," he added. "Now we are going to broadcast the message and listen back. Social media gives us the ability to do that."

Miller added that a successful live event could now be based on ongoing dialogue with delegates and organisers.

"We can sustain awareness and create an engagement continuum, the live event just happens to be the most engaging part of that ongoing discussion," he said.

Digital survey methods could also push a move away from simply asking delegates about whether the food or event space was any good, to finding out what content could have been added, or products showcased, said Miller.

Encourage discussion

COI’s director of live events Simon Hughes shared the example of an event held by government to encourage discussion around the creative industries.

The C&binet Forum began by using leaders from creative fields and engaging them as ambassadors.

By using their own personal Linkedin, Twitter, email and other social media networks, the ambassadors attracted more than 300 delegates to the two and a half day event in October 2009.

Another 3,000 people attended the event digitally through webcasts, and by tweeting and blogging about it.

Hughes said: "The event was a critical part of what we were trying to do, but the conversation was extended before – in talking about the content and speakers – and subsequently."

He added some of the extra costs were offset by getting Apple to sponsor the streaming elements.

Read How to...let your audience influence the content of an annual conference

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