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Mobile Social Networking and the Attendee Experience - 6/25/2013 -

The combination of social media and mobile technologies provides a plethora of possibilities for improving the networking process at your next event.

By Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP

One good contact made at an event can often pay for the whole trip. Fortunately, with the combination of social media and mobile technologies, there is a plethora of possibilities to improve the networking process.

Meetings were the original social media, and mobile social tools are a natural path of development. The good news is that many of them are free or very low cost.

Here are some to consider:

1. Bizzabo 

Price: Free

Bizzabo is a business discovery app designed to help event organizers communicate with attendees and attendees with each other.

Planners can add their event (or import the details from EventBrite) including logo, dates/times, place, social media links, and agenda. A range of promotional tools are provided including "Download App” buttons and QR codes to include at your event website and promotional materials. There is an automatic scheduling function to send out notices to social media channels the weeks and days prior and during the event with customized reminders to download the app.

Attendees can download the native app (both Android and iPhone) to:

• See the conference agenda.

• See who else will be attending.

• Message fellow attendees.

• Set up face-to-face meetings on site.

• Receive suggestions of business opportunities tailored to personal business profiles.

• Use LinkedIn to keep in touch with new connections.

• Use the Twitter event hashtag to be part of the buzz.

2. OleaPark

Price: Freemium

This is another mostly free event guide social networking app.

Event organizers create an event (dates, time, location, social links, etc.) at the OleaPark website. Tools are provided to promote the event with digital flyers, buttons, and push messages (for a fee). A range of analytic tools measuring attendee behavior are also provided.

Attendees download the app (Android/iPhone) to receive a mobile "badge” that allows them to:

• See the conference agenda including session details, speaker profiles, and maps.

• View other attendees’ profiles and interests on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

• Receive recommendations to attendees with similar social graphs and interests.

• Real-time chat with attendees

• Monitor the event Twitter feed.

3. Qrious 

Price: Free for attendees, exhibitors pay an event fee to receive leads.

Qrious is social discovery and lead sharing system using apps and QR-coded name badges.

Event organizers enter the program information and can import registration data from RegOnline, EventBrite and other registration systems. Badges are printed out for free with individual QR codes.

Exhibitors pay an event fee to receive leads for the QR codes scanned. There is no fee-per-lead and exhibitors can use as many smartphone to their account as desired.

Attendees connect their social networks to Qrious and can see who is coming to the event. Qrious recommends who to meet, and why, using attendees’ roles, goals for the event, exiting social nets and specific business interests via the web and on their phones.

4. Shhmooze

Price: Free

Shhmooze is a smartphone app that matches a name, interests, and expertise to the faces around you at a conference. Shhmooze highlights existing connections on LinkedIn and Twitter showing attendees who they know and recommendations on who to meet.

Attendees sign into Shhmooze with LinkedIn, Twitter, or Foursquare to create their profile. The app doesn’t rely on the conference organizer to create the event.

These are just a few of the dozens of options out there. Most of the major event guide apps are building in social media links as well. Many of the full-featured networking companies (such as Pathable.com, Presdo.com, DoubleDutch.com; Eventium.net) have strong mobile components. When mobile technology and social media meet, the benefit is to create richer and more valuable events by helping attendees make the best connections possible.

Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP is a professional speaker and consultant focusing on meetings and associations technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity. Follow him on Twitter @corbinball.


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