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The 2012 List: 10 Event Professionals Worth Knowing on Social Media

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012


The 2012 List of 10 Event Professionals
who are pros at social media and their jobs in the events industry

It’s almost been a year since we came up with the list of 10 Event Professionals Worth Knowing on Social Media. In 2011, it proved popular in search results, LinkedIn discussions and on Twitter for industry professionals, including those who were looking for a resource of people to follow. While social media has been an open door that constantly introduces us to a plethora of talented people in the meetings and events industry, we decided to only choose 10 again for our 2012 edition. So, if you’re new to social media or you are interested in finding publications and people who are new to you, this list is intended to help you.

These individuals blog with a purpose, tweet to engage, collaborate with others and show enthusiasm for the industry. We find them to be admirable in the events world and extremely note-worthy on social channels for their insight. These are professionals who made the list for 2012 (again, in no particular order):

  1. @eventsforgood (Lindsey Rosenthal) - Her wealth of knowledge about the fundraising, event planning and non-profit world is abundant. Lindsey is “in the know” about everything and is willing to generously share it all through her social channels. Reading through her tweets five minutes a day will enlighten you and probably make you laugh. She’s the perfect mix of professional and personal; it’s really a mystery to us why she didn’t make our list last year.
  2. @ehenderson (Elizabeth Henderson) – This tech-savvy innovator is usually tweeting sustainability, education and technology for events. She’s also great at connecting people and finding ways for you to get involved in the industry.
  3. @PMPI1 (MPI Potomac) - Tweets from the DC chapter of MPI are constantly flowing with relevant and all-encompassing news of the industry. PMPI doesn’t leave anyone out in their tweets and always finds appropriate articles that seem like they’re hot off the press. Even if you don’t live near DC, you’ll be on your toes to find out their next juicy industry tweet.
  4. @pimplomat (Jason Hensel) – As the writer and editor for MPI’s One+ and PlusPoint, Jason’s work on PlusPoint is different. In fact, readers who visit the blog will see that the all of the topics on PlusPoint are ones that aren’t overplayed by the industry. PlusPoint’s team chooses to write about unique industry changes, videos and industry news that hasn’t been blasted over social networks. The best part is all the articles are short and to the point, great for quick reading.
  5. @meetingsfocus (Meetings Focus) – Their claim to fame is being the destination experts, but their articles reveal much more.  From negotiation strategies to team-building, this publication houses it all. Their topics are moving enough to make people want to comment, which seems to be more rare in 2012.
  6. @PlannerWire (Keith Johnston) - Keith covers topics that makes others in the industry ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?” His website, PlannerWire.net shows readers that he goes the extra mile to put effort into his topics. Forget the stock photo, Keith would rather take the extra step to take a photo and upload it to his computer to show his readers, rather than simply try to tell his audience. What also makes his blog a winner is his short fun posts to help industry professionals escape the daily grind with corky analogies, personal thoughts, and posts like “7 World Cams to Get you Out of the Office”.
  7. @mcmagtweet (M+C magazine) – @Mcmagtweet is the official Twitter account for M+C Magazine, also known as Meetings & Conventions. Catch their Hot Idea of the Day which guides planners on eccentric ideas we might not have normally thought about for the industry, creative decor and fascinating gadgets for the geek in us.
  8. @jeffhurt (Jeff Hurt) – He made the 2011 list, but we can’t help it. If you’ve stopped by his blog, JeffHurtBlog.com there’s a new post at least five times a week. Jeff is talented at taking real situations for associations and conferences and breaking them down to a problem and resolution. Once you start visiting his blog, you’ll find yourself always retweeting a few.
  9. @tahiracreates (Tahira Endean) - Tahira is full of great ideas (and they’re sustainable, too!). Tahira’s blog, Events, Life and Impact Points features opinion posts on recent industry events and sometimes including a personal story. Some of her deeper posts find parallels between meetings and life lessons like kid karate and event planning.
  10. @lizkingevents (Liz King) – From her own blog to other industry websites, Liz is a go-to source for knowledge on planning a social media integrated event.The queen of hosting “new idea” meet-ups and integrating social media into events, Liz King tweets to empower you and better your events with social media.

