Agorapulse is one of the top social media management tools available in the world. The company is based out of Paris, France. They offer advanced SaaS tools for managing inboxes, publishing content, monitoring social accounts, generating reports, and more.
They also have special tools for digital marketing agencies to manage various processes through SaaS tools. Their primary clientele is digital marketing agencies that offer social media solutions, but they have wanted to expand to other industry verticals since last year (2020). It is also why Mike Allton, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Agorapulse, planned this summit to focus on agencies.
The Agency Summit event conducted on 23rd July 2021 in partnership with Airmeet was one of Agora Pulse’s largest events in the past four years. They conducted such summits roughly every quarter of each year.
Diving into the details of the event, Mike explained, “It was a one-day free event that had nine live workshops, a live Q&A with a best-selling author of a book about agencies, and 36 breakout sessions. We had nearly 50 speakers and 50 other brand partners. The partners had their own vendor booth and were promoted on the Agorapulse website. We came up with a quirky promotional scheme by creating a virtual giveaway kit called digital swag bags with the help of the partners, which would be shared with attendees and asked them to promote the event in return.”
On the day of the event, they had 2500+ participants who were agency owners. But they kept taking in more participants for almost a month who had access to on-demand replays of the event. So they expected to cross 3000 participants by the end of the on-demand period.
Agorapulse’s quest for the most realistic virtual event platform
The Agorapulse summits had always been digital. But had the pandemic had not happened, they would be geared towards a live event. At the beginning of 2020, Mike and the team were planning to hire an event coordinator who could help them arrange a venue event in Paris, which would be called ‘Social Media Paris’.
Mike had done around nine virtual summits in the past two to three years. He recalled the multiple issues he faced with the various platforms he tried.
- His first summit was a series of 16 webinars where each webinar was live-streamed, and they had industry experts present them. But on the platform he used, the attendees had to register for each webinar individually, i.e., 16 times to attend all the webinars, which weren’t very user-friendly.
- The next platform he tried didn’t offer any user engagement. There were very few opportunities for people to converse among themselves. Attendees couldn’t mention, tag, or reply to other people in the comments section and didn’t get notifications when questions were answered.
- Mike tried yet another platform but was unhappy with the platform experience. The biggest issue was the lack of branding and customization. Other than a small graphic and some text, it was very limited. He said,” It didn’t feel like an AgoraPulse Event; it looked like an event for the platform that had our content on it.”
He shared how he finally found what he was looking for, saying, “ I demoed various alternatives. I tend to pay attention to what people in other industries are saying. And I heard some of my friends talk about Airmeet. I looked at the website and reached out to talk about what we could do as partners. I was really impressed with the demo, particularly the customization options of the venue and the vendor booths.” And hence, he planned to execute the Agency Summit with Airmeet.
Challenges (And Solutions)
Challenge 1 : Finding a platform that offered life-like experience and seamless attendee engagement
Mike had been going to live events for more than five years and had realized that the best thing attendees gain from the event is not from the content of the event but mostly from the conversations that happen outside that event.
Mike put it better in his words, saying, “In the hallways, during meals, table talks, impromptu interviews, when talking to the speakers and asking questions, these were the activities where people had what we call ‘magic moments.’ it could form a relationship between two peers, or a crucial question of a peer would be answered. The presented content is good, but it is usually not what people take away from the event. We wanted to create more magic moments.”
Hence, from the start, he wanted to partner with a platform that closely replicated the real-life event experience and offer multiple avenues to start a conversation.
And here’s how Airmeet plan proved to be his best choice:
Parallel Recorded & Live Presentations:
“On another platform, we only had pre-recorded presentations, and I had to do the live keynote on our Facebook group. Since we were working in two different places, it got very confusing for some users. But on Airmeet, we were able to combine live presentations with pre-recorded presentations on the same platform, which we had never done before,” said Mike, as he explained how his team was able to plan out highly elaborate and rich content for each workshop only because they chose Airmeet.
The social tables played a key role in the event. Mike mentioned, “I really enjoyed the fact that we could offer our attendees a lounge where they could hop onto a table, either an open one or devoted to a topic and have some conversations. After the 45-min mid-day break, people could go back to the lounge during the remaining workshops. I was at one table where there was one lady, Gale, who repeatedly said and later also tweeted how much she appreciated being able to meet other people and speakers.”
Mike recollected how they used speed networking, and he mentioned, “The best thing I think I was able to do was to create time and space before the live workshop. I remember telling the attendees to go for a speed networking session before joining the first workshop so they could at least meet five to six people.”
Finally, he emphasized the role of public chat, saying, “These features, combined with the ability to follow, connect and have one-on-one conversations with the people in the chat, that’s what makes the difference in a virtual event feeling like an in-person event.”
Challenge 2 : Customizing the virtual venue to suit the Agorapulse brand while allowing vendors the same level of personalization
Branding was a crucial aspect for Agorapulse and its partners, as Mike continued, “When you’re at a live event of let’s say Social Media Marketing World, they put up a nice banner, and they decorate it, and when you walk into a room to hear a speaker, behind the stage is a branded background, and the podium has a graphic that says social media marketing world where people take pictures. In this case (on the virtual stage), people could take screenshots. My branding is part of the event. This seems like a little thing, but it’s such an important detail that is different from other platforms.”
Airmeet features exceeded Mike’s expectations with its abilities such as:
Personalized Live Stage:
Mike recalled his first impression of Airmeet’s live stage, saying, “One thing I didn’t expect and didn’t know until I got in there (on Airmeet) is the live environment. I liked that we could add a constant background for the live workshops, and that looked amazing.”
The designers created a unique graphic for each workshop’s background, and everyone loved it. It ultimately helped Mike achieve his goal of branding the event as a truly Agorapulse event and not just an event on some platform.
Personalized Vendor Booths:
Mike also mentioned how amazed the vendors were after learning about the personalization option in Airmeet’s vendor booths. He said, “The ability to personalize the venue in the virtual vendor booths was amazing. I have not seen that anywhere else. To be able to create a custom graphic and drag-and-drop video elements, custom elements, whatever you want to create that experience, it blew people away. And the cool thing was it not only blew our attendees away, but it also blew our partners. I was pretty pleased to see that some vendors like Vizme went all out and created booth graphics that looked like actual booths.”
When asked what he and his team loved the most about Airmeet, Mike said, “We had table talks, speed networking, global chat, people following each other and conversing. We tried to use all the features of the platform to build a community among our audience. We watched people on Twitter using the branded hashtag for the event, #AgencySummit. We could see that the impact was there. People were tweeting not only the powerful lessons they were learning at the event but also how much they were enjoying the event and the platform, and just having a great time.”
If you want to partner with us and host such life-like and impactful large-scale summits for your company, reach out to the Airmeet team for a demo right away!