I was fortunate enough to attend the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit as a representative of Weaving Influence last week. Seventy-five thousand people in the United States, and roughly 100,000 people around the world, experienced the conference through its innovative satellite campus structure. It is globally recognized for excellence. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a giant like the #wcagls was wildly successful from a social media standpoint.
So many steps were taken to ensure that social sharing was seamless and simple for attendees. It was clear that much thought, planning, and strategy were put into making tools available to those of us who wanted to use them.
As a social junkie, I was particularly excited. I had done my preparation work prior to arriving. I gathered all of the speaker’s twitter handles in a “note” on my phone to easily copy & paste into tweets. I followed the summit on Facebook & Instagram so I wouldn’t have to waste battery searching. And, just in case, I even brought the back up battery and charger! I was prepared for an all out social media blitz. Little did I know the Global Leadership Summit’s digital team was prepared too.
Here are 4 ways they made social simple:
1. Thinking Ahead: The digital team didn’t wait for the conference to make themselves known. Long before the doors were open or the first speaker stepped up to the microphone, the summit was building its social media presence. The website prominently featured all of the conference’s social accounts. Plus their various channels had some content being shared prior to the event to build excitement. This enabled the digital team to capitalize on the community they had already built when the event arrived.
2. No Guessing: Each attendee was provided with a summit notebook as they entered the auditorium on Thursday morning. Along with the normal, expected and vitally necessary programming notes, there was some other vital information included. Each speaker’s twitter handle was displayed directly under his or her picture along with a few biography bullet points that are perfect for blog posts/articles. There was not one, but two hashtags for the conference – #wcagls and #wcaglsQ. The second allowed attendees to ask questions. As social sharers, we weren’t expected to guess. Information was conveniently provided for us.
3. More Ways Than One: If paper and pen aren’t your speed, even better. The Summit App put all the vital information right in the palm of your hand. It was a brilliant tool. In the “schedule” section under each speaker, attendees had a chance to take notes that could be shared via SMS or twitter. The speaker’s most recent tweets were also streamed there for easy access. Resources (books, DVDs, etc.) could be purchased with tap of a finger and one could even register for next year’s conference. (Apparently several people did because the main floor is already sold out for 2014!) In the “experience” section, attendees could access notes on each speaker’s session, take polls, follow #wcagls’ Twitter or Instagram feed, and even connect with other attendees at their host site. I’ll say it again, what a great tool!
4. Content Suggestions: The digital team also helped by creating and presenting content that made sharing on social media easy. As attendees walked around campus, video screens scrolled quotes from the speakers. On their Facebook page and Instagram feed, pictures of various speakers with memorable quotes were produced in real time to encourage distribution. The team really made social seamless and simple.
If I could propose one area for improvement next year, I might suggest making WIFI available. Using 4G did deplete my battery pretty quickly and had I wanted to use my laptop instead of my phone I would have been out of luck. But, there were ample spots to recharge during breaks. So in the end it wasn’t an enormous hindrance, but perhaps it’s a way to spoil us next year!
From a social media junkie standpoint, the Global Leadership Summit was a dream. The digital team put together world-class resources and made my experience a delight.
Have you been to an event that got social right? What impressed you the most?