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Entertainment is Temporary Happiness, but The Real Happiness is Permanent Entertainment.

Month: November 2015

Engaging Audiences with Live Twitter Feeds

Social media is your gateway to untapped marketing potential. Its effectiveness, though, is dependent on how well you use it for generating a long-term rapport in your B2B or B2C interactions. The power of a 140-character tweet should not be underestimated and should be leveraged during a live event or seminar. Studies show that social media users are 71% more likely to purchase a product from a brand they’re connected with.

Incorporating a live Twitter feed for your next conference or trade show is a great way to keep the interaction with your guests flowing. The last thing you want is for your guests to become disengaged by tending to personal matters on their phone or leaving early. Learn the top strategies for using a Twitter wall to keep the attendees’ attention.

Encourage Proactivity With a Live Twitter Feed

The idea of a live Twitter feed is to encourage guests to tweet about your event as it’s in progress. It’s not enough, though, to just spread a few digital signage screens over the venue and expect an instant Twitter explosion full of tweets about how awesome your event is. Use these following tips to get the ball rolling.

1. Use an Event-Specific Hashtag

Come up with a specific hashtag and include it for all your tweets related to your event. When guests begin using that hashtag for their own tweets and Instagram photos, the posts will automatically be pulled into your Twitter wall where it will be seen by the attendees. Tweets with one to two hashtags are also 55% more likely to be retweeted, so use them to create buzz both before and during your event.

Ideally, the hashtag should include the name of the event, the year, and the geographical location. However, only incorporate these elements if you can do so while keeping the hashtag short. Use abbreviations whenever possible to prevent the hashtag from becoming too drawn out. Here are some examples:

Yes: #ImportAutoShowNY
Yes: #ImportAutoShow2015
No: #ImportAutoShowNewYork2015

Yes: #B2BExpoLA2015
No: #Business2BusinessExpoLA2015

Yes: #FashionFest2015
No: #FashionFestAlbuquerque2015

 

2. Be the Conversation Starter

Have you ever experienced that awkward silence when a friend leaves after introducing you to a mutual buddy? The same can happen with a live Twitter feed where the conversation just comes to a halt. That is a deathtrap and is a bigger indicator that your audience is losing interest. Remember, you have to be the one to get the ball rolling. To do just that, have your staff members exchange tweets with one another and include messages that will encourage guests to chime in with their two cents.

How can this be done? Here is an example exchange:

Tweeter 1: The guest speaker is about to come on stage, Can’t wait. ☺ #TradeShowSF2015

Tweeter 2: The anticipation is giving me goosebumps. Wonder how excited the guests are? #TradeShowSF2015

Tweeter 1: Just a holler from one guest about what they’re feeling right about now would make the anticipation even awesomer. #TradeShowSF2015

In the sample exchange above, the Tweeters are clearly speaking indirectly to the audience to elicit a response. Once the guests begin tweeting, try responding to each tweet to get each person to continue tweeting. Obviously, you won’t be able to do this with every tweeter if your wall becomes bombarded with tweeters, which is of course what you want.

When beginning a tweet exchange feel free to get creative and incorporate humor and text-speak to come off as approachable and respond-worthy. Just be sure to keep the posts relevant to the event or at least your industry in general.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Selfie

Selfies are the rage these days and are what comprises the collection of most celebrity Instagram accounts. How might you use selfies to your advantage? Just as you get people to submit tweets, you can have them do the same by submitting a selfie, which will then appear on the Twitter wall. To make it more interesting, encourage attendees to submit a funny-face selfie, or challenge them to take a group selfie with someone they don’t know. You can actually make this into an ice breaker. Here are some other selfie ideas:

  • A selfie with a staff member
  • A selfie pose with a product they purchased from the event
  • A group selfie of five people or more (selfie stick required)

I remember a recent trip to the grocery store where a young female customer approached me at random and asked me to take a selfie with her while making a funny face. I don’t know what the purpose was for, but why not incorporate something similar for your event? You can even encourage participation by letting the people know that the pics may be used for marketing purposes. Most people would love for the opportunity for their photos to be seen by the mass public.

This marketing trick is especially useful if your industry caters to the young adult demographic. Over one million selfies are taken each day, and one out of three comes from those in the 18-24-year-old demographic. If your industry is in a sector like video games, muscle cars, or teen apparel, then this is a must-try tactic.

4. Promote Your Content

A live Twitter wall can be used for other purposes other than just displaying tweets. Here’s an interesting marketing stunt to give a try:

Use the monitors to show some sort of marketing material. This may be a promotional video for a product launch, a montage of customer testimonials, or even a general company video. Show the video at regular intervals and then switch to a message encouraging attendees to share or like the video on their social media channels. Include a real-time meter of the total amount of social shares generated. Let them know that if the meter surpasses a certain threshold, then every guest gets a prize. You can keep the prize a mystery, or give out something small, perhaps a discount code exclusive to the guests or a promotional gear like a company T-shirt.

