How Every Conference Must Use Live Video in 2017

For most of us in the digital marketing space, 2015 was the year mobile live streaming broke onto the scene, and 2016 was the year live streaming became social video and lived video marketing game-changing weapons.

You can’t scroll your Facebook feed or Twitter feed today without coming across a Facebook live stream or periscope broadcast from users or brands around the world.  I have done over 1700 live streams since March of 2015 including working with brands and live events such as SXSW, CES, Applebees, IBM, Dell, HP, SAP and the 2016 Superbowl.img_6409

Beyond being a live streamer myself, I’ve executed and designed 20+ social video projects in 2016 alone.  As a live streaming strategist and professional speaker, it’s no secret that event professionals and conference organizers are slow to embrace new technologies let alone social media and the digital community.  But who is to blame them as their big business for decades has been selling tickets and monetizing the offline community, networking events and transformational experiences only available for those who attend the event in person.  Ticket prices keep going up, sponsor packages are increasing, and over the last ten years, we’ve seen the massive explosion and growth of events such as SXSW, CES, Web Summit and Dreamforce.  But there is a massive problem facing the event organizers and brands that host these amazing elaborate offline experiences.

Offline Events Must Be Online 365

Timg_2744oday’s digital natives don’t separate offline experiences from online experiences, and on top of that, they don’t believe in having a work-life balance rather it’s just about living in the moment focused on the experiences they can enable or create.

Yes, the Twitter event #Hashtag has been a staple for events over the last couple years, but it’s been a very disconnected experience as most users create a twitter account to tweet at the event then don’t engage with that event or for many they stop using Twitter until the following year’s events.  This disconnected digital connection, experience and community between events, its sponsors and its attendees is no longer acceptable.  

Social Media Examiner Weekly Show Streamed to Facebook Live
Social Media Examiner Weekly Show Streamed to Facebook Live

The big three events in Marketing, Content Marketing World, Inbound and Social Media Marketing World have each done a better job than other industries in creating online societies for attendees to engage year round strengthening that relationship between the event and the attendees. But this mindset is still focused on two different experiences: offline while the event is happening then online during the rest of the year.  

Social Video Is the Offline Digital Event Gamechanger:

I would never claim that event professionals don’t already have enough going on throughout the year, let alone during the event.  Between keeping the sponsors happy, creating new innovative reasons for attendees to keep coming back year after year, paying for speakers that provide value to the audience while also being a big enough draw for sponsors and partners to put up their money.  But I believe social video can help event professionals with all of these tasks as well as solve that pesky issue with wanting to sell a digital ticket and connect with the digital community year round. But for event professionals, this means you have to tell the live attendees not to live stream or take videos and post them on social.  I took on that role at Social Media Marketing World 2016 in San Diego as I worked with Mike Stelzner and his team at Social Media Examiner to educate the attendees on the ways they can use live video at the event without streaming the keynotes that the digital attendees were paying money to consume.  

My Think Like A Fan strategy is perfect for this type of content, and Mike allowed me 15 mins on the main stage to talk to the attendees during the opening keynote.

In 2017 asking attendees not to live stream can’t be the only answer.  Here are five ways I believe event professionals can leverage live streaming and social video to amplify their community rather than asking a favor of them.

5 Ways Events Can Leverage Social Video For Offline Eventsjass8009

  1. Production quality live streaming access for paid digital attendees only. (Stream directly to a private Facebook group or event page)
  2. Social video account takeovers by speakers, event team and attendees year round.
  3. Pre & post event affiliate offers for attendees, speakers and influencers to promote, evangelize the event experience
  4. Social Video influencer collaboration and event influencer campaigns
  5. Sponsorship of live video shows and/or creation of weekly year round shows broadcasted on the events pages.

I know for many they were expecting a list of tools or for me to answer the popular question of “Facebook live vs. periscope.”  For the clients, I work with we start with defining their goals and what success looks like then assess where their audience is today and where their future attendees will be tomorrow before deciding on which tool is best for them.

The tools we’ve leverage for these methods have included: Facebook Live, Facebook Groups & Events, Periscope, Twitter Video, Twitter GoLive, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Busker, YouNow, Twitch, YouTube Live,,, 360 videos and in 2017 virtual reality and augmented reality.

Yes some events are attempting to stream to Facebook live or allow some random celebrity access to their snapchat account from the event, but these tools are only of real value for event professionals and event sponsors if they are leveraged with a strategic understanding of the tools and technology linked with a year-round investment in their digital community.

The fundamental mind shift required for live video success is, perfection and control aren’t the focus when leveraging social video and that social video, for the most part, won’t replace existing content or experiences you’re already creating.  I refer to social video as “participatory content” as it’s the connective pipeline that allows as close to an offline experience as possible with technology while amplifying the event experience in an authentic interactive way building trust and advocacy with digital attendees, speakers, and influencers.

I’m excited to be both speaking and building out strategies for events in 2017 and hope all events look at social video as the perfect solution to turn their offline event online!

Watch my full THINK LIKE A FAN Keynote below: