Almost every event organsier talks about creating an engaged and involved audience. Sadly it rarely happens.
On Thursday I spoke at the Media140, a Social Media Meetup in London. The event was mostly dominated by Social Media agencies and consultants. There was a lively atmosphere, a loud shouty man and most of all, lots of energetic interaction.
I am still trying to work out exactly what the magic formula was. Perhaps because only a hardcore bunch made it through the snow; so they were determined to speak up. Or maybe it was the free drinks that created a positive and friendly Twitter back-channel from the off.
So what can event organisers, searching for elusive interaction, learn from the Media140 event? One factor that definitely made a difference was the style and approach of Guy Stephens (Carphone Warehouse) and Richard Baker (formerly General Manager, Virgin Trains). They kicked things off with an informal open conversation about Social Media. And they brought two key things to the debate:
1. A specific angle, social media for customer service, in which they had clear expertise
2. An openness to debate. Their style was non-lecturing, they didn’t pretend to know all the answers and it was clear they wanted to be challenged and learn from the audience.
Perhaps it’s something about Social Media – we’re all learning together – that makes interaction more likely. But clearly personal style goes a long way. And I suspect it’s especially important to make sure your first speakers have the right tone.
If you’re working in social media in London then I recommend you sign up for the next Media140 Meetup Thanks @andegregson and @KatePickering for organising it and for @Guy1067 and @Richard_Baker for the engaging conversation on Social Media for Customer Service.
Oh and my favourite Social Media takeaway of the event was that Social Media Agencies need organisational change management skills as much as they need marketing, PR or customer service capabilities.
Image courtesy of Iain Weir