How To Make Conferences Interactive with ImageThink Social Listening Murals

Looking for creative ideas to engage your conference attendees?

After years of graphic recording keynote presenters and the like, we wanted to find a way to capture the voices of those in the audience, where a wealth of insights also lie.  What we came up with were ImageThink Social Listening Murals, an innovative interactive conference idea format that engages attendees and facilitates conversations between you and your audience.

Picture a large canvas positioned in a high traffic area of your conference. The idea of social listening is simple: you come up with a question, attendees give their answers to ImageThink, and we illustrate their responses in real time.  Social Listening Murals are an audience call and response, and give you a focused space to interact with attendees on a one-to-one level with the added benefit of gathering their insights for future use.

The beauty of this interactive conference idea is you transform your audience into active contributors and show them that you care and value their insights by democratizing the conversation.  Social Listening Murals set a collaborative tone for your event and leaves participants with a unique, memorable experience.

Stoke The Conversation

The Social Listening Mural became an integral part of Microsoft’s Social Hub at WPC 2015.

Social Listening Murals are perfect to stoking face to face conversation at facilitation conferences.  But in our social media age, engaging participants on the hashtag level is also a must. Use ImageThink’s Social Listening Murals to fuel the online conversation by visualizing your virtual hashtag in your event’s physical space.

User-generated content on social media provides authentic validation of your event. The conversation continues in the virtual space on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, as we source answers from your digital followers. How does it work? We tweet out the question using your hashtag, draw up those replies, photograph them, and tweet them back out. Your conference will be a trending topic and cause disruption in the physical and digital space.

At IBM’s Vision Conference 2016, IBM was looking for a way to spark conversation and enhance networking for their attendees.  ImageThink set up a Social Listening Mural in the event’s plenary space, and set to monitoring and illustrating tweets with the event’s hashtag.  By photographing and tweeting the images back at the authors, ImageThink brought together the digital and physical event spaces, and encouraged conversation in both.

The hashtag conversation continued on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and turned attendees into virtual brand ambassadors, spilling IBM’s event beyond the boundaries of the day’s event.

attendees take photos of imagethink's graphic recordings
Attendees photograph the graphic recordings at SXSWi for instant social sharing.

Keep Your Attendees Talking: Three Tips for Getting it Right

Once you’ve got the Social Listening Mural set up, how do you get your attendees talking? Here are three essential social event ideas to having a successful social listening experience.

Imagethink graphic recording social listening creates engagement at conferences. Webroot question, "What Does Next Gen Security Mean to You?" Illustrations of audience answers to the question. Fun drawings of robots, analytics, superheroes, firewalls, mobile, virus, crystal ball, cloud security, education.

1. The Question:

You’ll want a concise, compelling question with many possible answers: the kind of question that is specific to your industry, but doesn’t require more than 30 seconds to come up with a unique answer. If someone has to take too much time thinking about their response, they may lose interest.

At Webroot’s CyberSecurity event, for instance, the question, “What Does Next Gen Security Mean to You?” gave ImageThink’s graphic recorder a wealth of great responses. The question is specific, but the answers it elicited were as varied as concern for firewalls, cloud security, and auto remediation.

Webroot’s social listening board gave them the chance to engage with attendees, and gain valuable insights into their clients’ concerns that they could leverage for future use. Taking a look at the mural art at the end of the event, Webroot was able to gauge how their brand was perceived and identify areas to focus efforts in the future.

imagethink graphic recording social listening wall at bbworld 2016. Graphic Recorder Greta Hayes (right) engages an attendee with the question "how do you impact the world of the learner?". Large foam core display in background of attendees engagement in visual notes form.
ImageThink graphic recorder Greta Hayes listens to an attendees response to our question so she can draw his response on our Social Listening wall at Blackboard BbWorld 2016.

2. The Setting:

Chances are, you already have a dedicated social space for attendees to recharge and connect between or after sessions. Most conferences have a coffee or cocktail reception, so why not capitalize on the conversation that’s already happening? Placing your social listening tools in one of these high traffic, socializing area is a great way to guarantee involvement and impact.  When people are relaxed, they are able to think more creatively, which means they’re more likely to participate in a fun atmosphere.

3. Dedicated Engager:

Nobody knows your content better than you and your team.  You know who you want to connect with, what type of conversations you’re looking to have, and what you want to learn from them. That’s why the best social listening boards happen when you can dedicate a member of your team to help facilitate conversation between your attendees and your ImageThinker. With a dedicated engager from your team, you focus on connecting with your clients while ImageThink focuses on getting the insights down in ink.

Step Up Your Display Game With ImageThink Flair

imagethink graphic recording social listening wall at bbworld 2016. Large foam core accordion style wall display of conference engagement. 3 education themed questions and responses from attendees drawn up in fun infographics. The questions are "how do you impact the world of the learner?", "how do you use data?", and "what does learning look like in 25 years?". Learn from the insights, have the learner's best interests at heart, keep it fun, being a lifelong learner, put metrics around ROI, evaluate student retention, more visuals in learning, seamless tech integration are among the answers drawn up.

We know that you want your conference to stand out in your attendee’s minds.  Many events span multiple days, and keeping your attendees captivated throughout them can be a challenge. But whether you are sponsoring the entire conference or just one booth at a tradeshow, it is still crucial to create an engaging and interactive conference environment.  From our eight years of experience in the field conference planning, we’ve developed different ways to integrate our work into your branded space for a seamless event activation experience.

For Blackboard BBWorld, ImageThink branded a social listening wall with the event and the sponsor logos and themes. We built an accordion wall that became a part of the exhibition space to address three distinct questions. Participants were able to see an evolution of ideas in mural art that built over the span of the three day conference.

A gif of sparkles.

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Microsoft’s World Partnership Conference took this concept to the next level by building a social listening wall directly into its social hub, integrating into the space. The result were social listening tools that didn’t only capture conversation but also generated it, and gave people great content to share over social media.

At Book Passage in the SF Ferry Building, we were set up outside their shop engaging customers, bringing foot traffic into the bookstore. This board anchored a community marketing activation experience and remains on display in the store as a finished piece of mural art.

The display possibilities are endless!

Promote Your Event With… Selfies?

Bb World 2016 conference female attendees taking a selfie with their contribution to ImageThink's social listening wall. The question is "How Do You Impact the World of the Learner?" Their answer is "Expose them to faculty expertise". The graphic recording behind them showcases conference engagement in answering the education question.

Let’s talk about selfies. 93 million selfies are taken and posted each day. You are striving to create the most positive and immersive experience at your event.  What better way to promote this than by having your attendees take a selfie with their answer? Your attendees also value their voices being heard and represented in such a creative way.  

Plus, this social event idea is a great and easy way to create organic promotion of your event.

Whether you aim to captivate individuals and boost brand engagement or explore new business initiatives using illustrated attendee insights, an ImageThink social listening mural provides the ideal means to connect with your most engaged audience. Contact us today to get started!

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