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Real World Likes – the Next Big Thing for Social Media in Events

What happens if I think that the ice sculpture and chocolate fountain at your event are off the hook? How do I tell my facebook friends and my twitter buddies?

I have to pull out my phone, take a picture, enter a short message and upload it. I miss valuable networking time at your event – plus my iphone will probably autocorrect what I type into some gibberish.

In my opinion, the greatest challenge to spreading the use of social media at events is getting people to express themselves digitally without having to use a laptop or handheld device.

What would happen if you could give people a simple way to “like” something in the real world without having to use a laptop or mobile device?

Here are three videos of how events are using RFID and Social Media to allow attendees to express themselves digitally.

Coca-Cola and the Like Machine

Liking Renault at the NLRAI Autoshow

Rock Concert in Belgium

Why is this the next big thing?

There are four reasons why I think this technology will be the next big thing for social media in events.

(1) Ease of Use for Attendees – It is so simple to swipe a wristband or badge against a touchpoint that automatically updates your status. You take the technology complexity out of the experience.

(2) Awareness – If your brand or event is new and lacking widspread awareness, this is the perfect way to tap into the Digital word of mouth power of social media.

(3) Data – You get data about what people like at your event.  Plus, you can collect data on what was shared with others and clicked on. When you combine this data with other landing page, registration for newsletters, etc. data to see how it contributed to driving people into your marketing funnel.

(4) Widespread application – This technology will work for the galas, weddings, conferences, tradeshows, national sales meetings, association conferences, parties, etc.

Bottom Line

In my opinion, allowing people to express themselves digitally without the need for a device is the next evolution in the integration of social media in events.

Now you know where I stand. What do you think?  What’s the next big thing for social media in events – if this isn’t it?

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sam:

    This kind of stuff gives me goose bumps. How did you come across this? Are you tied into some secret network that I don’t know about? I completely agree with you that this could be the next big thing and a rather obvious way to connect with the next generations of event attendees–it could be the missing link of engagement for them. Thanks so much. This is pure gold.

    April 20, 2011
  2. Ditto what Michelle said. I read about the Coke event somewhere or other and about smacked myself upside the head–why wouldn’t we migrate what we find cool online to the real world? I so hope this catches on because I want to play with it!

    April 20, 2011
  3. Hi Michelle and Sue,

    Thank you for your nice compliments. I have a secret decoder ring that I use. I got it when I last stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

    Seriously though…Sue, this will catch on. The next evolution is to actually use our mobile phone to do this. Once that happens, we will be able to use the technology for payment processing and a whole bunch of other things. Some of the new mobile phones already have the NFC technology in them. However, we are still in the “wild west” stage and it will take 5-10 years (or more) before the billions of mobile phones around the world are upgraded to support NFC.

    April 21, 2011
  4. Thanks Sam!

    I have shared this now with a few of our clients and the feedback has been very positive. You’ve hit the mark with this story!


    Darryl Nielsen
    Toronto Congress Centre
    MPI Toronto Chapter

    April 21, 2011
  5. Hi Darryl,

    Awesome news! Thanks for reading my blog and sharing this post with your clients. Tell John H. that I said hello.

    April 22, 2011
  6. asegar2 #

    Sam, I think this technology is interesting, but I am skeptical of how useful it will be until the tech we are using to “swipe” is ubiquitous and affordable. It’s like only offering online evaluations at events; we all want it, but wonder about missing the attendees w/o an internet-connected device.

    A bracelet/badge implementation can obviously cover every attendee, but what about the cost, as presumably you have to pay anew for the tech that’s swiped at each event.

    Unless the bracelet/badge implementation becomes affordable, I think that the NFC tech, once widely implemented, is the way that this approach will finally become popular.

    One last point. There may be a danger that the ease of use of this technology trivializes the data you receive from it. How valuable is clicking on a FaceBook “Like” button these days?

    These are off-the-cuff thoughts; I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts (especially yours Sam, this is your field.)

    April 22, 2011
    • Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to post your thoughts.

      Your concerns about cost are fair. Costs for this technology have been coming down for years. They costs will continue to come down. As costs go down – adoption will go up. It happens with all technologies.

      Let’s talk about value: What is worth to your company to have a “fan” of your brand, company or cause – point out the cool things that you are doing to their digital buddies? Well, if your digital buddies were to click on a link on the landing page, signup for a newsletter and/or purchase a product – it would be worth a lot to that brand.

      April 22, 2011
  7. Nick Caston #

    Good write up, Sam!

    This is mind-blowing and my thoughts went quickly from thinking about this type of application in an event-centric to an entire shift in the way we can use social media.

    Do you think that groups (or all of us someday) will have their own personal re-usable RFID cards (built into a phone/device perhaps) that will be used anywhere and everywhere?


    April 22, 2011
    • Hi Nick,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I do think we will have a personal RFID card tied to our phone, driver’s license or a credit card/debit card.

      > Students in some universities are already using this type of technology to pay for things. I think Starbucks and others are experimenting with this as a form of payment as well.

      > Android and Nokia already have started putting a limited capability version of the NFC in some new phone models.

      > The London Tube uses NFC (Oyster cards) so riders can pay for their fares and get access to the tube, etc.

      > Google places is experimenting with RFID in Portland (I think) instead of QR codes. They are putting the chip on the paper.

      This is coming. The next five years are going to be very interesting.

      April 22, 2011
  8. It’s all very exciting!
    Check out what we are just rolling out in the U.S.
    This interactive RFID badge actually talks to every other badge during the conference – and lights in specific colors when there’s a perfect match – and it’s a very cool icebreaker – We call it Radar Networking!
    take a look at the video

    Russell Brumfield
    Wizard Studios Global Events

    April 24, 2011
    • Thanks for your comment, Russell. I wish you the best of luck with Badge to Match USA. I saw Badge to Match in Europe years ago. It reminds me of a blinking cowbell.

      April 25, 2011
  9. Onno Bos #

    Hi Sam,

    Blinking cowbells… 🙂

    You saw the demo of Badge2Match at EIBTM years ago. In practice the interactive badges ensure that you meet the right people at events. Like the cowbells ensure that you can find the cows, the badges ensure that you find the right contacts. In addition they ensure more interaction and fun at events.

    Good article by the way.

    Best regards
    Onno Bos

    May 27, 2011
  10. Though I love the technology, I couldn’t help but think that the user interface was poor, at least for the Renault video.

    Case in point, did anyone notice that in the “Liking Renault at the NLRAI Autoshow” clip, the kiosks were so low that users had to bend over to see their tiny Facebook profile on the little screen?

    I’m wondering … why wouldn’t have Renault built the kiosk screens at eye-level height with larger screens? Were they set up firstly for use by those using a wheelchair? I’m perplexed.

    As someone who is almost 6′ tall, I don’t think I wouldn’t have bothered interacting, despite the “cool” factor.

    October 31, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Bringing our favorite social media aspects to real life | Face2Face
  2. Social Media in Events: Beyond Facebook & Twitter « Interactive Meeting Technology

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