Having event industry influencers onboard and interviewing them about their lives, their contribution, the hardships and the challenges they faced are of immense educational value. For the newbies in the event industry, who are just starting out their career; these influencer’s stories can be a valuable lesson to them.
People undertake various event management and training courses, as well as the specialization as a CMP, CMM and so on to master the science of various aspects of the event planning and management.
Miguel Neves is a social strategist for event professionals who hold a Master’s Degree in Conference and Events Management from the University of Westminster. He is also a Certified Meeting Professional i.e. CMP and Digital Event Strategist. Miguel is a part of MPI as an IBOD member and also has worked with IMEX for over 7 years. His huge plate of work experience in the events industry has been an interesting one. Let’s see how.
Here are a few questions that we had an opportunity to ask one of the best Event Influencers of the Industry.
1. Your work experience is commendable. Working with IMEX, MPI and now helping event professionals through miguelseven.com, what has been the biggest learning curve in reaching where you are?
My biggest learning curve has been becoming proficient at both selling and executing a product/service. Everyone sells what the organization does, even if they do not work in sales, especially as you get to more senior roles. It is always a challenge to understand how to deliver the best product/service and equally how to market it and sell it.
2. What is the salt in the recipe for digital engagement success?
The “salt” is the social side. One of my mentors says, “be interested, not interesting”. This is the perfect way to think about how we engage face-to-face and online. The more curious we are about people in our community, the better connections we create. We should not neglect to talk about ourselves, but it’s best to do that if or when some asks. These conversations are the “salt”, without them you just have bland, self-serving communication.
3. What are the current trends in social media in terms of driving engagement at live events?
There are many trends, and they change depending on the industry sector or the type of event. I’d say the most important one is that social media users are shying away from public discussions and increasingly using private groups or one-to-one messages to communicate with each other. I believe this is due to a lack of trust in social media platforms because of the Cambridge Analytica and other data privacy issues.
This means that there may be thousands of discussions and images shared at any event, yet the organizer has no visibility of this and no way to measure this. One of the key roles of the event organizer continues to be to create content that people want to share, they just have to be aware that people may prefer to share this privately.
4. What are your go-to social media channels for attendee engagement?
It really depends on where the community around an event is strongest. Twitter is still a great channel for attendee engagement because it is public, content is always short and it allows for people to gather around a common hashtag.
If an event can gather users into a group on Facebook or even a messaging group on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, then this can create a very dynamic place for discussion and users can focus on helping each other get the best out of an event.
5. What are your go-to event technology tools?
When it comes to event technology I try to keep things as streamlined as possible. I like tools like Slido for example. It’s an audience response web-based tool so there is no app to download, it is simple to use and it does one thing really well. It enables large rooms of people to ask questions, comment and ultimately crowdsource content.
I am also a fan of integrated products like Hublio that offer various features in a modular way and keep all the user data in one place. This is a big challenge for events if using various pieces of technology that may integrate to some level but may not offer a full view of the event from a data perspective. Using lots of pieces of technology often results in worse user experience with multiple logins and sources of emails or notifications.
6. What are your thoughts on leveraging user-generating content for event marketing?
I am a big fan. The extra work you have to put into leverage user-generated content can pay off. You give someone else a voice, they will appreciate it and your community gets to have a different perspective. I think it is a win-win.
7. What is the most effective form of content for attendee engagement?
There is no magic formula. It’s all about good quality content that offers value to the attendee. If it’s about creating engagement, then the important thing is to ask questions. Get feedback from the attendees.
It can be something as simple as what color they prefer for a prop, what stands is nicest or what food they opted for. If it is a content focused event, then ask questions about the content, and be open to suggestions. Everyone likes being asked for their opinion, we just have to be open to the responses.
8. One essential tip that you would like to give our event professionals working on a digital strategy for event engagement?
Be social on social media. It sounds simple but it’s not. When we represent an event or a company we usually default to advertising mode and just talk about ourselves. This is not social and it’s not how we like to use social media as humans.
We need to find a way to stay on brand, so we can talk about what we believe and what we want to achieve, and do this in a social way, adapted to how our community uses each channel. That is the best way I know to connect with the community and take advantage of digital communication.