If a prize is involved, the audience will be more inclined to participate and share with their friends and encourage them to “like” as well. In lieu of a prize, you can also promise something amusing. Perhaps a CEO or other high-ranking company member will do something video-worthy like dunk himself in a water tank while fully clad in an expensive suit. You can even make it more appealing by promising to use that video to raise awareness for a charitable cause, similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Power of Technology Is at Your Fingertips

You want to provide value to your guests who took the time out of their schedule to attend your event. The goal is to raise brand awareness while adding entertainment value to maintain the engagement factor. Guests who leave the event on a high note will be more likely to become long-term customers whom which you can rely on for maintaining brand loyalty. With a live Twitter feed, you have an out-of-the-box resource for taking customer interaction to a whole new level.

Category Event Planning Tips

History can be an amazing teacher in politics and economics, but it can also be a great way to learn from some of the best event planners who have ever lived. Take a look at 5 notable event tips from people who knew how to entertain. From Manhattan Socialites who dominated high society newspaper columns, to heads of state, to famous entertainers, our list is filled with unique individuals known for hosting amazing events. So take a second to learn from history’s greats to discover invaluable event planning tips.

1. Brooke Astor

Event Tip: One must always be poised, no matter the circumstances

Wife of millionaire, William Vincent Astor, Mrs. Astor became a fixture of New York City high society. Her numerous parties, philanthropic fundraisers, and luncheons were stuff of legend. To be invited to one of Brooke Astor’s events was to be included in a very exclusive club indeed.

Brooke Astor’s events were so popular and successful not only because she was tied to wealth, it had to do with her incredible ability to remain calm and graceful no matter the situation. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she talked about the need for a host to forget about their problems in order to remain attentive to guests. She said, “Forget disasters; they are part of life. Nothing is meant to be too easy. You must take these incidents in stride—tonight you are [entertaining] friends.”

2. President Franklin Roosevelt

Event Tip: Make your events fun and you shall be rewarded

The only President of the United States to serve three terms in office, President Roosevelt knew a thing or two about hosting incredibly important events. During World War II, he often invited heads of state to the White House to discuss things like world peace, and how to stop the spread of Nazism (ya know, small stuff).

But despite the enormity of what was discussed at these events, President Roosevelt always made sure his guests had a good time. In a biography of his Presidency, Dorris Kerns Goodwin recounts how he and world dignitaries like Winston Churchill would share a few glasses of brandy, and dance around the White House before getting down to brass tax.

So take a page out of President Roosevelt’s book and be sure to create a fun environment for your guests to relax and network with one another. It doesn’t matter if you event is focused on a serious and professional topic like business best practices, fun (and maybe a bit of alcohol) is always welcomed by guests.

3. Consuelo Vanderbilt

Event Tip: Create events with a purpose

Not all Victorian era socialites were just concerned with corsets and high tea. Consuelo Vanderbilt was one of the first high-minded women to champion causes such as labor conditions and women’s rights. She organized meetings and larger events to bring her peers together to discuss the most pressing issues of her time.

Rather than hosting another frivolous get-together, Consuelo Vanderbilt created some of the most talk-about events of her era by making them meaningful. Attendees were expected to come with an opinion and a desire to make things happen. This helped to infuse the Vanderbilt’s events with fantastic energy and optimism.

The next time you host an event, be sure to communicate why exactly your attendees should come, and give them a small assignment to do before they show up to give everyone a sense of purpose on event day.

4. Frank Sinatra

Event Tip: Engaging speakers go a long way

It seems that every celebrity worth mentioning has a notable Frank Sinatra story. From sports anchor, Ahmad Rashad to preeminent oscar nominee, Meryl Streep, most famous people have a story or two to tell about Mr. Sinatra. Sinatra was known to be a gregarious host and regaled his guests with stories of his escapades on the road. Of the galas, and parties celebrities like Streep and Rashad had attended, why is it that Sinatra’s parties stand out in their minds? It’s because Sinatra supplied his guests with an amazing and captivating speaker – himself.

Event professionals should recognize the importance of providing attendees with speakers who are not only informative and qualified, but who are also engaging. For an event speaker to be memorable, they must be able to pull their audience in, away from distractions of work and fellow attendees. It’s key to making sure attendees will remember your event.

