For event planners and marketers looking to use social media for their internal events, here are seven key areas of consideration:
1. Pick the Right Platform
Many social media platforms offer privacy settings, but not all of them may have the features you want. Selecting the right social platform all comes back to what you want to accomplish at your event. For leadership meetings, collaboration, discussion and sharing valuable content are typically key priorities, along with top-notch security features, of course.
Private social media platforms come in three general flavors: off-the-shelf, public-private, and app-based. For example, platforms like IBM Connections, Jive, Yammer, and MightyBell are all off-the-shelf tools that can be set up as an internal, company-wide platforms employees can use internally and at events.
Facebook Groups and, to an extent, the new Workplace by Facebook, provide a public-private option that offers a private business variation within the larger network, but sits within a public universe. Desktop and mobile apps, especially event-oriented apps, often have the social component built in and in most cases can be customized to map back to your specific objectives for the event.
2. Give Them a Reason to Use it
Whatever platform you choose, you want to get people excited about using it before they get to the event. If it’s an app, provide an incentive for downloading it before the show. Use it during registration and have staffers show attendees how it works. Offer a list of pre-event “to-dos” and exclusive bits of content to get attendees using the platform early. You can create ways to spark some conversations and community discussion before they even get to event.
3. Pre-Populate the Discussions
Within your social platform, set up groups, sub groups, topics or session-based discussions that give attendees an easy entry point for engagement. This helps spark more valuable conversations for all as they have the confidence of the prompt and inclusivity of the meeting to know nobody will be quoting them out in the larger world. Create that safe space.
4. Engage with Influencers
Set up a group of people who are going to be discussion seeders, perhaps part of your marketing group who can figure out how to get the conversations going. Or engage some of your more social-savvy attendees to be guest contributors. You want it to feel natural and help people see the opportunities for discussion, meeting each other and being part of the thought leadership.
5. Name Names
Hey, it’s a private meeting so no reason to keep the contacts off limits. Offering an attendee contact list enables attendees to set up meetings and make plans—which is the whole point of a next gen leadership meeting anyway. The social media use becomes more than just chatter. It has a purpose. There’s more valuable conversation and more connection as a result.
6. Drive Engagement During the Meeting
Bring your social platform to life at the meeting with interactive tie-ins like live polling during presentations. It shows attendees there is immediate value to using the platform, and gives event organizers and presenters real-time feedback on the value and impact of the content.
7. Before they Leave, Repeat
The social platform, and the content and connections that are shared upon it, should not get shelved once the event ends. To prevent this from happening, make sure that–before your teams leave the meeting–you have repeated the recommendations above.
The attendees need to be given a reason to keep using the platform and should already see pre-populated content for post-meeting engagement. The influencers should be empowered with post-event activities and you should keep recognizing (naming names) of the people who are driving the most meaning, value, and outcomes as a result of your now thriving social-driven global internal-only community.