Unleash the Lightning Bolt

Share |

Social Driver’s Anthony Shop provided a unique look at how to use social media to elevate the success of future events, but his methodologies could be used for any association initiative.

By Kristy Cole

The adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" was never more apparent than when Anthony Shop, chief strategy officer and co-founder at Social Driver, took the stage at the closing session of this years AM&P Annual Meeting. The big screen showed a photo of the Pope being inaugurated in 2005 in front of a packed room of onlookers. Impressive. But it was no comparison to the photo of the 2013 inauguration photo, which was ablaze with the lights from smartphones and tablets raised in the air to take photos and videos any evidence people could capture of the experience.

I didn't need Shop to explain his point. I got it. Our world has completely changed. The way we consume and share experiences and knowledge has evolved with the technologies that allow us to connect continuously. Professional associations are not immune to being affected by these changes, and we all need to take a serious look at social media strategies.

What's the best (and easiest) thing to do? That's when he told us to unleash the lightning bolt.

Unleash What?
We can't expect to have something as newsworthy as the Popes inauguration as our starting point (well, the NFL might <wink>), but we all have natural energy building around our events, publications, etc. That's where we should start our social media buzz. Get the energy bouncing enough to create a lightning-bolt effect.

Message Control
Shop then dove into ways our messages can be controlled. They can be:

  • Paid time/space purchased on someone elses platform (advertisements)
  • Earned coverage created by others (media/influencer relations)
  • Owned messages within a channel you control (email, intranets, blogs, etc.)
  • Sharedconversations anyone can access and contribute to (social media platforms)

Your goal is to make sure the momentum continues, so revisit each of these message types as your event date (or other initiative launch) approaches.

A Case Study

I neglected to mention the title of this session was "Communicating This Conference.” Shop and his team ran the social media efforts for this year’s AM&P Annual Meeting and EXCEL Awards Gala, and the results were in.

For the AM&P Annual Meeting, social media was used to:

  • Drive attendance. There was record attendance at this year’s EXCEL Awards Gala.
  • Develop intimate relationships. People had been engaged with social media leading up to the event, so they were able to put faces with names and hit the ground running.
  • Amplify the organization’s reach. AM&P reached over 50,000 new users by giving people a window into what they were missing.
  • Redefine success. There was a new focus on how to gain permission to be part of someone else’s posts.

Harness the Energy

Think about your next upcoming event. How many people will attend or exhibit? You already have that number of people engaged, so why not harness that energy and build momentum with social media? The more energy molecules you release, the higher the chance you’ll see lightning with new and better informed users.

Anthony Shop presented a unique look at how to use social media to elevate the success of future events, but I think his methodologies could be used for any upcoming initiative. Sticking around for the last session of the day was well worth it. I definitely left with some sparks to ignite my own thinking.

Fun fact: The AMP14 Twitter hashtag had about 300 uses. With this year’s amplified social media efforts, the AMP15 hashtag had more than 2,000 uses.

Cool new technology: One of the conference attendees was using Meerkat to stream a live, high-quality video of this session from her phone. When you start recording, a link appears on Twitter that allows people to watch the stream in close to real-time. I haven’t tried it (yet), but I think we’ll be seeing more of this technology in the future.

Kristy Cole is a communications specialist at the International Legal Technology Association. Association Media & Publishing warmly thanks her for covering this Annual Meeting session for the members who were unable to attend.

Filed Under:  SideBar  
Tagged With: