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Introducing SocialPoint

You create awesome events for your brand or cause. It’s our job to help you spread that awesomeness in social media.

You probably have a nucleus of social savvy attendees who are blackbelts in mobile phone and social media kung fu. These attendees will tweet, blog, check in and make status updates during your event.  And, you love them for what they do.

What about the Passionate Patties and Thumbless Theos who love your brand or cause but couldn’t tweet their way out of a room? They would start a movement for you in social media if they could.

For these attendees – you need something simple and fun. You need SocialPoint.

The Secret Ingredient

SocialPoint is the secret ingredient to spreading awesomeness.  We make it super-simple for attendees to share big ideas from your event with their friends on Facebook. We give attendees a branded RFID-enabled wristband (or badge). They touch and go at social points around your event. Then, posts appear on their Facebook wall.

Here’s the real magic. When your attendees post on their own Time Line, you increase your social media impact by up to 100x versus posting on your brand’s Facebook page. That’s a huge difference. With those numbers, think about how much you increase the number of likes, shares and comments, too.

Mix It Up

This is a new service that we are offering for events. It’s a great way to mix up your events and expand your social media execution.

Do us a favor check out the website, download the brochure and like us on Facebook.

Creating Mad Event Science

Each year 3M spends over a billion dollars on R&D. One Billion dollars! They have thousands of people working on solutions to new problems, refining existing products and just creating mad science.

Event Camp Twin Cities is an innovation lab for the meetings industry. A tiny one. The event is about sharing ideas and building relationships first and foremost. We generate awareness for new ideas, create new product trials for our partners and showcase thought leaders – or crazy people that want to test new ideas!

We don’t have a billion dollars or a million dollars or a hundred thousand dollars. Event Camp Twin Cities is put together with duct tape, bailing wire, a little inegnuity and a truck load of passion. Our financial and in-kind partners and volunteers are the backbone of this event.

When Ray Hansen and I created this event – our premise was simple. Let’s create a safe space for people to try things that they can’t (or won’t) try in their own events. Let’s find thought leaders that don’t know that they are thought leaders and give them space to share their ideas. Let’s use social media and hybrid technology in ways that most people dream about (or blog about). Let’s get as many people involved as possible. If we can do all of that – hopefully – we will inspire people to go try something that they learned about at our event.

The First Event

In 2010, we showed our attendees Learning Journals, Pecha-Kucha, Business Games, Mass Collaboration, Story Slam, Glenn Thayer’s New General Session Model, alternative seating, etc. Most people had never heard of these concepts. Then, we wrapped the event in a hybrid experience that was unlike anything most people had ever seen. We had 550 people online and they stayed all day.

The event was a wild success. Here are some press articles that do an excellent job of painting a picture of what happened in 2010 and what this event is about:

While all of that press was great and made me feel good, do you know what really got me excited?

It was the blog posts, emails and phone calls from people that said – “we are trying _________  because we learned about it at Event Camp Twin Cities. Thank you.”

The Next Event Camp Twin Cities (August 25-26, 2011)

Event Camp Twin Cities will be special again this year. We are putting together a great program with over 20 content sessions loaded with fresh ideas, strategies and case studies. The event will take place in nine physical sites – all at once and all integrated. Those locations are Minneapolis, Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Toronto, St. Louis, Vancouver, Silicon Valley and two in the headquarters of two corporations. And, we are integrating a series of gaming challenges that are tied directly to the event content.

Never underestimate what a small group of committed people can do with duct tape, bailing wire, a little inegnuity and a truck load of passion. We are creating mad event science at Event Camp Twin Cities. It’s going to be a great event. It’s one that you won’t want to miss.

Reserve a spot for yourself today at

First Impressions: IML Connector

IML Connector from MPI Minnesota April 2011 EventHave you heard about the new IML Connector? It was announced in February 2010 and has been repeatedly delayed in coming to market.

Well, it is almost here.

Last month, IML demonstrated the Connector at an MPI Minnesota chapter meeting. Luckily, I happen to be there.

What is the IML Connector?

The IML Connector is one of these one-size-fits-all super-whiz bangs for meetings and events. The centerpiece is a handheld device with a keyboard. It’s size and shape reminded me of the original Blackberry.

Here are list of things that it can do:

  1. Audience Response Voting
  2. Text to Screen Q&A via keyboard
  3. Microphone queue
  4. Simultaneous interpretation
  5. Portable PA
  6. Multiple Audio Channels
  7. Smart Card capability

I think that’s an impressive list of capabilities. When you consider that most of the other mobile guys are busy creating a more expensive way to show you an agenda on a 3 inch screen that people over 50 can’t read – I give these guys credit for going in a new direction.

Here’s what impressed me

IML demonstration at MPI MN 2011 Event MicrophoneThe microphone on this device is really something else. Attendees were holding it 6-18 inches away from their mouth (see picture above) and it worked perfectly to pick up their voice and project it through the house sound. (Note this demonstration was for 200 people over lunch). I thought this piece was really cool.

Also, I liked how people could text in the comments. Attendees used the keyboard to type in questions. The questions/comments were shown to the panel on a confidence monitor. Then, the panel could answer the questions as they saw fit. This seemed to work really well. After a few questions were answered – more people caught on and started sending in questions.