Who should we add for our 2013 list?

“Meet me at NCC” Tuesday Trivia

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder

Won’t you meet me at NCC? Beginning next week, we have trivia reservations and hope you’ll meet us there. On Tuesdays at 2 PM EST, we’ll ask you a question on our Facebook fanpage about meetings, events, NCC, Loudoun County (DC’s Wine Country) and anything else that we think YOU’LL have an interest in answering. So, we ask the question, you give an answer. One lucky winner is chosen by us for an amenity! The use of the Internet, books, outside experts, or other resources is highly encouraged.

We hope you’ll join in the fun.

“Meet me at NCC” trivia is every Tuesday at 2 PM EST at www.facebook.com/nccmeet.

Why Didn’t I Think of That? Twoppy Event App

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Conference organizers want to do big social media wow-factors for their events in 2012. They’re either taking on the full-load themselves, delegating it out to their steering committee, hiring outside companies or asking the destination’s CVB to help drive the car. When they’re not tweeting, posting updates, uploading photos, starting LinkedIn discussions and adding updates to the event website, you can almost bet that the person handling the event’s digital strategy is working with mobile app developers through a strenuous process to “get it right.”

Except for Twoppy, a website where you can easily plug-in all the information and create the event app as you go through the planning process.

Planners who spent weeks exchanging emails with a mobile app company in the past may be asking themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?” What planners will appreciate the most about the company is that they put the attendees as their priority first and foremost. Most other event apps have tiered price levels that hinder the attendees’ mobile experience. Planners admire Twoppy because their mission is to provide an app that benefits the attendees and doesn’t fall-short based on a planner’s budget. Organizers who prefer one-on-one help – no fear, customer service is not an area Twoppy lacks in either.

Besides an easy content management platform where you can plug-in the practical information like venue information, driving directions, ticket information and other essential items, planners can add interactive maps of the city and pin locations. For conferences like SXSW with an endless number speakers, performers and presenters, Twoppy has enough storage for it all. Program items like session titles, locations and even speakers’ photos can all be uploaded. Partners and sponsors also find their own place within the app. Since it’s free to design a Twoppy mobile event app, there is tiered-pricing but even in the first tier, the most basic (free) app provides attendees with a fully loaded package. In the second tier, the opportunity to brand the event with a customized dashboard is the first upgrade with a reasonable price (see the Twoppy website). Depending on the amount of technical feedback a planner is seeking such as analytics, the sky is the limit and the higher tiered packages are most likely more suitable for larger events. Twoppy’s gained popularity in the US and Europe is shaking the mobile event  market. Their popular use at well-known events like TEDx Amsterdam deems planners to ask why didn’t I think of that?

Twoppy; Twoppy.com, info@twoppy.com, +31 33 434 0350

Pinterest to Plan Your Next Event (with Definitions)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

As natural-born communicators, when trying to explain ideas that we’re envisioning we can do several things to portray a concept. Without being stereotypical, women for example will tear pages out of a magazine to show her stylist the hairdo she wants or send her friends several emails with links to place-settings that match her taste. Men on the other hand, might try to explain their idea without visuals or with a YouTube video they found. You may be tickled to know a new website helps make events easier to organize and share ideas. Pinterest, the new website that allows users to share their tastes was named by Time Magazine, “50 Best Websites of 2011.” Event planners are using it to show off their past work. While, clients who plan bigger events like galas are using it to portray concepts they appreciate.

To join Pinterest, you’ll need an e-invite by someone who is already a member. I first recommend brainstorming your mission in setting up an account, who your target audience will be and map-out your end-goal in establishing yourself on this social network. No one wants to join another social network they can’t keep up with, so if you think Pinterest may fit your clientele then make it your New Years Resolution to not let the site drop off your agenda half-way through the year.