5. Jay Gatsby

Event Tip: Create a spectacle and wow your audience

Ok, so maybe Mr. Gatsby is a fictional F. Scott Fitzgerald character. But, wouldn’t you have wanted to attend one of Gatsby’s famous parties? The well-to-do characters in Fitzgerald’s book certainly did, why? It’s because Gatsby always went all out when hosting a party. From beach-side fireworks to endless champagne and impeccable food, Gatsby created a spectacle at his events.

Keep these event planning tips in mind the next time you’re in a position where you must truly entertain attendees. Create a spectacle by using unique lighting and event design in addition to providing attendees with a high-quality experience. Whether that means finding outstandingly good event speakers or making sure that the catering at your event isn’t just good, but excellent, #eventprofs must go above and beyond to truly create a memorable event. Consider partnering with a food or beverage brand that fits your event, they’ll like the exposure and will be sure to put their best foot forward, and your attendees will appreciate top-notch catering.

The five event planning pros we have profiled might not be the typical sort of planner. But we can learn critical event planning tips from each of them. Whether it means being poised, gregarious or sparing no expense, each of the profiled event planners are famous for being fantastic hosts. As a result, they each have at least one critical tip for all event planners to note.

5 TED Talks That Will Teach You Event Design

Designing the an event space that is both functional, and pleasant to look at can be difficult. On the one hand, #eventprofs need to seat all of their attendees, on the other hand, event planners want their spaces to feel unique and sophisticated. If you can relate to this challenge, you’re in luck. Here are five Ted Talks from world leaders in design, the goal being to inspire you to create event spaces that have sophistication and style, while also being functional for your attendees. So take a look at the short and sweet videos below and inject some inspiration into your day!

Designing the an event space that is both functional, and pleasant to look at can be difficult. On the one hand, #eventprofs need to seat all of their attendees, on the other hand, event planners want their spaces to feel unique and sophisticated. If you can relate to this challenge, you’re in luck. Here are five Ted Talks from world leaders in design, the goal being to inspire you to create event spaces that have sophistication and style, while also being functional for your attendees. So take a look at the short and sweet videos below and inject some inspiration into your day!

1. Don Norman: The three ways that good design makes you happy

Don Norman says the great design must have three key elements in making people happy. It must be beautiful, functional and reflective. Norman says that the key to great design is that it must be pleasant, he says that “pleasant things work better.” What does that mean for your next event?

Focus on injecting fun and novelty into your next event. Instead of renting those predictable stacking gold chairs, why not opt for more novel acrylic chairs, for example. Introduce some novelty into your next event as a way of delighting attendees.

2. John Maeda: How art, technology and design inform creative leaders

As president of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda sits at the intersection of technology, design, art, and leadership. He tells his audience that by fusing technology with simple design and novel artistic approaches leaders can become better at managing their responsibilities.

While planning an event, it’s worth considering ways to implementing pieces of technology that incorporate simple design, and novel art to help attendees in leadership roles better network with one another. An example of this might be implementing a photo booth that is capable of uploading photos to Instagram. Attendees will be interested to try a novel piece of technology that presents a perfect ice breaking opportunity.

3. Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

We often think that our best ideas occur to us in a flash. At one point in time, we would have yelled “eureka” out of our window! But Steve Johnson argues that ideas occur in a network. In historic London, they happened in a flourishing coffee house scene, for example.

It is because great ideas are cobbled together from the smaller ideas of people around us, that networking becomes critical to sparking big ideas. Help attendees reach their greatest ideas by creating spaces that encourage collaboration and open communication. So what does that mean for your next event? Create communal work spaces that forces attendees to look at one another rather than allowing them to isolate themselves. Design spaces that give attendees a feeling of safety and comfort so that they will be compelled to network and share with one another.

4. Jinsop Lee: Design for all 5 senses

When creating a fantastic design, looks aren’t everything. This Ted Talk argues that truly memorable design incorporates all 5 sense to create an unforgettable experience for the user.

The automotive company, Nissan, implemented a trade show booth design that released a trademark scent every so often so that visitors receive a complete experience when checking out the automaker’s cars.

When planning your next event, consider designing a space that provides attendees with a great experience across their five sense. Create beautiful banners for guest to look at, use comfortable chairs for guest to luxuriate in, serve delicious food, and maybe take a page from Nissan and make sure that the event space smells great too!

5. The design genius of Charles + Ray Eames

The grandson of the duo behind the famed mid-century modern Eames reclining chair shares his family’s secret to great design – “anticipating the needs of the guest.” The designers of the Eames chair realized the difference between style and design, the Eames chair is known for having a lot of curves, but when it came time for the pair to design a house to solve the problems of modern living, there were no curves incorporated into the design at all.

