IMEX America has released its show themes for the upcoming exhibition in September 2019, which allow attendees to explore more deeply a particularly important industry trend. This year, the annual session talking points will center on a variety of themes: imagination, experiential, CSR, sustainability, wellness, and event tech.
We sat down with Mike Burns, Chief Revenue Officer of Aventri, and Alex Plaxen of Little Bird Told Media, to learn about their IMEX America session, “Facts & Lies: How Planners Really Use Social Media for Events.” Check out our Q&A with Mike and Alex to learn what this IMEX theme means for you.
Social Media Q&A with Mike Burns & Alex Plaxen
Q: Can you tell our audience a little about yourself? About your experience with social media as a technology?
Alex: I’m the president and founder of a company called Little Bird Told Media. If you have not heard of us, basically what we do is social media strategy, specifically, for conferences and tradeshows. So that’s kind of wheelhouse. We are really excited to have partnered with Aventri on this project and it’s going to be ongoing.
Mike: I’ve been the chief revenue officer at Aventri since 2018. At Aventri, I focus on aligning and driving the go-to-market strategy of the business with the overall goal of providing the best experience for our customers. In the past, I also worked in marketing and believe social media is key in helping planners drive their product’s success and in incorporating their customers’ feedback.
Q: As you both know, one of IMEX America’s themes this year is Technology. How does social media fit into the event lifecycle?
Mike: At Aventri, we think of the event lifecycle in four different buckets. We plan our events, that our budgeting, our venue selecting, and our pre-event registration. Then we promote events, we get the word out via email or social channels. Then we engage with our attendees onsite. Then we measure and optimize. How was the experience? What are the KPI’s that we are trying to optimize, too? What are the conversions like? What were the goals of the event and how do we measure and optimize them?
Q: Why is social media as a technology important to meeting and event planners?
Alex: There’s no denying the importance and the impact social media has on meeting and event planners. But there is virtually no data out there that quantifies that relationship. What platforms are planners using today during their events? How are planners using them? How are they managing them? We decided to create this survey to get these answers.
Q: Can you give our audience a little overview of your IMEX America session, “Facts & Lies: How Planners Really Use Social Media for Events”?
Alex: With our survey, our goal was really to find out, not just what are people saying about social media in sessions at events like IMEX America, but really to discover how they are using social media. So, we surveyed planners anonymously and asked them, “Okay how are you actually using social media for your meetings and events?” We figured if we could get a foundation for this research, we could develop best practices around our research on social media for the industry. That’s what we did, and we’ll share those best practices in our session.
Q: What are the key takeaways of your IMEX America session?
Mike: There are a couple of big takeaways. The biggest I’d say is that there has to be a lot more education within our industry, peer-to-peer education by people like Alex talking about what social media is. The industry needs to understand what this technology can do because social media is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of meeting and event planners.
More broadly though, attendees will learn the top 10 social media insights of planners’ social media habits, hear the full rundown of the phase one research report, and get a sneak peek into the next phase of our social media research.
Q: When and where is your IMEX America session?
Alex: Tuesday, September 10th at 1:00 PM in the Research Pod, Inspiration Hub, Level 2, Booth #A4821. We hope to see you there!
Want to talk to Mike, one-on-one at IMEX America, about social media? Secure your appointment here. Traveling to Vegas? Check out the top-rated things to do and see, and the top places to eat in Vegas.