What I didn’t see

I am really interested in seeing how the multiple audio channels executes. I have some projects where it would be cool to project presentations from multiple rooms in a single lounge. Then, we would want to give the attendees in the lounges these devices to “listen in” on what is happening in the other rooms. I think this would be an awesome application of the technology. We will have to wait and see on this one.

Here’s where they need to continue working

The microphone can give some wicked feedback if used incorrectly. Speakers and the A/V techs in the room will need to be trained on how to “coach attendees” to use these microphones. In our MPI session, it wasn’t until the 3rd person spoke that someone pointed out that they were holding the microphone to close to their mouth.

Is this product really available?

So far there are less than 100 of these devices in the US market. They are all being used for demos. IML is doing it’s first “paid” in May 2011. So, this is probably something to take a look at for late 2011 or 2012.

Bottom Line

While most of the mobile providers are zigging these guys are zagging. I liked how these guys are trying to combine the three most common interactive capabilities (ARS, Q&A, Text Q&A) into a single solution.

Have you seen this device in action? Do we want another device at our events? Or should we be striving to include all of these capabilities in our mobile phones?

Shifting to Digital: the MPI World Education Conference

If your annual education conference attracts only 20% of your members what are you doing for the other 80%? How do you create and deliver education for them? How do you bring your community together?

Meeting Professionals International is making some bold moves in 2011 to tackle some of these challenges. Have a look at what they are doing at their annual world education conference and let me know what you think.

Rolling Out the Hive

The Hive is designed to be the hub of digital buzz for MPI’s 2011 WEC (see sketch above). It’s a physical space in the global village. The Hive combines the cyber cafe, info desk, interview studio, device recharge point, twitter wall, social media aggregator, lounge and a stage (for quick tech lessons) all in one place. The idea is to give attendees multiple ways to connect to the people, content and ideas at WEC. Digital Rookies can connect with Digital Allstars. Groups can hold tweetups. It will be so much more than a cool place to recharge your phone and hangout.

Transforming MPI Website into a Virtual Hub

In another bold move, the MPI website will become a funnel for all social media during the conference. It will aggregate the tweets, photos, videos, blog posts, etc into a single place. In addition, sessions will be streamed live to the MPI website. Some content will be free and others will be available to members only. The rest will be uploaded into MPI’s on demand program. This is a major shift from 2009’s $300 virtual access pass experiment and a good evolution.

Crossing the Pond

The UK chapter (a large european chapter) is working on an initiative to run a parallel event. They will get UK members together and have a viewing party. Some of the sessions from Orlando will be streamed live to the UK chapter’s viewing headquarters. If this comes together – it will be a first for MPI and could open the doors for other viewing pods in other regions with heavy membership around the world.

Bottom Line

If 80% of your members are not attending your annual conference, consider other ways to connect them with the people, ideas and content from your event. Meeting Professionals International is shifting to digital with a multi-pronged approach.

What are you doing?

Social Media in Events: Beyond Facebook & Twitter

Does it seem like every post about social media in events talks about Facebook and Twitter? Do you feel like your creativity is being constrained, because so many people are talking about the same 3-4 solutions?

I do.

In a followup to my last post (Real World Likes – The Next Big Thing in Social Media in Events), I want to show you two fresh examples that will help you open your mind to new possibilities for social media at your events.

New York City Marathon 2010

See how Asics used videos and location based tracking to help family and friends at home cheer on their marathoners. This is really cool stuff. Fans record videos and leave messages for runners. Then as the runners go past a checkpoint, the videos and messages play on large screens.  Read more

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?

Are You Multiplying The Value of Your Meetings?

When you get ready to start planning your next meeting, is your plan to make an incremental change or take a giant leap?

My guess is incremental change. And, I bet you then go look for new ideas that you can include in your event. Right now you might be excited about QR codes, mobile apps. and social media.

I have a question for you.

What would it mean to your organization if you could multiply the value of your meetings and events?

Picture of KFC Ultimate Value Box

Think about that question for a minute.

How would your attendees feel if you sent them home with 3X the educational value for the same cost/effort? How would your leadership teams feel if you could generate 3X the output from annual top management meetings for the same cost/effort? How would your sponsors feel if you could send them home with 3X the qualified leads for the same cost/effort? How would your employees feel if you included them in 3X the important decisions affecting the future of your company?

I bet your stakeholders would be ecstatic, if you delivered a giant leap in meeting performance. And I bet they would throw you a ticker tape parade and put your name in lights.

The Big Question

Here’s the big question: How do you do it? Which part of your meetings need rethinking in order to multiply the value?

This is a tough one. If you talk to 1,000 people, you will get 1,000 different answers.

Some Answers

Maarten Vanneste, author of Meeting Architecture, created a tool called the Meeting Support Matrix that offers a super-simple way to look at what you are doing in your event, identify gaps and make adjustments in your strategy. This 3X3 matrix allows you to look at your event across time and by “core” objective. (Download)

At BizBash’s Rethink Forum, Mary Boone and Flemming Fog talked about starting with objectives and then using group processes with technology to deliver results. They shared several examples. (Learn More)

Bottom Line

Ask yourself these questions: (A) what would it mean to your organization, if you could multiply the value of events? (B) How would you measure it? (C) Where would you invest time and energy in rethinking your meetings? (D) For those of you that are already doing this – what is working and where are you running into challenges?