Words to understand before implementing it with clients and events:

  • Board – It’s a virtual corkboard. For every “board” a user creates, it should categorize different interests. A client may have boards titled: Event themes we like, Neat audio-visual concepts, Creative centerpieces or Banquet Food Ideas.
  • Pin It - When a user wants to add a idea or photo to their board, they simply pin it virtually. Users can browse the boards of others and pin anything he or she finds inspiring. Users can also add a Pin It to their internet browser toolbar to easily pin things as they randomly come across ideas he or she likes.

With this new way to show event concepts and story-tell, you’ll also increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and possibly boost your business. Our blog post tomorrow will explain 5 Ways to Use Pinterest With a Client, how to meet them on the same page and build a strong loyal relationship. Planners, have you joined Pinterest yet? What are your thoughts? Have you clients jumped on board?

Foursquare Lists for Meetings and Conferences

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Photo Credit: AndroidHeadlines.com

Being green and tech-savvy almost goes hand-in-hand for a planner. Planners don’t necessarily have to be tech-savvy to begin with but by being green, they have already become tech-savvy in the eyes of the attendees. For instance, you can create foursquare lists of restaurants and things to see and do near the venue as an easy guide for your attendees. It’ll replace brochures, time creating PDFs and much more. We’ve listed a few tips to help you get started:

  • Create a foursquare account and search around the site to better understand it’s functionality. If you don’t want to use the account to personally check in places, that’s okay. You’re creating a tool for your attendees so they have a better experience.
  • Work with the conference planner on site if you aren’t familiar with the area. Find out the top 5 best restaurants near the venue, top 5 sites to see, a few places to shop and if you want to go that extra mile find out about nearby golf, religious sanctions, and salons and spas.
  • Create a list on Foursquare of these places and discover the best tips from your conference planner or reviews online, i.e. “Place is crowded after 7:00 PM Thursday – Saturday, but a great spot for a quick bite to eat. Delicious Greek salad and Hawaiian pizza.” Your goal is to find and share the places people love around the venue to make decisions like dining out easier for your attendee.
  • Get creative and build a scavenger hunt for team-building exercises. Divide your group into teams and set them free with a Foursquare list. Each item on the list should be worth different points and have a different task. For example in Loudoun, “Stop by Lightfoot Restaurant and take a photo with a bartender and one of the old bank vaults,” or “Visit Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park and tweet a photo of your team members role-playing the Civil War battle here.”

A great guide on creating lists can be found on Foursquare’s blog. Not only will you be finding and sharing the places that people love near your meeting venue, you’ll also be promoting tourism in the area. If you’ve created Foursquare lists for past events, how did your group use it? Would you add anything to this list? If so, what should it be?

 

Spicy Ideas: PlannerTech in DC

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Event Farm, the first presenter of PlannerTech DC held at Town Danceboutique.

For events industry people who like to stay on top of trends like a shopping addict with sales, meet PlannerTech. It’s an evening showcasing the newest technology for events. It’s debut by Liz King Events started in New York City and made it’s way to Washington, D.C. last week. Sponsors of the event are given a few minutes with their prepared slides to quickly discuss their event technology and what differentiates them, thus making your life easier as a planner.

It’s only a guess that the experience at PlannerTech in NYC and DC were each different, with a diverse collection of sponsors and speakers. D.C’s PlannerTech can be described as a “planners’ networking event f8 style meets pecha kucha, gaming and food trucks.” At Town Danceboutique, our seats were lined up like a comedy club while sponsors presented their brain-child made into technology. Tools ranged from seating chart apps to online communities for events and self-service apps. To see the full-list of presents, visit Liz King Event’s summary of PlannerTech DC presenters.

PROS: If you never quite have the time to wait in the atrocious line for D.C. food trucks during your lunch hour, I commend the advisory board of PlannerTech for thinking outside the box when it came to the venue location, the concept of the event itself and the food. Food trucks were parked outside for participants to sample foods from vendors like Big Cheese (for the grilled cheese lovers) and Juice Revolution (healthy fresh squeezed juices), just to name a few.