What’s the takeaway, forget about creating a stylish space, create a space that has good design. An event space that has good design is one that solves the problems of your attendees. So make sure that it allows attendees to relax, network, and learn while also giving them access to things like charging stations, refreshments, and restrooms. If a space is well designed, the style will take care of itself.

These five Ted Talks illustrate various key aspects of the design process and should give event professionals a good start when they think about what the design of their next event space should be.

The most successful designs are ones that are novel, innovative and most of all – solve a problem the user is experiencing. That means it’s critical for event designers to put themselves in the shoes of attendees. Ask yourself, “what will my attendees want and need from this event” and try to create a novel way of helping them to reach their wants and needs. If you stick to that principle, you can’t lose!

Three Steps To Finding, Pitching And Keeping Event Sponsors

The Three Steps To Finding, Pitching And Keeping Event Sponsors

For many event organizers, event sponsors are a major source of revenue that can be the difference between a profitable event and one that is a true money pit. But regardless of your event planning experience, finding, winning and keeping great event sponsors is a poorly understood and time-consuming undertaking.

To help organizers maximize their revenue, we’ve distilled three principles from our eBook, Catching The Big Fish: The Event Sponsorship Guide, that will make securing the right sponsors easier. You can download the whole eBook here.

Step 1: Finding The Right Event Sponsors

Before you begin searching for the perfect sponsor, you’ve got to know what a great sponsor actually looks like. To do that, you must first define the purpose or vision associated with your event.For example, if you’re organizing a tech conference focused on environmental solutions, your event purpose might be “To inspire event attendees about environmental innovation.”

For example, if you’re organizing a tech conference focused on environmental solutions, your event purpose might be “To inspire event attendees about environmental innovation.”If you’re planning a marketing conference your vision might be “Building an ecosystem of digital marketers who have a mastery of online marketing tactics.”

If you’re planning a marketing conference your vision might be “Building an ecosystem of digital marketers who have a mastery of online marketing tactics.”

Once you understand the vision of your event, you should try to find sponsors that share that vision. Tesla or Solarcity would be great sponsors for an environmentally conscious conference, while Hubspot or MailChimp could be a fit for a digital marketing conference that hopes to educate attendees.

Another way of defining this vision is by analyzing the demographic and psychographic makeup of event attendees who have already signed up for the event, or who have attended previous events similar to the one you’re planning.

If for example you’ve noticed senior level sales managers often attend your conference on business strategy, a sponsor like SalesForce would be ideal.

Once you have a clear vision, and/or some data about the your event attendees, you can begin searching for sponsors that fit your ideal sponsor profile.

Read industry publications and look for sponsored content, or ads on these websites. Companies that choose to invest in niche media outlets are likely to be interested in sponsoring your event as well.

Step 2: Pitching A Potential Sponsor

Once you’ve identified a few ideal sponsor companies, it’s time to master the art of cold outreach. Find decision makers in Marketing or PR departments and send them a short email asking if they have a few minutes to talk over the phone. Present a few interesting pieces of data to wet their appetite.

For example, if you want Microsoft to sponsor your innovation conference, let your contact know that 60% of people who attended last year’s event held senior positions in IT departments.

Presenting demographic information like this lets the recipient know that you’ve taken the time to understand their business goals, and that your conference has the potential to provide real value to the company.

After securing time to talk over the phone or in person, it’s critical that you gather any other data that supports your claim that a sponsorship opportunity will serve the company in question.

It’s also advisable to come with a clear promotion plan that demonstrates exactly how you intend to promote the sponsor before, during and after the event.

Step 3: Keeping An Event Sponsor

The most valuable sponsorships are long standing ones. It’s important that you try to maintain a great relationship with sponsors after an event has concluded, after all, you’ll most likely want the company to sponsor future events.

A great way to maintain long lasting sponsorships is by keeping them involved in the event planning process, and presenting them with a post event debrief.

During the event, be sure to come up with a sponsorship promotion plan taking their collaboration into account. Coming with a rough plan and asking for their feedback is a great way to go about this.

After the event, compile key metrics indicating the value your event provided the sponsor. Information about the number of people who visited their profile on your event website, or networking app could be a good start. Also include data about the potential sponsorship reach, and tie that into demographic information of attendees.

Conclusion: Sponsor In Perspective

While event sponsorship may seem like a daunting task, organizers should understand that sponsoring companies receive a great deal of value from live-event partnerships. Events and conferences are a powerful way for companies to get exposure to key decision makers, something that is becoming increasingly difficult to do via other paid sources.

In truth, by following the three steps above, organizers are helping to insure they enter into mutually beneficial relationships that help both parties to achieve their bigger goals. The key to creating these partnerships starts with doing thoughtful research that is supported by your event data, and ends with your ability to nurture long-lasting collaborative relationships.