What Beyoncé and Jay-Z Can Teach You About Digital Strategy

Author: David McMillin       

If you’ve been working to entice an at-home audience to tune in to your meetings and conferences, you may be struggling to find the balance between engaging them and creating enough FOMO to get them to actually make the decision to register. The ultimate goal, after all, isn’t to make those viewers love looking at their screens. It’s to get them to buy flights, book hotel rooms, and be part of the in-person energy.

Inspiring that get-off-the-couch move isn’t about inviting attendees to a buffet of online content. Instead, it relies on giving them a small taste of the main entree — and then taking the plate away. Just ask fans of Beyoncé and Jay-Z who were able to view only 25 minutes of the couple’s performance at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg. After the broadcast ended, plenty of fans of the Carters took to Twitter to express their sadness at the small glimpse of the show. SABC1, the South African television station, summed up the decision for the short show in a short message.

While there was some backlash from frustrated viewers who weren’t able to be there, the rationale is solid: There should be some sort of “exclusive” feel to the in-person experience. And those who have made the investment to be there should feel a sense that they “earned” the privilege.

The move could inspire some event organizers to alter their digital engagement strategies. There is plenty of pressure to offer more sessions and more speakers with more camera views. In an environment where content is free and ubiquitous, it’s easy to understand the temptation to give away everything with the hope that attendees will crave the missing piece of a face-to-face connection. However, offering every minute of the education eliminates the air of exclusivity. Perhaps the Beyoncé and Jay-Z show can give event organizers a reason to press the pause button and rethink the give-it-all-away approach to digital engagement.

Interested in more inspiration for shaping your digital strategy? Check out these lessons from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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