Holy Twitter bird, Batman! I knew I'd seen a lot of #ICCAWorld tweets flying by in early Novemberaround the ICCA Congress in Antalya, Turkey, but I didn't realize just how tweety a bunch they were until I got read this post showing that not only did more than half (70 percent) of ICCA participants tweet before, during, and after the show, but that the majority of those who did said it made for a better experience. Almost 75 percent said it helped them network more with other members. And after the fact, there was a whole lot of retweeting going on.
So how did ICCA organizers get so many people to post thoughts to their meeting's hashtag? Here are some of my top takeaways from what they had to say:
• They started out by educating them, according to ICCA Communication Strategist Mathijs Vleeming, who wrote the post. "We spelled out what we wanted delegates to do with the hashtags and how to make the most of the online conversation.” Specifically, they told attendees how to use Twitter to basically take notes and share their key takeaways with friends and colleagues. They got their speakers and staff involved in spreading the word—er, tweet—and they worked with consultant Gerrit Heijkoop to ringlead the whole Twitter circus. They even had ICCA scholarship students serve as ambassadors to help those who weren't quite sure what to make of the whole Twitter push.
• They used their regular community hashtag instead of a special one for the conference, something they had done in years past (#ICCA13, for example). "As stated in an interview with Ian Whiteling’s Meeting the World: 'Everybody knows it is 2014…'” Plus it's just easier to remember, and chances are no one else has hijacked it. And they promoted it on all their pre-con materials, from the Web site to PowerPoint templates to their meeting app. They created two other hashtags too: #RoadtoAntalya, which people were told to use to share pics, tips, and thoughts as they got ready to head to the show; and #SelfICCA for the inevitable selfies.
• They made the tweeting really visible with live Twitter feed walls on site and a similar box on the Web site, and rewarded top tweeters with a recognition board. And they made it easy to find things to tweet about, with many of the slides include gotta-share quotes and quick-to-snap-and-tweet infographics.
• When most of the tweeting was done, organizers also collected them into a Storify post to make sharing easier. Sixty-two percent of the #ICCAWorld Twitter action was retweets, which suggests that other people found the attendees' key takeaways to be pretty key too. Since ICCA's social media goals included helping members interact and connect better, and showing others who couldn't make it what they were missing, I'd say they hit those dead on.
There's more (a lot more) in Vleeming's post, so if Twitter is an important part of your meeting's social strategy, it's a great read. And I love that he asks if they can take the credit for the results, or if they just got lucky! I'm voting for the former though—a lot of thought went into it.
How important is social media sharing to the strategic goals of your meetings and events? Do you concentrate on one network, as ICCA did, or try to get people talking on LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram, etc., as well? Will meetings continue to be increasingly socially networked, or do you think we may end up getting more of a slow meeting backlash?