Anatomy of a Great SMW Event



Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

In the past four years, we’ve seen more than 3000 events around the globe. What makes some of them stand out time and again? We went about dissecting what do our favorite events have in common- all in time for event submission for SMW13 February. If you’re searching how to make a great SMW event, we recommend you incorporate these tips:

1. Make it fun or inspirational.
We remember what makes us laugh; we share what makes us smile; and we incorporate what moves our heart. Emotions are major factors, so add them to your event. No one likes boring- not even you. Consider TweetJams in Singapore. Singapore brought in musicians to rap tweets as they came in in real-time. The crowd enjoyed the live music and got to partake in an experiment of how music must evolve.

Or there’s Nokia’s Social Innovation Lab, a running event in London. Nokia brought in social entrepreneurs to share how they got their start and what tools they’re using to make an impact on the world. Once these young entrepreneurs leave the stage, we’re all left inspired to do more.

Or take SoccerTech 2012. With sports leaders in the football area like Warren Barton taking the stage, this all day event provided a small community for soccer fanatics and highlighted how the sport is adapting to new mediums. It hit on something so many are passionate about and kept it fun and interactive- with a few surprise guests like Jurgen Klinsmann.

Moral of the story- don’t take the event too serious. Make it fun or inspiring, and we’ll be talking about your event next year.

2. Give your audience something.
No, I’m not talking food or gifts. Make sure the content gives the audience something they didn’t know before or hadn’t considered. The fun and inspiring component is great, but once you add in new knowledge, your event just stepped up to a whole new level. For example, How To Be Funny in 140 Characters not only used humor as a cornerstone of the event, but it also helped to show the point of how to be adapt humor to a different medium. Attendees had a great time AND learned something.

Then there’s Berlin’s Open Sourcing a New Nation with South Sudan’s Ambassador H.E. Sitona Abdalla Osman. Attendees were enthralled hearing Ambassador Osman’s account of the challenges South Sudan faces as a new country AND walked away rethinking civic engagement and what it means to build a nation.

Honor the time that participants are giving to you during the event and give back. The more they learned in a fun and inspiring environment, the more they’ll love what you’ve done.

3. Be diverse.
It’s not a homogeneous world; don’t be a homogeneous event. Give us more flavor and make sure the speakers and on-stage participants not only know what they’re talking about but represent the diversity we find in the world. We like seeing representations of ourselves on stage; give us more of it.

This goes for your event structure as well. Think outside the traditional panel. Cuddles vs. Funnels: Social Engagement vs Social Commerce used a debate style, as have some of our other favorite events like 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media, which also gave us hot off the presses results from their own survey.

Don’t limit yourself to any event format, and we’ll all enjoy a bit more.

As you craft your event idea, think of these components. Think how you can make your event title more fun and inspiring; how you can change up who is participating and ultimately, what you’re giving our community. You’re a big part of that community. Let’s help it grow and be better together. We can’t wait to see what comes out of SMW13! Get creative, and get your events in today.

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