A social wall is a highly effective element to increase online interaction at your event. Make visible contributions, posts, videos and questions related to your topic! We'll explain what a Social Wall is, what its benefits are, what you need to keep in mind when installing a Social Wall, and at the end we'll share a galloping real-life example.
A social wall makes your community visible at your event. It is an aggregation of all social media posts to a hashtag, location or dedicated channel - an extension of your physical event to the internet. What you see is a dedicated newsfeed, often in tiles, where users, visitors and fans share everything about your event or brand. By the way, the social wall doesn't have to be a physical wall, it can also be part of a virtual event, a dedicated website or embedded on your own website. It's a great widget if you're going for image-heavy influencer event marketing or want to aggregate experts and opinion leaders on a topic.
The original format of the Social Wall was a so-called Twitterwall: all tweets for a hashtag were displayed in a separate newsfeed. Today, of course, a social wall is no longer limited to Twitter, but can include all social networks.
Here's the good news: Actually, always! It all depends on what your strategy is.
The simplest form of social wall for an event is a simple website or an integration on the event website. This works for both physical and virtual events. Of course, if you're hosting an event on-site, a big screen or screens of any kind are a plus for attention. No one can quickly walk past a meter-high wall of selfies and event photos without taking a peek. The temptation to see yourself on this screen will also be greater.
You don't need an event to have a social wall. A social wall as part of your website is also a great idea for branding. Especially if you do influencer marketing or sell a product that your buyers like to take pictures with. Of course, you can also limit these feeds to one social network - Instagram, for example, if you're selling a hip consumer product, or Twitter if you're in the tech industry.
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Is the expense of a social wall justified? To help you answer this question for yourself, we've summarized some of the benefits of social walls here.
A social wall is a great way to increase your reach - especially at physical events: Instead of having a closed circle of people at the event like before, with a Social Wall you encourage people to broadcast their experience and what they experienced to the internet. You can reach a pretty broad target group for a small budget: In the best case, people with similar interests as your visitors, but who didn't know about you until now.
All in all, you could sum it up like this: You extend your event to the Internet, and let more people participate virtually than you have on site. This is especially exciting if they offer a physical or virtual event with limited access or tickets. Your attendees are then sending out little appetizers to potential new guests.
The beauty of the Social Wall: You create an interactive element for your event. This has many advantages, for you, your visitors and other users. Your guests can actively participate in your event, give feedback and talk about their experiences. Many guests really appreciate this form of communication and are happy to participate. This increases satisfaction and a passive visitor becomes an active contributor. For you, this is an excellent further opportunity to communicate with guests and collect feedback. By the way, a first-hand experience of one of your guests is a very authentic and credible form of advertising. Uninvolved third parties, who are in your guests' extended virtual and social network, may be happy to hear an exciting tip and visit your offerings in the future.
Your social media channels are stagnant and could use a little push? A social wall could solve the problem and get you back in the conversation.
The important thing here is to choose an appropriate hashtag or location so guests can tag them. Repost matching original posts diligently on your own channels.
Including a social wall on your website can also be a very good advertising tool. Opinion leaders, experts or influencers who comment on your event there, or even present products or merch act as advocates for you. This concept always works: If he/she thinks this is good, it can't be bad.
Good planning is everything, and that goes for a Social Wall too. The easiest way to create a social wall is to use one of the many tools. Whatever you choose, the principle is always the same: First, a suitable hashtag must be found that suits the event. Alternatively, the social wall can also play out specified locations or a channel. What the hashtag looks like exactly is up to your strategy - if you want to know how many people really respond directly to your social wall, then choose a thematically appropriate creative hashtag, not just the title of the event.
Another important point: The organizational challenge of a social wall is the moderation. Be sure to provide staff resources that can monitor incoming posts. Otherwise, supposed pranksters could misuse your hashtag and, in the worst case, make you look unprofessional. Most tools offer two modes for this. The first is that all posts are immediately live and someone has to moderate them directly. The other: All posts have to be unlocked. The first option certainly makes sense at a live event. In other times, it certainly seems sufficient if you switch the posts live weekly.
Near Berlin, in a town in Brandenburg, you can find a very well-known racing track for horses: Hoppegarten. A few years ago, I was part of a team that implemented a Social Wall for Hoppegarten.
Hoppegarten racecourse is a successful example of the integration of traditional racing with tweed, hats and bets and a family-friendly Sunday outing with fun elements for children. While some race days focus on the former, for the Social Wall we chose the season finale on October 3, 2015, a day when the audience tends to be very mixed.
We wanted to give race day visitors another platform, but also get to know them better and increase the social media presence.
These guests like to post about their experience. We wanted to find out how much the social wall is accepted and used. That's why we invented a hashtag #glueckdererde (in German: All luck on earth) loosely based on the German proverb: Das Glück der Erde liegt auf dem Rücken der Erde. We used facebook and Twitter, as at that time Instagram was not yet such a big issue. Today we would definitely include the later.
We wanted to show visitors that we respond to questions and requests and really want to communicate with them. Working in shifts, we answered inquiries, posted liked and yes, even deleted an inappropriate posting here and there.
3075 guests and users used the hashtag #glueckdererde, the reach across both channels facebook and Twitter was 240.609 users. We felt the campaign was a complete success and had the impression that the visitors were very happy to use the opportunity to interact. You can find the entire interview with my former colleague Malte and some photos on the blog of the social wall tool provider walls.io.
A social wall certainly involves effort, but it's a great tool to increase guest interaction and event reach. The important thing is: take care of a good planning, enough manpower for moderation and react quickly to the feedback of your guests. Then the Social Wall will be a success!
The Social Wall can be easily integrated into our MATE Virtual Events Platform. Feel free to ask us about it!
By Anne Brünnert
Content Management Freelancer with a preference for digital topics, agile projects and with stage experience.
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