Event Professionals Turn to Live Video to Build Buzz

January 24, 2018

As organic social media reach dwindles and competition for attendees increases, event professionals are increasingly using live streaming on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites to achieve a number of goals.

Experts expect the live video trend to grow throughout 2018, including mdg President Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, who believes that given the experiential nature of trade shows and conferences, it makes perfect sense why live video is so hot right now.

“Video allows us to better engage the senses of our prospects and share stories that will entertain, educate, nurture and ultimately drive attendance,” Hardcastle-Geddes said.

She continued, “Live streaming on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat can build brand awareness, engage audiences, communicate the brand story, bring a value proposition to life, deepen their relationships with prospective and current event participants, and drive first-time and repeat attendance to trade shows and conferences.”

From books to motorcycles to entrepreneurship, events in a wide variety of industries have turned to Facebook Live to meet these goals.

B. Alan Bourgeois, founder and producer of seven book festivals around Texas, uses Facebook Live during events to gain more traction prospective attendees and to promote the authors that are spending their money to attend.

“We then post the videos on our website to continue to promote them,” Bourgeois said. “In addition, the vendors promote the page, which gives us more exposure and continues to increase attendance in the following years.”

The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) uses Facebook Live to give motorcycle enthusiasts a real-time look at what’s happening onsite at the events.

“The goal is to broaden our social reach beyond the geographies that we visit with each show while also attracting new attendees and fans,” said Meredith Loza, IMS marketing manager.

She continued, “We use Facebook Live for demonstrations on how to customize and maintain your motorcycle and in-depth interviews with custom motorcycle builders and industry experts. We also plan to use it at our next show to give viewers a closer look at new motorcycle models from key manufacturers before our doors even open.”

Laura Gallagher, president of The Creative Company, used Facebook Live to kick off a full day conference celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in Wisconsin.

“The benefit of doing Facebook Live at a paid-for event is to bring in additional viewers and spectators,” she explained.

UBM SWIMLESSONS, an educational forum that provides fashion brands with business growth tools, has used Facebook Live on multiple occasions.

“We had two main goals for using Facebook Live: to expand the reach of the seminar beyond the trade show floor and to utilize our show’s Facebook accounts as a hub of educational information that could be referenced by brands, retailers and industry insiders throughout the season and year,” explained Mike Alic, managing director of Fashion Group.

While the benefits of live video are abundant, challenges surround creating the right experience for the audience, including sound and video quality issues in a big show setting.

“I think it works best when the camera and its subject are closer together,” Gallagher said. “My preference is that we are within six feet of one another at most (and) in a smaller room it’s easier to control the acoustics and position yourself closer to the stage.”

mdg, which manages live social video for its clients, has discovered a few best practices for producing and overcoming the challenges of live video.

“It starts with having the right equipment, which often includes a stabilizer, a portable backdrop and a mic and twice the Internet speed technically required,” explained Hardcastle-Geddes.

She added, “But more important is the strategy that sets the course for the video. It’s important to consider the overall objectives and how will live video contribute to them.”

Alic also stressed the importance of ensuring reliable Internet connection.

“Our main takeaways from implementing Facebook Live was the need for a hardline for internet, as Wi-Fi can be unreliable in large venues,” he said.

Another critical factor in creating successful live video is pre-promotion to ensure the target audience is aware a live video is coming. mdg subscribes to this tactic for each of its videos.

“Our teams write intriguing, accurate descriptions of what is to come and let audiences know when the live broadcast will begin – obvious steps that are often overlooked,” Hardcastle-Geddes said.

Besides heavily promoting its Facebook Live presence across its social media channels, blog and website, UBM SWIMLESSONS found that putting budget dollars into pre-promotion can expand results even further.

“We learned that sponsored posts for Facebook Live can reach a very large audience,” Alic said.

Using live video streaming can help event planners achieve their brand-building and attendance goals in new ways. At this time, Facebook Live appears to be the preferred platform for live video streaming, as it offers an easy way for events to connect with the audiences they’ve spent so much time and resources building. As this trend grows, the industry will likely develop best practices that will enable the creation of more highly-engaging content.

Add new comment

Partner Voices
One of the most iconic names on the Las Vegas Strip just got an upgrade. Mandalay Bay has everything that your business needs from a refreshed convention space designed to inspire productivity and creativity, to an impressive selection of world-class restaurants and amenities. If you're looking for a venue that's both inviting and innovative, you have to be here. New Wave Experiences Mandalay Bay continues to invest in a new wave of enhancements both in the convention space and within the resort as a whole. New restaurant openings including Orla by Michael Mina, drawing inspiration from the award-winning chef’s childhood in Egypt and with flavors and décor inspired by the spices found in markets common to coastal Mediterranean towns, as well as Caramá by Wolfgang Puck, bringing the essence of Italy and spirit of Wolfgang into one concept, are recent additions. The Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas also experienced a recent remodel of all 424 rooms. Swingers, a high-end, adults-only golf and entertainment concept will debut in Fall 2024. Enhanced Technology Creating a truly effective conference venue requires careful thought into what a business needs: the right technology, capacity, and inspiration to bring ideas to the next level. As part of the resort’s refresh, Mandalay Bay implemented state-of-the-art technology upgrades, installing cutting-edge Cat6A Ethernet cabling throughout the convention center. This advancement doubles the frequency of data transmission, enabling lightning-fast speeds up to 9400% faster. The convention center now boasts 11 dynamic digital walls, spanning up to 24' x 13', strategically positioned for brand placements, sponsorships and targeted event messaging. Additionally, attendees can benefit from 20 double-sided 55" mobile flexible display units, facilitating effortless navigation to meeting rooms and events. RFID locks were installed on all meeting room doors, and over 200 motion detection cameras have been placed throughout the space. Refreshing New Design & Fine Art The newly remodeled convention space provides a bright and vibrant atmosphere that complements Mandalay Bay's tropical-inspired brand. Featuring white-washed walls and ceilings adorned with bold floral patterns in cerulean and coral tones, the space is complemented by warm walnut accent walls. In addition to the redesign of all pre-function spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms, Mandalay Bay's 1 million square feet of exhibit space has undergone a rejuvenation, including new paint, covered pillars and relocated strobe lights. Sustainable Spectacles Mandalay Bay is committed to Focused on What Matters and creating more responsible meetings. Refillable water stations all available around the resort, cutting unnecessary plastic usage from single-use bottles. The Mandalay Bay campus’ recent upgrades represent a bold step forward in redefining the Las Vegas experience. With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and unparalleled service, Mandalay Bay sets a new standard for excellence in business hospitality. Whether you're seeking cutting-edge conference facilities, world-class dining options, or simply a luxurious retreat, an unparalleled meeting experience awaits.