One thing that we can't deny: Social Media is inescapable and is having a big impact on live events.
Over the past 10 years, we have become a society of shares, likes, tweets, retweets, favourites and hashtags for anything and everything under the sun. Social media has changed the way we talk, it has changed the way we communicate and it has changed the way we engage and interact with our audience.
Social media has become a key part of the events industry, providing a universal stream of digital involvement for delegates to share their experience, connect with other attendees, address key-note speakers and most importantly, engage with the programme.
Presenters may argue it has gone too far and has become a distraction, and even off putting, with delegates often staring at their devices. But with millennials supposedly mastering “second screen behaviours” we shouldn’t be surprised this trend has followed in live events.
By utilising social media effectively, event organisers are capable of creating a stream of engagement prior to, during, and even long after the event is over.
Social Media Walls are becoming a regular request here at PSP. We’ve trialled and tested numerous pieces of software and our current favourite is Everwall. Everwall is customisable, easy to use, easy to brand and feeds in key social streams such as Twitter and Instagram, as well as the team communication platform Slack. Another great feature, is Everwall Direct, which creates a direct link from sources such as photobooths or photographers, bypassing an actual social media stream for speed and ease. Customised real time announcements can also be displayed, and in includes an excellent moderator function.
From our stock inventory, we regularly use our range of 42” - 95” Samsung LED screens, or for more bespoke sized social walls or to create a social wall with greater impact, we use our modular DigiLED panels, to create vast digital canvasses.
This growing trend does put pressure on venues to ensure that their Wi-Fi is reliable, up to speed and can cater for the numbers. It’s certainly a big revenue stream for venues and can also be one of the biggest frustrations when it doesn’t work properly, particularity with the high price tag for “premium Wi-Fi packages". We will often involve a specialist event IT company to manage this onsite, and install dedicated, monitored networks to ensure it is seamless. It is worth remembering that microwave links / internet trucks can often be a more cost effective and reliable way of getting super-fast Wi-Fi.
But does social media defy the meaning of ‘face to face’ engagement? Is it eliminating the transient nature of events? Is it becoming a distraction or does social media provide an intelligent and engaging platform which provides audiences with a greater level of interaction?
One thing is for certain, the housekeeping slides of old, asking delegates to “switch your mobiles off” now seem like a distant memory!
We think that social media is here to stay – encourage it, integrate it and embrace it.