PlannerTech had not only presenters lined up with innovative tech tools, but there was entertainment as well. Josh Norris, a D.C. based magician performed and entertained between speakers. Opportunities to network were plentiful at PlannerTech, also known on Twitter as #PlanTech. The hashtag enabled registrants to see and “follow” who would be attending to connect with them before PlannerTech and during the actual event. An intermission gave people a window to network. The presentation showcase ended around 8, leaving almost 2 hours to mingle, meet new professionals, eat and connect with sponsors/presenters.

CONS: Too much great content can’t really be a con. If you aren’t familiar with some of the presenters in the line-up before going, I strongly suggest the notepad app or paper and pen because some of the technology is very similar. Like most information that is fed to you in an hour span, it’s easy to only remember the beginning and end of the presentations, while losing the message from the presenters in between. It wasn’t overwhelming, but I wouldn’t take a test on who did what afterwards – instead focus on your top 5 and try to connect with them after the presentations.

Stay tuned to see if Liz King Events will bring PlannerTech back to DC in 2012!

Why you should work with your Meeting DMO & CVB

Friday, November 25th, 2011

When you’re a meeting planner, you want to do something BIG for your meetings but sometimes you don’t have the time or resources to execute a social media strategy to engage your attendees. Social media has the ability to bring your attendees together for event networking or be an interactive host. How so? At the Social Media Symposium for Tourism, a session on “Social Destinations Create Social Meetings” by Sparkloft Media demonstrated examples of how destination marketing organizations (DMO) or CVBs could act as a resource for meeting planners. Here are some tips discussed in the session for working with your meeting DMO and CVB:

  • Google Maps – you shouldn’t have to spend time or energy on creating interactive maps for your attendees when your energy would be well-spend in other areas. Talk to the DMO or CVB for your area to create a unique Google Maps for your group of the area with hotels you’ll be using for your meeting, restaurants, special meeting spots, landmarks, attractions or even hiking and walking trails. Afterall, they know the area!
  • Help! desk via social media  – at a conference, you’re already busy running around so it can be difficult to answer questions on Twitter or Facebook from your attendees. Today, many attendees (not just Gen Y) would rather tweet a question or Google it rather than going to ask physically ask someone for help. Talk to the DMO or CVB of where your meeting is being held to work out a special package for your conference. The package can consist of their associates on social media in shifts answering questions of your attendees whether it’s directions, hours of operations or recommendations.
  • Don’t try to teach yourself HTML & graphic design – it’s not worth your time and energy to try and reinvent the wheel. Your DMO or CVB most likely has a graphic designer and web developer in-house and would love for you to use them as a resource. Ask them to create necessities for your meeting such as a Facebook fan page for your meeting where attendees and speakers can interact pre, during or post conference. Have them create a hashtag for your conference, this is also how they’ll be able to answer attendees questions on Twitter and oversee the conference.

To read more about the session, check out the Dave Serino blog from the SoMeT conference. One great example of a CVB working with meeting planners was an article featured in Meetings Focus, Phoenix CVB Uses Twitter Hashtags to Entertain, Inform Meeting Attendees.

How do these tips resonate or concern you for your next meeting? If you’re a planner, what other ways have you used CVBs or DMOs as a resource for your events?

 

Making On-Site Registration FUN!

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011


You want to make your registration bigger and capitalize on new technology, but maybe don’t know how to approach it. Attendees walk up to a table with 2 organizers sitting there who request their name and provide them with a name badge and write a check-mark on their registration list. Make your on-site registration fun and more interactive for your attendees in 4 creative ways similar to how Think! Social Media has done for the Social Media Tourism Symposium in Tunica, MS:

