Posted by Cognito on Wed, May 23 2012

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The social media opportunity at industry events: EBAday 2012

EBA Presentation 2012

As the Facebook IPO continues to make headlines around the world this week and commentators spill yet more ink across the business pages, speculating on what the next hot social network is likely to be, it’s easy to forget that traditional, face-to-face meetings are still what drives business in our sector.

We were reminded of this by attending EBAday in Edinburgh last week. The exhibition was buzzing with people getting to know each other’s organizations and products, the conference rooms had lively debate on stage bolstered by unscripted contributions from the audience. It was a timely reminder that social media should complement, not replace, real-life interaction.

The EBAday organizers clearly understand this. They didn’t let a Twitter stream distract the audience from the sessions while they were in progress but they did provide screens around the venue from which those not in sessions could follow the online debate if they wanted to.

The editorial team at Finextra reflected this approach with their online coverage by supplementing their stories with an EBAday Twitter stream on the same page. What impressed us most though was the way the team at Finextra then built videos and tweets right into their live coverage.

Screenshot

You can read their coverage in full here and here.

Notice how the tweets they picked out of the steam and used as illustrations for their story are properly embedded. That means that readers can reply to the sender of the tweet or follow them all without leaving the story they're in. It also means that the Twitter account's profile picture is shown prominently. In other words, great free exposure.

What is the takeaway for communications professionals from all this?

In our view, social media isn’t going to replace face-to-face networking but it can be a very powerful tool to amplify your presence at an industry event. We’ve already seen how useful it can be as a networking tool but, as the EBAday experience shows, it now increasingly also allows you to have your voice heard above the din of an industry event.

Those organizations that maintain a professional, value-add and interactive presence on Twitter were better represented at EBAday – on the event’s screens, on its website and in the ensuing coverage – than those that don’t. It’s that simple.

Sooner or later, everyone will realize this. In the meantime, forward-thinking firms have a golden opportunity to distinguish themselves from the crowd. If you would like help getting started, please contact your local Cognito office.

Topics
EBA Day, Event Marketing, Events, Finextra, Social Media, Twitter,
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