Mobile and Social – Why It Matters to Events

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Imagine if you are running an event for more than 3 years, and with the same core theme. What would be your key challenges? Is it to get exhibitors and sponsors or getting enough attendees to fill the seats? Or probably both since these are elements that are inter-dependent in a typical event.

Event organizers would need to go back to the drawing board and consider 2 key elements that matters to both groups – Engagement + Value (EV)
In defining Engagement,  what is probably the number one item that interacts most with an attendee? The answer is – Mobile!

According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there were 6 billion mobile subscriptions in the world. That is equivalent to 87% of the world’s population owning a mobile phone.  Out of this, total smartphone shipments were 491.4 million units in 2011, a growth of 61.3% from 2010 (Source: IDC), and this number is expected to continue to grow at double-digit level for the foreseeable future.

So how would mobile increase engagement? Mobile could help the event organizers achieve the following:

  • Increase amount of interaction time with attendees via mobile
    As mobile is probably the number one item that an attendee interacts with, it makes more sense to have the key information on an Event App than printed copies.
  • Pre-event research for Attendees
    Before an attendee reaches the event venue, he would have done the necessary research, either on web or mobile. Having a mobile app facilitates the ease of search and helps the attendee be more productive by identifying the booths and tracks that he wants to visit.
  • Providing up to date information
    Content on mobile could be updated real-time and seamlessly as compared to print, where the lead-time to print means no last minute content changes allowed. So often, event information are changed (e.g. venue of tracks, change of speakers) and real-time push notifications on mobile helps keep the attendees updated.
  • Go Green
    Be a good corporate citizen and eliminate the need for printing by having your event guide on mobile. Agenda, speakers, track information and exhibitor profile could easily be featured on an Event Mobile Guide.

When organizers and Attendees look for Value – Besides content, what is the one of the top reason that attracts attendees to events? Here the answer is – Networking!

A lot of times, we attend events to get to know who’s who in the industry, engage in conversations and exchanges with industry leaders and know technological updates from the industry. Similarly, exhibitors would like to engage the attendees in conversations relevant to their products and often, face-to-face is the only option.

Marrying mobile and social would be key to bring value to both attendees and exhibitors. Enabling social networking on mobile via a closed-network within the event means that attendees can engage thought leaders and subject matter experts, as well as fellow attendees while exhibitors can engage attendees in mobile chat sessions, deepening that engagement. Appointments are then set up, bringing the engagement to the next higher level.  Business matchmaking on the go has evolved beyond web, to mobile.  With content being able to be tweeted or shared real-time with the integration of social widgets into the mobile app, event content gets viral and extends the content coverage beyond the physical attendees.

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So with the combination of the event app and business matchmaking functionality on mobile, the event organizer is effectively deepening the engagement between attendees and exhibitors, and bringing value to both audiences. With mobile getting more social and social getting more mobile, the two elements are key to the EV of an event.

Original Article Provided by  Global Sign In Pte Ltd for MICExchange.com

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