  1. Registration ribbons – You’re probably familiar with the typical ribbons that adhere to the name badges and lanyards – ones like SPONSOR, PLANNER, EXHIBITOR. It points out the “most important” people at the session, but conferences wouldn’t exist with out attendees so why not help them feel just as important? Customized badge ribbons like “OCD,” “Worship Me,” and “Officially Somebody” make registration fun and give your attendees the ability to show their personality.
  2. Retire business cards – Are your attendees over business cards with the ability to bump phones for information or connect on social media? The organizers of the Social Media Tourism Conference made swapping business information easier for the attendees. Each attendee had their own personal QR code on his or her badge. Attendees were able to swap information by scanning other attendees’ QR codes with their smartphones for a virtual business card with contact information like name, company, work phone, website and Twitter name.
  3. Skip the traditional speaker bios - If your conference doesn’t have an app or perhaps you want to provide double-information, a sheet full of QR codes for each speaker makes for a great solution to saving paper while adding an innovative concept. Just scan the QR code and be instantly connected to the virtual business card of a speaker. Rather than traditional speakers who arrive to speak and dart off to their next booking, speakers today are arriving when the attendees do and departing when they do too. It creates a warm, personal factor to your event which is why people come back the next year. The ability to scan a QR code and instantly connect your attendees to the speakers is a great surprise in something they probably weren’t expecting.
  4. Contribute & scribe for sessions – Attendees enjoy making a conference their own and having a say in the ultimate outcome of a conference. At the Social Media Tourism Symposium, each peer session had GoogleDocs for attendees to share their take-aways. It makes the conference personal, so how do attendees keep track of where all the GoogleDocs are located? QR Codes! On the agenda given at registration, each session had it’s own QR code linking to the GoogleDocs where attendees could contribute their notes.

What other ways have you made on-site registration FUN? Are there concepts like match-making or keywords on name badges that help make your events successful?

Conference Apps: Know What Should Be Included In Yours

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

When is the right time to create an app for your event? The answer is before your attendees become overwhelmed by a folder filled with the agenda, speaker bios, and local information. At Event Camp East Coast, a2z Inc was an event sponsor and created an app for the attendees. The platform was easy to use and demonstrated the potential the app had for planners who were planning other conferences.

Full Conference Schedule – Before arriving at the venue, attendees were able to download the EventCamp app and view where registration was located as well as when and where the first session would begin. For someone who wanted to arrive right at the end of registration, it was a sigh of relief to already know the room number. The schedule function meant one less hand-out which can be overwhelming between pre-conference e-mails and other packets. It also included scheduled times for rest and relaxation and refreshment breaks.

Speakers – This is where you could list your speakers alphabetically with their background and expertise. Whether it’s apps or on audience polling technology, speakers’ biographies are more well-received by an attendee who can read the information on a device while listening to the speaker – a multitasking culture in true form.

Local Info – Want to tell your attendees about the property or the mission of the conference? Provide them with important information, event maps, and other details in this section.

Twitter – Why not keep it within your app? Keep your attendees’ attention by placing a Twitter tool within the app, click on the Twitter button and it will open to display tweets that contain your event’s hashtag.

Buzz – This was my favorite concept from the Event Camp East Coast app by a2z. News, changes and any comments could be posted by attendees.  Greg Ruby, a meeting planner who attended the conference shared buzz like “Axe Throwing – The first break this morning is being reduced from 15 to 5 minutes to allow us to watch axe throwing at 10:30 in front of the main building.”

Other tools a2z included in the Event Camp app: my planner, to organize exhibitors and sessions that are of interest; and event info, which explains the conference itself.  Although Event Camp unconferences are usually made up of small audiences around 20 – 50 people, the app was still resourceful and also demonstrated its capabilities for other events. With such a small group, it’s easier to communicate amongst each other rather than posting on the app or following Tweets. However, for conferences that are larger, I recommend an app similar to the one a2z designed in order to communicate with attendees and create a warmer event. Congratulations to a2z for a well-design app that effortlessly sold itself to the Event Camp attendees.

 

How Meeting Planners Benefit from the iPhone iOS5 update and iPhone 4S

Friday, October 21st, 2011

What’s your technology obsession? As an apple lover and tech-savvy sales manager, Carolyn Bradford at The National Conference Center shares with us some ways the iPhone iOS5 update and iPhone 4S are perfect tools for planners living the fast-paced busy life of multitasking. You may recognize Carolyn from our ever-popular January post, How iPads Make a Difference in Meetings and Conferences where she provided advice on the way she uses her iPad on site tours to help planners.

iPhone 5 Updatea downloaded update for any iPhone since the 3GS, with 200 new features.

