President’s Blog

Nina Kressler, CEO And President of the Shaw Centre

When networking and social networks come together

Published on April 9, 2018

Social media has never been as prevalent as it is now. Staying connected by way of these two-way communication platforms is a daily custom for many and we’re more tuned in than ever. We live in a world fixed on the present and capturing every moment; when we’re doing something interesting we want to share this experience with others in real time.

We’re seeing this trend growing more and more within the conventions industry. Conventions often provide both personal and professional development opportunities, so it’s common for attendees to want to share new knowledge and insights with their social networks in the moment, as it’s happening.

It also forms a community within the convention itself. Attendees can seek out a dialogue with other like-minded individuals attending the same event and forge new connections. Implementing an official hashtag for a convention is a great way to encourage this, in addition to increasing promotion and exposure of the event.

We saw this type of dialogue first hand when the Shaw Centre hosted SAAS North last November. Attendees of this event are naturally very tech-savvy and passionate about the software as a service industry, so there was a significant amount of online interaction taking place, specifically on Twitter.

SAAS North also used Twitter to communicate live updates including daily agendas, key note speakers and panel discussions. It was a great way to keep delegates informed.

Live streaming via Instagram and Facebook have also become popular among convention organizers. It helps build engagement and provides a preview to individuals who aren’t attending the event, and perhaps influence them to consider attending in the future.

Lastly, incorporating photo opportunities into your convention can be a simple yet effective way to encourage attendees to take pictures and post them to their social media. Cannexus 2018, a national career development conference hosted at the Shaw Centre, approached this in a unique way by having a photographer on-site dedicated to taking headshots intended for LinkedIn profiles. Startup Canada is another example of a convention hosted at the Shaw Centre who utilized photo opportunities in the form of a backdrop setup in a high traffic area.

As our methods of communication and social media endlessly advance, the conventions industry adapts by finding new ways to integrate these mediums. It’s interesting to watch conventions raise the bar time and time again, and social media practices have become a huge part of this evolution. I look forward to seeing how these two areas continue to collaborate and support one another.