As Microsoft works to help businesses create and optimize their digital transformation, the company counts on events, both digital and face to face, to strengthen its relationships with existing partners, connect with new potential customers and spread knowledge about its newest products. While the company has an impressive portfolio of face-to-face events, it’s impossible to reach the company’s entire community with in-person offerings. “If we just thought about the people who could come to [Microsoft Inspire, the company’s main partner conference], we would only reach a fraction of our partner community,” Kati Quigley, CMP, senior director of partner community marketing at Microsoft, said at Convening Leaders 2017.
Quigley and her colleague Kaila Bongiovanni, DEI Advisory Board Member and digital marketing strategist at Microsoft, shared their perspectives on how the company has expanded its reach with digital events in “Never Let Me Go: Creating Clingy Experiences for Face-to-Face and Digital Events,” on Monday, January 9 at the Austin Convention Center. As you outline plans for your next digital event, consider these three valuable tips that apply to any organization with any kind of budget.
1) More doesn’t always matter.
The online landscape gets more overwhelming every day. New blog posts, new videos, breaking news updates, push notifications — keeping up with the constant stream of content can feel like a very daunting task. Conventional wisdom may lead some organizations to adopt a “more is better” approach to engagement. If you inundate your audience with content, something is bound to stick, right? Wrong. Instead, it’s better to focus on identifying the most valuable material that truly resonates with your audience.
“Our goal is not to put out as much content as possible,” Quigley said. “Our goal is to put out content that’s engaging that others want to share because they find it’s relevant to their business.”
“We’ve found that the less we say is actually more powerful if it’s amplified more,” Quigley said.
2) Make #social a top #priority.
Social media plays a key role in turning up that volume knob. Bongiovanni and Quigley discussed the importance of building communities on all the major social platforms, and they both highlighted that the rise in consumer-facing streaming tools such as Facebook Live and Twitter’s new live video tool will continue to revolutionize the way that attendees consume content.
“Streaming and social together will continue to disrupt the events industry,” Bongiovanni said.
In addition to attendee-produced videos, Bongiovanni highlighted that high-quality content from an organization’s official live stream must include one key component: the correct hashtag. “Have your hashtag everywhere,” Bongiovanni said. “And make sure that your online and face-to-face audiences are using the same one.”
3) Figure out where your audience spends their time.
As event organizers work to connect with new prospective attendees, they probably won’t find them browsing their organization’s Facebook pages or visiting the official website. Quigley said that Microsoft recognizes that many of the people they want to engage may not even know about the Microsoft partner site. So her team explores Reddit, communities for IT professionals and other digital destinations where they can be part of the conversations and lead them toward Microsoft.
“We go out and find them,” Quigley said. “We spend our time where they are during their regular digital day.”