REMINDERS FEATURE

“Reminders is a built-in app on the phone, it’s the new way for to-dos,” according to Carolyn “and, it’s perfect for planners.” Planners can create to-do lists and it becomes part of the notification center; rather than trying to remember to open an app for your running laundry list, you can pull down the top of the main screen for the weather, stocks and running reminders such as calling your contact to add a break-out room and scheduling your transportation. Carolyn uses her to-do list feature to make sure she covers all the planners’ hot buttons in their follow-up conversation for planning purposes.

iCLOUD

This is every tech-lover’s heaven – the ability to sync all your apple products together. Let’s say you have your running to-do list on your phone and you leave your iPhone at home, but you happen to have you iPad – start where you left off on the iPhone. Rather than having two to-do lists on two devices, your to-do list from your phone will automatically be synced on your iPad; thus, making it easier for you to check things off and add to it.

NEWSTAND

The iOS5 newsstand makes your subscriptions easier and overall means less material for you to lug around. Organize your magazine and newspaper subscriptions in newsstand; all your new subscriptions go straight to the newsstand. Carolyn who helps plan religious retreats at the conference center gives us the example, “Let’s say you were a planner subscribed to Rejuvenate Meetings magazine. Your monthly issue would show up on the newsstand each month and when the next month’s issue is out the cover of the magazine changes on the newsstand.”

MAIL

Carolyn explains the iPhone iOS5 update is making it easier for you to conduct business from your phone. New mail features include the ability to bold, italicize, or underline fonts. Users can also flag important messages to follow-up or just save. It’s also easier to use your Gmail account with the new update.

AIRPLAY MIRRORING

“This is great for presentations,” Carolyn explains. Share what’s on your iPad or iPhone via an Apple TV with an entire room. They’ll get to see everything you see on your iPad easily and if you rotate from vertical to landscape or zoom-in, the Apple TV screen presentation also displays these changes as well.

TWITTER

The #eventprofs community on Twitter will find most satisfaction in new Twitter capabilities on the iOS 5 update. You can tweet directly from Safari, photos, maps, and YouTube. You can mention friends and check-in to locations without any other apps in use. All come in handy for planners wanting to share something with their Twitter following, especially maps if they’re multitasking and need to quickly share.

iPhone 4S  - a newly released phone claimed to be “the best iPhone yet.”

SIRI

Imagine a personal assistant who has the answer and solution to all of your needs. You may need to watch the video on Apple’s website to fully understand her capabilities, but Siri will do everything from telling you if you need to pack a light jacket to giving you the specs for a venue upon your request. Siri reads texts, responds for you, checks your calendar and even sees if there’s a conflict. Tell her what you’re in the mood to have for dinner and she’ll list nearby restaurants with the cuisine, provide directions and read reviews to you. Carolyn foresees this as being the most popular feature for a planner who is juggling so much and helps he or she relax a little.

INTERNATIONAL USE

International meeting? Don’t let other phones stop you from staying in touch. The iPhone 4S is being considered the “world phone” for travelers who wish to use it internationally. iPhone 4S users will be able to purchase Micro SIM overseas, allowing them the ability to talk and access data for local fees rather than the usual cost of roaming.

CAMERA FEATURE

The camera feature is easier to use on the iPhone 4S. Without unlocking your phone, planners can take photos from the main screen – essentially site tours will much easier! You can edit, crop and print right from the phone, still without unlocking the phone. The camera piels are also higher making the photos better quality. On site tours,  in addition to virtually drawing on the floorplan on her iPad, Carolyn photographs the rooms she visits with planners.

If you’re a planner, how are you using the iPhone iOS5 update or iPhone 4S in your job? What’s the biggest difference? Are you more efficient with tech capabilities such as Siri?