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Why User-Generated Content is Good for Meetings & Events

Imagine that you are a Prince fan. Not just any fan, but a big fan. Now, imagine that Prince is coming to your town for a once-in-a-lifetime concert. Of course, you really, really, really want to go but tickets sell out in 8 minutes. You didn’t get any.

Now, you are riding the bummer train to sadness city.

Does that mean that you wouldn’t think about the Prince concert ever again? Of course not – you would think about it every minute. You would gobble up stories, videos and pictures that are posted about the concert — Like this video.

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Ignite Passionate Fans (or Advocates)

Your meetings and events have passionate fans (or advocates), too. They might not look and behave like Prince fans – but they exist. Many of them are already spreading the word of your greatness – around the water cooler at work, to like-minded friends, etc. Some of them are using Social Media. They are writing blog posts, uploading pictures, making videos, etc. You can’t stop them – they are in a little red corvette and going crazy. You can only hope to harness their energy and ride the wave.

Quench The Thirst of the People at Home

Remember those people in Sadness city? They wanted to come – but couldn’t make it. Your meetings & events have those people too. They are thirsty for the sights, sounds and stories from your event. The sharing of stories, pictures and videos (User-Generated Content) by your passionate advocates helps the people at home connect with the event content, connect with the energy and become part of the experience.

Create Word of Mouth Referrals and Trust

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, conversations with friends and peers are trusted more than the slick-polished corporate stuff. (Duh!) Equally important, conversations with company employees are trusted much more than speeches by the CEO. By encouraging User-Generated Content – you create an unfiltered view of your event that is trust-worthy AND can be viewed as an endorsement of your event. This is a good way to encourage loyalty, retention and attract more participants.

Share a Taste of the Magic

Events are experiences that involve all 5 senses. It is hard to capture the magic of the experience in a press release or recap. By encouraging your passionate fans to share the experience from their point of view – even the raw and uncooked ones – a multi-sensory picture of the event emerges that helps people get the essence or spirit of the event. This picture can be useful to “future” first-time-attendees that are not sure what your event is all about.

Bottom Line

Encouraging your passionate participants to share stories, pictures and videos from your event is a good thing. You engage passionate people that could not attend and help them stay connected with your event and organization. Future-first-time- attendees get referrals from trusted friends and use the multi-sensory picture to get an idea of what your event is all about.

Are you embracing User-Generated Content from your meetings and events? Or are you in the Purple Rain?

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.