Social Media at Events: Who else to interview than NYC based Liz King, one of the ‘Top 25 Most Influential Event Planners in 2013’?
1. Liz, why is social media at events important and how does it help event organizers with their goals?
I would say that social media is important for two reasons. First of all, as event organizers, we often need to fill the events that we plan. Social media is a very powerful and important marketing tool that event organizers can leverage to fill their events faster and with higher quality people. In addition, social media can be used to fill the event with great speakers and sponsors. The power of social media is that it connects us with experts that we may not otherwise be able to connect with. Social media is also very important because event organizers, especially independent planners, need to have a personal brand. Our clients are making their buying decisions based on more than price – they want to know that the event organizers they are hiring are qualified and well respected. Event organizers can leverage social media to share their thought leadership and establish themselves as an expert in the industry. As they make connections with their target market, they will also raise the comfort level between that target market and themselves.
2. What was the most challenging event that you worked on?
I would have to say that the most challenging and meaningful event that we worked on so far has been techsytalk LIVE. We have done some really amazing events for clients, but this event is one that we host ourselves, which adds more meaning and challenge. When you create and design an event from scratch, you find a deeper ability to align the goals of the event with the brand. Since you know your own branch so intimately, you are better able to understand what goals you would like to achieve. In addition, it is more challenging because the pressure is certainly on. When we first dreamed up this event, I think we all felt a lot of pressure to make it really amazing – we were bringing together our contacts for sponsors, speakers, attendees and more. We were testing out a new format in front of all of these connections of ours and we were definitely on the spot. Because of this, I am most proud of this event. We can claim ownership of every success and we also know that we own every mistake. It gives us something to strive for in the future.
3. What does it take to realise a great event job with effective social media use?
I could write a book in response to this question, but I will say that I think there are a few important components. First of all, make sure that your social media fits your audience. Regardless of what social media platform you want to use, you must know that your audience will embrace it. Secondly, it’s all about communication – you must make sure that your attendees know what you are doing and why. Then, you must get them involved in every step of the way. Educate them, encourage their participation and reward them. Finally, make sure that you evaluate the success of your plans based on the goals you originally set out. Social media is a very powerful tool, but it can also be very superfluous. Make sure you set goals and hold yourself accountable to meeting those goals. And, bringing your attendees into the experience from the very beginning will help them experience the win.
4. Where do you get inspired regarding social media & innovative event formats?
Inspiration is everywhere. I get a lot of ideas from attending events and figuring out what I didn’t like. Sometimes, having a bad experience as an attendee allows me to create a better experience as an event organizer for the attendees of my events. Often times, inspiration comes from my colleagues and industry publications. Sometimes, we can find the seed of a good idea and put our own spin on it to make it successful.
5. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
This is a really great question, though admittedly hard to answer. I think one of the biggest mistakes that I have made is finding the balance between great partnerships. I love collaboration and the idea of working with other people. In some ways though, this has backfired on me because either the partnership is not actually effective or perhaps the idea is not great in the end. Sometimes, I get caught up in the idea of working with someone and I don’t take enough time to evaluate the feasibility of the idea itself. And, once collaborating with people in the industry, success is very important. Partnerships are very hard if you can’t achieve the success you are all looking for and I never want to leave industry relationships that way. So, one of my greatest challenges in growing the business has been finding the right people to partner with, on the right projects, at the right time.
Liz King is an event planning superhero by day, and closeted tech geek and introvert by night. Distraught by the thought of everyday civilians being conquered by spreadsheets, she resolved to re-channel her organizational and tech savvy superpowers and launched Liz King Events while still running events full time for Columbia University. Liz voraciously shared content on event best practices via social media and quickly became a thought leader/influencer amongst her peers. Her hopes of being an incognito event superhero went down the drain as her cover was blown once she started making cameos on lits like ‘Successful Meetings list of 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” and ‘Connect Magazine’s list of 40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners in 2011”. Liz now comfortably wears her cape and employs her superpowers to helps entrepreneurs/brands like Claudia Chan and Ramit Sethi plan smart, tech-savvy events to better engage their attendees.
Outside of client events, Liz uses her prowess to educate and challenge her industry peers on how to better integrate technology into live events to create a more winsome audience experience, through auxiliary outlets techsytalk.com and PlannerTech [Founder]. When not saving gotham from the event planning woes, Liz can be found unwinding by learning how to code, brushing up on her Korean, or indulging in Korean cuisine … all in civilian geek attire, of course.
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