https://beisdigital.blog.gov.uk/2013/11/20/digital-for-events-and-visits/

Digital for events and visits

We have a cracking team of people here at BIS who do all sorts of good things using social media as part of their day job, which usually involves arranging visits, events and staff outreach.

Take a look at Tomorrow's Engineers and the tweet below, to see what I'm talking about.

Between us we are starting to learn about what works, what doesn't and what is useful.

Here's a quick checklist of how stakeholder/ outreach / visits teams can use digital:

Listen

For example, ahead of an event or visit.

1. Find out if attendees/hosts/guests are online. A quick Twitter search will do. See if they are already talking about the event and add them to a list for easy reference. (20 to 40 mins)

2. Search Twitter using words or phrases that are related to the event, and find out if there is already an established hashtag that you could follow. For example, if the event is about agriculture, you could use #agrichat. (20 to 40 mins)

3. Listen to what participants are saying on their blogs or websites by subscribing to an RSS feed or setting up a Twitter dashboard in advance. A quick glance will give you a snapshot of comments before, during and after. (25 mins)

Share

For example, if we are supporting research published by a stakeholder or partner.

4. Take a look at relevant stakeholder and media websites, and work out what type of content they are lacking, or alternatively, content they are very keen on. If an organisation or media outlet is mad keen on video, let's think about offering to create one, or helping them to do so. If they love blogging, let's see how we can help them write one. The video on driverless cars, part of the auto strategy, is a good example. (20 mins to research)

5. Ahead of an event or publication, make sure key people receive a digital cheat sheet: a list of easy links to relevant content, hashtags or contact details. You can use this example. These simple steps will often encourage people to send a quick tweet, share a photo, or promote a link to our website, for example. (20 mins to complete)

Engage

For example, connecting online with people who were not able to attend an event in person, or if space is limited.

Running an online conversation while also keeping an offline event running smoothly might be a bit ambitious. However, its always worth following up on opportunities afterwards.

6. Build your personal professional network by connecting with the people you are speaking to, using your LinkedIn profile. (1 minute per contact, ad hoc)

7. Look at your dashboards (see 3, above) to see if anyone has fed back on their experience. (5 mins)

8. Send an online follow-up or thank you to those attendees who are online - use LinkedIn, Twitter or the comments field on their blog, for example. It may sound trivial, but you're helping to build relations with people who prefer to use the web, and will probably respect you a little more for using their preferred channel. Using digital tools like this is also an important part of civil service reform. (15 mins - depending on how many people you were in touch with!)

9. Get feedback: ask invitees to leave a comment on a Google form like this one. All your feedback is neatly collated. (10 mins to set up)

Don't forget about those clever tools that help you to organise events and delegates too:

- Eventbrite (for issuing tickets)
- Doodle (for choosing a date)
- Google calendars (for sharing lots of dates)
- Meetup (a bit like Eventbrite)

Let me know what you think of these ideas, and we can keep adding and changing these as we go.

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3 comments

  1. James Coltham

    An excellent post - lots of great tips and I like how you've said how long each task will take - a key message being "not very long"!

    I'm a big fan of making digital coverage a big part of an event itself by displaying the tweets to delegates - I blogged some suggestions for how to do that here: http://www.prettysimple.co.uk/blog/index.php/2012/12/sharing-the-love-how-to-display-tweets-at-events/

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  2. Hazel

    Hi Tim,

    I still think people underestimate the power of Twitter at events. I always make sure that I promote my Twitter handle on my stand, and also use the event's hashtag with all my tweets about the event.

    Thanks for the tips, great article.

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