#SocialEventProfs in Vancouver

photo: © Yuko Nagano Watt / 2015

photo: © Yuko Nagano Watt / 2015

On June 10, 2015 I had the pleasure of being part of the first (of many, I hope) Social Events Professionals panels, hosted and organized by Tatiana Nosova, and moderated by Emily Taylor

Other panelists included Carla Mitchell, Amaan Fazal, and Sunny Lenarduzzi - people with a lot of experience and smarts when it comes to using social media to take events to another level.


There were a lot (a LOT) of takeaways from the June 10th event. I won't get into that here. You can get a quick harvest of what these folks had to say by looking at what people captured via Twitter and the event tag: #SocialEventProfs. Another way is to use the Tradeable Bits tech (Emily works for them, and they were one of the event sponsors). Here's what the event looks like on that platform.

Metrics and Analytics: Measure your Mom!

Most of us who work events know that social and events are made for each other. But how to measure that relationship?

One of my favourite quotes came from Amaan. Someone asked, How do you make the case for investing in social media for events? What's the ROI? He answered, paraphrasing Gary Vaynerchuck, "What's the ROI of your Mom?" We all know that Mom is important, but how can you measure the value of your Mom? I also liked how Sunny added that, "It's not return on investment. It's return on influence."

OK. So I know that Mom has influence in my life. Now I need to identify the people who are influential in terms of the events I organize and cover, and make sure I'm treating them the way I treat my Mom: with respect and attention, and without trying to manipulate them or turn them into a number. 

Three of the June 10th #SocialEventProfs panelists, preparing for the event at The Profile in Vancouver's Gastown district. Clockwise from bottom: Amaan Fazal, Carla Mitchell, and Sunny Lenarduzzi.

Three of the June 10th #SocialEventProfs panelists, preparing for the event at The Profile in Vancouver's Gastown district. Clockwise from bottom: Amaan Fazal, Carla Mitchell, and Sunny Lenarduzzi.

Quality vs Quantity? What about "sentiment?"

Generally, panelists agreed that clients and sponsors often equate ROI (investment this time, not influence), with quantity. They like and get relatively easy-to-get things like eyeballs, engagements, fan growth, etc. 

Several panelists mentioned measuring "sentiment" of engagement. This interests me. My fellow panelists, like me, were using old school – and still very valuable – tools to "measure" sentiment. We dip into the firehose of data, take some snapshots of the postives and negatives, and evaluate.

While I think that this human, manual, labour-intensive approach is important, I also like to do a different kind of measurement (I'd calling the other approach "guaging" sentiment, rather than measuring it). For this I use Sayzu, a small Vancouver company.

Sayzu is able to do several things that are are powerful for events. Here I'm just going to talk about how it helps me understand the firehose, by filtering it, creating a dynamic, interactive, and live word cloud.  Sayzu's been around for a few years. It needs some upgrading. I keep hoping someone like Hootsuite or Twitter will "get it" and invest in Sayzu. In the meantime, and even though it's not all I want it to be, I've yet to find a tool that matches it.

What do I like about Sayzu? It gives me:

  • a real-time, snapshot of important themes;
  • the ability to drill down into these themes to see who's saying what and why;
  • the ability to sift and filter the cloud and conversations via the dictionary function;
  • the ability to share this information relatively easily.

There's more to Sayzu for events than this interactive word cloud. But for large events, that's enough to keep me using it, and to be an enthusiast. 

Events on sayzu

I'm going to show a couple of examples of Sayzu and events. This first "cloud" is for the #SocialEventProfs event. When I launched this there were 100+ Tweets. This is a small event, so even an old-school, manual scan of the feed will work. The TradableBits tech, for example, is an excellent way to gauge event sentiment

On the other hand, looking at a bigger event, becomes a handful. Can you realistically scan the 5000+ Tweets coming out of this year's SXSW event and hope to get the top 3-10 themes? 

Here's what Sayzu does for SXSW. I'm not going to analyze this stream, but it's already apparent that you can see the top mentions, top words. And, using the dictionary function within Sayzu, I can eliminate a few of the top words (I've already eliminated things like Austin and SXSW) that overshadow the other themes and real conversations

Back to quality vs quantity...

I'm a writer, interviewer, photographer. I used to call myself a journalist. The new label is content creative. Or, "embedded journalist." I create content for your brand or event. 

That means I privilege quality over quantity. For events, I want to create content that people – especially influencers – appreciate, want to engage with. No, I don't think it's an either/or situation. But my bias is on the quality side. And I'm constantly looking for ways to measure and understand the quality quotient. That's why I enjoyed meeting Janelle Saccucci and Taryn Stephenson. They've got some "social" projects that are real-time and involve quality engagement with people – and, I think, lend themselves to some very fun digital social events marketing.  

Here's a great bit of "quality" from the evening, one of the "socks" pics by Lenny Goh. That's Amaan with nice polka dots, me with the stripes (I can't take credit; that bit of sartorial dash courtesy of my daughters).

How you can help me, how we can help each other

If you're not always looking for ways to use social better with your events, you're wasting opportunities. Because events and social marketing are like hand and glove. They fit. 

Keeping on top of this rapidly change events/social space is work. As I learned on June 10th,  there are lots more opportunities to do good stuff than I'd imagined. And this is my space! 

So I'm asking for help. And, I'd like to propose that we share what we're learning and doing, and help each other grow the quality of event experiences. If you've got insights into how to do quality social event work better, if you've got some great examples of things that work (and, things that DON'T work!), please be in touch. Please be in touch! You might also want to talk to Tatiana as she's host of a Vancouver-based Meetup group for events folks. Great resources to help us all do our work better, more imaginatively, more measurably.

This post is not the definitive version of what happened on June 10 at #SocialEventProfs. I encourage you to check the Twitter feed, the Tradable Bits link, Finally, thanks again to Tatiana and Emily for putting the June 10th #SocialEventProfs event together. And thanks to Hootsuite, Picatic, Tradable Bits, BrainStation, and The Profile for sponsoring!

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