When people collect and form a community, an amazing transformation takes place that provides event managers with a pretty big choice: deal with the community as a group, as individuals, or as sub-groups.
The Traditional Model
The problem with traditional event models is that generating an idea of ‘the group’ was pretty easy. If you had enough interested people to attend your event based on the sixty-second description you had a pretty good idea of the community.
If you wanted to identify sub-groups with the traditional event model, your choices for identifying members included:
- 1st hand listening and paying attention to conversation
- Getting attendees/prospects to self-identify what sub-groups they are interested in
(registration forms, e-mail surveys, etc.)
- Scheduling content and praying
(build it and they will come mentality)
To identify the specific individual, the traditional model simply looked at what type of ticket they bought and what information they cared to share during registration.
All three stages of the audience funnel took an amazing amount of work to collect, research, and strategize around.
In the trade show social media model, advanced audience analysis and user-generated information is available to streamline the entire process.
The Digital Event Model
Understanding Your Target
and Your Mission
Before tracking down your audience, you first have to identify you basic starting point and your desired destination. For event managers with on-going strategies, some of this work is done already. As a professional, you need to constantly examine trends and decide where your organization is going to do business.
(Two good tools for seeing online trends are Google Insight and Google Trends.)
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and almost every other social network reveal an amazing amount about your audience. If you have a mailing, attendee, or community list there are a variety of tools that can tell you where, when, and how your members are interacting and what topics interest them the most.
[message_box type=”note” icon=”yes”]Important: when considering ‘your audience’ – take a look at like-minded and competitive events online. Groups on Facebook and Linkedin are a treasure trove of insight and attendee potential, while event accounts and #hashtags on Twitter reveal thought-leaders.[/message_box]
The Education Process
It doesn’t make a difference if your event audience is made of non-savvy internet pundits or social media mavens, you need to understand what percentage of your community fits into different sections of the social technology adoption trend.
You need to actively plan around servicing where your audience is today and where they are heading this year (and five years from now.)
It is incredibly important to identify individuals and:
- meet the needs and wants of your general audience (the largest %)
- plan for issues you may have with your late-adopters and critics (the bottom %)
- enable your thought-leaders and industry supporters (the top %)
Each of the three education segments will have a different set of benefits and flaws. They may also have different types of educational and technology needs ranging from 95 (beginner), 101 (foundational), to 401 (Mastery) level.
Creating Your New Media Support Group
We recommend finding the top 1% to 5% portion of your supporters and inviting them into a ‘industry leaders group’ that is enabled with the educational and technological resources. This group needs to consist of supporters with positive attitudes, a willingness to learn, and the character to pick themselves up when they hit a bump in the road.
Large corporations have used this “early adopter” strategy for decades to train employees and industry partners to test good ideas and create business ROI statements for projects that can scale out to the entire community.
[message_box type=”note” icon=”yes”]Shameless Plug: If you are interested in identifying your audience using digital techniques or having an early adopter workshop for your event or association, check out our social media workshops or contact us.[/message_box]