Archive for May, 2012

Engaging at Events: What It Takes

Events are one of the best times to engage with your community. You’ve got anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of your most passionate customers in one place at one time – what better time or place to form connections and get feedback?

For successful event engagement, you need a few key things. In no particular order, they are:

A goal. What does a “successful event” look like from an engagement standpoint? Are there specific things you’re trying to get feedback on? Is there a call to action you’re trying to communicate? What is it that will make you feel like the event was time and money well spent? The answer is going to be different for every group or company, but for best results you need to have one.

A place to talk. Having a booth is all well and good, but if there’s no place in that booth where you can sit down and talk, you’re missing out on an opportunity. If you don’t have the space for an actual seating area, at the very least, have furniture that people can gather around. Here’s a few examples, from bad to best:

No place to sit. Uninviting open space says "keep away"

No place to sit. Uninviting open space says "keep away"

Two different areas to engage - a step in the right direction

Two different areas to engage - a step in the right direction

Nice big booth. Lots of places to sit and chat!

Lots of places to sit and chat!

See what I mean?

The last thing you need is people whose job it is to engage. Our social and community teams do a lot of the heavy lifting here, but if you need extra hands to help, attitude is the most important thing. Someone with good listening skills and a willingness to engage with customers can be brought up to speed on the rest. If it’s a technical event, having someone with deep technical skill is necessary, but it’s OK to hand off people looking for more help than you can give them as long as it’s done with tact.

In the Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / YouTube / etc etc era, it’s easy to forget about the value of face to face encounters. Make sure you keep some event engagement as part of your mix, because those personal connections are an incredibly powerful part of community building.

What are some other things you’ve learned about building community connection at events? Let me know in the comments.

Photo Credit: #1 and #2, me. #3: Oğuz Demirkapı

Making Social Media Videos: Quality Counts

I remember 3-5 years ago when the word was getting around to social media practitioners that video was the next big thing. Of course all big companies had customer spotlights, how-to videos and such — but it was the quick and nimble videos, the short and shareable snippets that was the unconquered frontier. In these initial discussions, there was a lot of talk about flip cams and smartphone cameras. Here at Adobe, we jumped right in. Some of the videos were good, some passable and some perhaps not as “watchable” even if the topic and theme were right on point.

So now it’s 2012 and I’m not afraid to go out on a limb to say: video quality matters more. Where before we were all pushing to get more vids out as fast as we could, ensuring we filled our Facebook streams and keeping the YouTube subscribers’ inboxes filled with “There’s a new video!” emails, now I say objective 1 is to make ’em good.

Simply put, there’s so much content out there now, so many people uploading videos and vying for our attention, that if the video is not well done and entertaining, who will watch?

Here’s how we do it on the Adobe Social Media team:

Bring in the Experts

  • At Adobe we have a video team who help us make gorgeous videos of customers and how-tos. Most of the videos you see on Adobe TV are created by this team. So we work with them as often as we can. There were some learnings that both teams needed to do, and that we’re still working on, in order to get the best videos we can. For example, in social media, we want immediate turn-arounds on edits. At Adobe Summit, for example, we turned 4 videos around in just 2 days. And we had them posted on TVs at the convention center within minutes of being completed. Our video team is used to longer lead times, and we need to ensure that whoever is editing our videos is OK working at the speed of social.

Know what’cha what’cha what’cha want, what’cha want*

  • You have to go into each video with a plan. You can start the process with a general idea, such as wanting a video of your next launch event, but you need to figure out beforehand what that means. Are you getting coverage of your execs during the event? Are you interviewing them after? Are you inside and outside? How long will it be? What will you do to set up the video so the audience knows what it’s about? Do you have music throughout the video? etc etc.

Pre-work is 3/4 of the Work

  • You must take the time to figure out the actual production. Who is your producer? You need one. And it can be you, but then that’s what you are doing that day. You can’t also be tweeting live and running metrics from the event and writing reports. You need to be with camera and crew all day. You need to make the vision happen.
  • Where will the interview be? Know before it starts. Don’t search for locations with your interviewees, for example. You need to know where the light will be best and where the sound will be good.
  • Do you need a mic on each person, do you have a “stick” mic, do you have a boom mic? Do you want your interviewer in the scene? These elements make for very different looking videos.
  • Do you have questions lined up? You better :). Does your interviewee know the questions beforehand? Of course :).
  • Who needs to review before it’s final? Make sure they know they are reviewing beforehand (!), and what time you expect them to have the files to look at as well as what you expect from them re: turnaround times.

Does this really work? We think so. Check out our latest:

If you have questions about this process or want some help with your video plans, leave a comment below!