When you plan an event for an audience of Millennials (those roughly 18 to 33 years old), you should keep in mind that they are technologically savvy, right? Wrong, says a new report from FreemanXP, the boutique experience marketing agency within the larger Freeman organization. You should keep in mind that Millennials are technology dependent. Doing that, FreemanXP’s paper states, means creating meetings that are “technology-enabled, seamless, easy to connect to, available, and shareable.”
So how exactly does a meeting professional create an event with shareability in mind? We connected with FreemanXP Senior Vice President Alison Smith Jenks to find out.
First up is to think about your “third audience,” she says. Didn’t you know you had one? Your first audience, obviously, is your live crowd. And if you’re already in the practice of extending your meeting’s reach, you’ve got a second, virtual, audience as well.
The third audience is the “viral” audience—the people who will be touched by your conference content when members of the first two audiences share it.
“Live events are one of the best ways to create shareable content that expands the message to reach new audiences,” Jenks says. “Not only will meeting planners create an ‘I should have been there’ feeling that will drive attendance in future years, but they will deliver better .” Jenks cited a recent CMO Council study on business-to-business marketing in which 28 percent of respondents said they share content with more than 100 colleagues. But what do they share? The content seen as most trustworthy is that delivered through professional communities or industry associations—the content at your meetings.
But it doesn’t just happen. Following are a dozen tips from Jenks about the type of content most likely to be shared and the conditions you need to orchestrate to make sharing simple and seamless.
12 Tips for Share-worthiness
1. Think from your audience’s POV: What will they find interesting? What will help them prove the value of their industry, or their position?
2. Entertain. Infographics, photos, and (appropriate) humor have great pass-along value.
3. Feel good. What will make the world better? Emotional content spreads because it moves people. Find a way to make your content connect on a deeper level.
4. Plan your meeting with the idea that all content (with the exception of content at proprietary meetings) will be shared.
5. Loop in your presenters. Get their key insights ahead of time so you can “lock and load” content that’s ready to go in real time.
6. Remember that real-time marketing only works if your audience can connect. Work diligently with your venue to ensure Wi-Fi is accessible and bandwidth is sufficient. Consider (sponsored!) charging stations to keep attendees powered up throughout the meeting.
7. Lead the way. Sharing will be (and should be) organic, but you need to be the guide. Start promoting hashtags and social channels at your event Web site and in your online registration process. On site, brand all event signage with the hashtags and channels.
8. Talk back. Hear what your audience is saying and participate in conversations. Deliver social value back to them by retweeting or sharing their content.
9. Make it easy. All content should have a one-click sharing option. Don’t rely on the audience to cut and paste. Videos and photos should be small enough to load quickly. Remember that more people will be sharing from their phones. Make sure your content is easy to view and pass along on small screens.
10. Provide a benefit. A wall on site will visually reinforce sharing. Use your own brand to give shout-outs to key players. Everyone likes to be recognized.
11. Think short format. Your multi-tasking audience needs a key point to share, not a novel.
12. Think trending topics. Help attendees and their followers be first to break the news.
FreemanXP offers a range of marketing solutions from strategy and creative services through event/production management and measurement. Download the company’s insights paper “Event Marketing to Millennials: Are You Ready?” for more ideas about planning events and experiences for the next generation of meeting attendees.