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[Interview] Beatrice Whelan (Global Content Manager at Sage) on Social Media and Events

[Interview] Beatrice Whelan (Global Content Manager at Sage) on Social Media and Events

by Joe Edwards F IDM | Director of Global Campaign Development, Sage |
How can social media and the events world work in perfect harmony? I’ve interviewed one of my colleagues Beatrice Whelan who has explored these themes in her book on social for events. Read what she had to say…

Tell me about your career to date?

I’ve been on a long and winding road! I started out with a career in the arts, I think this is where my love of crafting engaging experiences comes from. I then started my marketing career in Google and from there went on to work as a website designer and digital marketer for six years before starting my own business. When running my marketing business I also got involved with Blog Awards Ireland and was a co-organiser of that event for two years. I then started in Sage where I’ve had various social media and content roles. I’m currently Global Content Manager for Social Media & Events at Sage. I’ve worked on social media for several Sage events and Sage sponsorship of events.

Why did you decide to write the book?

A few different reasons. I think that anyone that works in content should also publish. I hadn’t had my own blog for a few years but wanted a bigger challenge so I decided to write a book and create a blog to support the community of readers and of course market the book. I wanted to write a book that would help people like me with their work. I had seen a few good resources on social media for events but not many and I felt there was a gap in the market. I think it is an area that is going to grow as consumer demand for brand experiences grow.

Why do social and events work so well together?

Because people love to share experiences on social media. Events are social in nature, a point that is often missed as people think of them as non-digital, traditional marketing whereas in fact, events lend themselves to digital so well. People go to events really wanting to have an amazing experience and share that experience with their friends on social media so all we have to do is give them something amazing to share!

What are some of the big missed opportunities you've seen with social and events?

Sometimes it’s basic things like poor Wi-Fi or not letting your attendees and speakers know what the hashtag is. Most of the time it’s that people don’t consider social media from the beginning, they plan the event and then try to attach social media to it instead of taking a social-first approach. This makes it much harder to use social media to its full potential at the event.

What are some of the best examples/tactics of social and events coming together?

A few years ago I worked on a small customer event for Sage. We really focused on making sure the attendees had a wow feeling at the event and that they went away from the event with lots of value including a professional headshot for their social media profiles. The response we got on social media was amazing – don’t believe me? We were trending on Twitter. Search for #bizchatirl. We had people tweeting us their appreciation of the headshots, days after the event . The social infrastructure we put in place was minimal – we had a tweet screen and an event hashtag. Everything else was about delighting the attendees and putting tweetable items in place at the event and it translated so well on social.

What are some of the technologies to look out for social and events?

Technologies that use the API of social channels and integrate them with real world objects are very exciting to me. The internet of things is something that is very applicable to events. I also think that augmented reality and gamification is something to watch. Pokemon Go will bring AR mainstream and that is a big opportunity for events.
Other technologies that are very relevant for events are virtual reality, social live video and 360 videos. Any technology that blurs the line between being physically at an event and virtually being there are important, especially for the social media opportunity that these present as they open the event to such a large audience and can be amplified on social media.

If you could give an event manager/planner one tip about social, what would it be?

Turn your event attendees into social promoters. Everyone at your event should be sharing it on social media. It’s up to you to facilitate and encourage this and involve your event attendees in the creation of your social content.

In terms of channels, Facebook is massive for events. Facebook Events work very well to help the virality of an event and there’s more to come from Facebook. You will soon be able to purchase event tickets directly on Facebook!

Want to learn more? Check out our Professional Certificate in Social Media to enhance your social knowledge. 

Find out more about Beatrice Whelan (@beatricewhelan) and her book. If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of her book, then tweet us @theidm using #socialforevents with your best piece of advice for marketers, on social media and events. (*T&C's Apply)

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It was really informative and a great set up. I would defiantly do another course with the IDM

Melanie Nursaw,
National Trust

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