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How to Increase Social Media (and Technology) Adoption at Events

In my opinion, some event organizers are throwing technology at their events in the same way that the zookeeper throws a big chunk of raw meat to the lions. They lob it out there on the floor, stand back and see what happens.

While the lion might jump on that piece of meat without batting an eye, most attendees are not jumping on social media and event technology without a little help.

So, how do you get more attendees to start using these interactive and social technologies? I will start the discussion with some suggestions based on my experience. I hope that you will add your ideas in the comments below.

1. Show Attendees the WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

Most events are packed with activities. If you are going to ask attendees to use (or try) a new technology tool, be sure that they (A) know about it and (B) understand how they will benefit from it. Otherwise, with so much going on, they may overlook the new tool.

2. Show Attendees How To Use the Tech Tools.

Attendees start from different points on the technology learning curve. Some will arrive as power-tweeters, while others will still be struggling with email. Also, they have different learning styles. If you want attendees to use the tools, you need to provide various forms of support. Here are some things that we did at Spotme to help attendees feel comfortable with the new technology:

> Each attendee received a small instruction card that included some of the “how to” basics at registration.

> Provide a short 5 minute “how to” presentation at the beginning of the event. (Many times this included the WIIFM).

> Provide personalized demonstrations of the tools (for those that want it).

> Provide a help desk where attendees can get personalized demonstrations and answers to individual questions. (If you want to be “2010” – call it a genius bar.)

> Provide Just-in-Time instructions as required. This was very effective for voting, speaker Q&A or other tools that were not used in every session.

3. Keep the Tech Tools Simple.

Since events are so short, you only have a few minutes to teach attendees how to use your tech tools and help them become proficient at it. The easier it is for attendees to learn how to use the tools on site – the more they will use it.  When considering different options – look for simple, easy to use interfaces.

4. Consider How Attendees will Participate.

Not all attendees will use the technology equally – even after they know how to use the tools. That’s ok. We don’t all like to do the same things. You can increase your chances of success by learning about your attendee’s social media engagement preferences. Do they like to create content, critique it, etc? The Groundswell’s social technographs profile tool can help you.

Bottom Line

Unlike the lion with a piece of meat, chances are good that most of your attendees will need a little help learning to use the new technology at your events.  Don’t let this discourage you – there are some simple steps that you can take to help them learn to use the tools and have a great event experience.

Ok, your turn. What would you add to this list?

Image Credit: 2minutes

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is the Managing Director of Interactive Meeting Technology, LLC. He wakes up every morning to save the world from stuffing attendees in chairs for hours on end at events. Oh, and he has small children who usually want some breakfast.