Chances are, at this moment, your phone is in your pocket, hand, or sitting on your desk close by.
As our everyday dependence on mobile grows, its impact on the way we interact with people and content grows as well. When it comes to events and conferences, the smartphone is one of the biggest industry game-changers. In fact, according to a study by Constant Contact, 81% of small businesses are planning to use mobile technology to market their events in 2013 and 21% of event planners see mobile apps as a top priority investment in 2013. Mobile technology changes the way we network, the way we interact with speakers and presenters, and the way we plan events as a whole.
Nice to E-Meet You
In this Internet age, our virtual connections are having more and more meaning. However, the ease of makingconnections virtually also means that some of our “relationships” are based on clicking a “Request” button, with minimal (if any) true engagement. Social integration on mobile apps can allow attendees to see who is attending their specific event. It also gives them a chance to reach out and develop a connection that will ultimately lead to an in-person meeting.
By nature, events like conferences are filled with people of rich professional backgrounds. Unfortunately, they can also be noisy and full of distractions that interfere with an attendee’s ability to make true, beneficial connections. Mobile apps at events can allow attendees to easily see the profiles of who else is in attendance, as well as the industry they’re in and possible shared interests or connections. Apps that use a social sign-in through networks like LinkedIn help event goers match faces with names and titles, and give them the chance to reach out to those with whom they can form a valuable connection. No need to have your eyes glued to nametags- with networking apps, you can figure out who you need to meet, and then make it happen.
Beyond the Laser Pointer
More efficient networking is not the only benefit mobile can provide at events. A greater amount of interactivity and depth can be achieved between presenters and event-goers as well. Presentations are not something to be passively consumed anymore, but can now be live-tweeted, streamed with sidebars of commentary, and filled with simultaneous mobile engagement. The Digital Age has unlocked information from its physical location, allowing anyone, [almost] anywhere to view and give input about event presentations.
Dedicated event hashtags can be key for allowing event-oriented conversations to occur between present and virtual attendees, alike. Currently, according to a study, 26% of small businesses organizing events plan on using a dedicated hashtag at their event, and that number continues to grow. The beauty of the hashtag is that it’s not completely confined to Twitter, either. Event attendees can use the hashtag with Instagram, Google+, Vine, and most other social networks (Facebook, we’re waiting on you). When attendees actively use the dedicated hashtag on their mobile devices, conversations surrounding the conference can spread easily and provide organizers with valuable feedback about things from the speakers and venue choice to the decision to have pigs in a blanket as hors d’oeuvres.
Mobile Apps and Beyond
As fancy as our tech and marketing strategies have gotten, the most effective way of promoting your event or product still remains surprisingly simple: Word of Mouth. What better way to get your WOM on then with a tool that can turn each and every event attendee into an event promoter?
At Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing World, users of the Bizzabo networking app generated over 1.1 Million social media impressions through the app. Smartphone usage is growing, and more and more event attendees are maintaining a steady presence on social media. So when mobile and social are combined, sparks fly. A few social shares through a smartphone can create great value for event organizers who rely on WOM to increase attendance as well as to create engagement.
Organizers can find further value from mobile that can help the event run smoothly. Constant Contact’s study states that 49% of event organizers plan on using mobile for registration and payments, as well as 25% who plan on providing a mobile-accessible agenda and event information.
Here at Bizzabo, our goal is to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical world, using the ingenuity of a mobile platform to turn digital connections into real handshakes.