In May, GovCamp Toronto organizers were in need of assistance to produce an interactive, and openly collaborative virtual event. GovCamp, which follows the same successful model as ChangeCamp, is a platform designed to ignite dialogue between thought leaders in the community, government, and industry, in a nontraditional conference environment. With Microsoft already on board as a sponsor, they reached out through Twitter to the Streaming Network’s Director of Broadcast Operations, James Deane.
Being avid Twitter users themselves, the event organizers and speakers were interested in utilizing the medium to actively engage virtual attendees as well as physical audience members. The result was an example of how social media can be leveraged in a controlled environment to hold one productive conversation among many. By channeling event dialogue through the 140 character platform, both virtual and physical participants were able to interact in a mutually accessible format, delivering feedback to organizers, and allowing participants to converse on the events of the day in real time.
Key lessons to take away from GovCamp’s event success:
- A truly effective social media event strategy starts the discussion before the event, enables an open exchange of ideas during, and allows for those who participated in person, or virtually, to continue the discussion following the event.
- When looking to integrate social media with your virtual event, knowing your target audience means knowing their social media preference. If the platform isn’t a place they are familiar with, it’s unlikely to be a comfortable environment for them to communicate in.
- Integration of social media into virtual events, or otherwise, cannot work if the event organizers are not committed to the medium! Regardless of platform social media is about having a conversation. If you aren’t actively using the medium you aren’t actively in the conversation.
All in all, it was a great event with a great message and most important, a great discussion!