Social Media

Make Your Meeting More Shareable in Social Spaces

More of your attendees are using image-centric social tools like Instagram and Snapchat. Here are some ideas for what your association can do to make your convention more shareable in the world of social.

You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, it seems more applicable today than ever, as the number of people using photo-, video-, and image-centric social tools like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest continues to grow. For example, the latest stats show that 300 million active Instagram users post more than 70 million photos per day and like 2.5 billion posts daily.

Work with your meeting venue or CVB to come up with a list of the top-five selfie-friendly spots.”

With those big numbers, it’s safe to say that a fair number of your meeting attendees are active in those spaces. Beyond your association having a presence in these tools (something we’ve written about in the past on, how can your association create unique and visually shareable opportunities at its events that make attendees want to spread the word (or, in this case, share an image or short video)?

Moments that matter. One way to get attendees to share images from your meetings and events is to “stage” shareable moments. Consider two types of pics that people are more likely to post than others: selfies and images of what they’re eating and drinking. How can your association take advantage of that?

For the latter, you could consider someone like Michael Breach, a Brooklyn-based coffee artist. According to a recent BizBash article, companies hire him to create pictures in latte foam. He can “whip up” anything from logos to attendee portraits. These lattes become works of art that your attendees will want to share with their followers.

As far as selfies go, you can setup a “selfie station” for attendees, complete with props, and ask them to share the snapshots using a special hashtag. The International Literacy Association had a station at its 2015 Annual Conference. One hotel in Athens, Greece, even has a marked “selfie spot” that ensures the Acropolis will be in the background. Maybe you can work with your meeting venue or CVB to come up with a list of the top-five “selfie-friendly spots” and share it with your attendees. Then encourage them to use your meeting’s hashtag when they take snapshots at those locations.

Competitive edge. If you want attendees to start promoting your conferences in social spaces, why not offer incentives to do so? That’s exactly what the California Association of Nurse Practitioners did with its 38th Annual Educational Conference back in March. Ahead of the meeting, CANP launched a selfie contest, asking people to share why they were proud to be nurse practitioners using the hashtag #CANP38th. With more than 3,100 votes cast on the 35 entries, the contest helped create buzz around the conference and encouraged people to register. The prizes offered probably made people more eager to participate: The first-place winner took home a $500 gift card, the runner-up received a two-night stay at the conference hotel, and third place got a free registration to the conference.

Snapchat, an app that let contacts send pictures, videos, and texts to one another that disappear within a certain time, could be another good place for associations to explore for contests around their meetings. For example, an association could present a short video or picture clue on the app, such as an undisclosed location in the convention center. The first person to get to the location could be rewarded with a prize—perhaps a gift card to the association’s bookstore or a discount to next year’s meeting. GrubHub’s Snapchat scavenger hunt or the Association of Surfing Professionals Snapchat strategy are two good examples to check out for inspiration.

If you’re still not convinced that online videos are the way to go for your group, consider VidCon, which kicked off in the Anaheim, California, just the other day. The conference for online video makers, founded in 2010, has grown 1,200 percent in five years and now has 20,000 attendees—many of them fans of the online video stars who present and speak at the event.

How has your association tried to make its events and conventions more shareable in social? Let me know in the comments.

(Jason Howie/Thinkstock)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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