2. Social Media & Marketing Show
Hashtag Events are the creators of brilliant business events across the UK & Ireland. They organise, promote, market, and deliver some of UK and Ireland’s most successful online and face-to-face small business events.
Their events are designed to deliver outstanding ROI. Hashtag Events facilitate conferences, expos, trade shows, seminars, webinars, training days, CPD courses, and job fairs online and in person.
They help business owners (start-ups to blue-chip companies) reach other local business owners. Simultaneously they build long-term relationships, generate leads, and win new clients in highly targeted business development events.
About the Event
The Hashtag Events team have been in the events business for the last 12 years. Pre-pandemic events hosted regional, face-to-face networking programs with 80-100 exhibitors, 600-1000 delegates for a one-day business show. Around 20 such physical shows were held all over the UK and Ireland in a typical year.
Post-pandemic, they leveraged Airmeet to organise two business events, one conference and one meetup. The first one was the Social Media & Marketing Show which featured a mix of an open table, virtual networking, and speed matching.
The second event was a conference for a prominent global client specialising in Veterinary Education. As well as keynote speakers, a series of workshops and a complimentary online business networking session was hosted with engagement from across the globe.
Challenges (And Solutions)
Andrew Charlton, CEO, Hashtag Events, said, “Post lockdown, everyone shifted to Zoom, but it was restrictive. On a Zoom window, you cannot recreate the atmosphere and the behavior of the delegates like a physical trade show. In a physical event, delegates explore the venue, roam around and decide where they want to land.”
Challenge 1: Measuring attendee engagement and showcasing opportunities for exhibitors throughout the event
Andrew was worried and expressed, “In a physical event, even if the speaker or content is not as engaging as it could be for everyone, the audience generally stays, as they are already at the event. But with virtual, they can just exit the event with a click. I couldn’t afford for attendees to do that. I needed to have great production value, and the presentation was of key importance.”
Airmeet’s high-quality, detailed post-event analytics played a pivotal role in resolving this challenge. This report included details of the amount of engagement, interaction with speakers, poll questions, count, and percent of votes chosen for each option, along with attendee names, email addresses, and other details shared by them. Understanding attendee’s behavior and response through analytics could help improve future event performances.
Andrew said, “I loved the analytics! In a physical event, I have to walk around to keep an eye on quieter zones. Airmeet’s virtual event analytics report tells us the exact number of people who visited the booths. In physical events, there is no way to show exhibitors how many people turned up at their booths. This could be resolved easily with the analytics on Airmeet.
With the analytics report on votes, polls, and Q&A features, it was possible to measure the levels of engagement to plan future events in a better way. Analytics was the number one thing.”
Challenge: The virtual platform should allow easy & convenient onboarding for the delegates
Andrew said, “I wanted the transit of the audience from the ticket to the event to involve minimal clicks.”
Andrew accepted, “Virtual had an advantage over real events. The basic savings on travel and stay are evident, but with in-person events, the day of the event can be physically very demanding with a big set-up. With virtual events, you can be on and off with the click of a button. Everything available from anywhere.”
- Reception: The Airmeet virtual reception looked rich and interesting with a simplified UI and login process for the attendees.
Integration: Andrew gladly elaborated, “Airmeet allowed us to customize various avenues and fixed our challenge of onboarding delegates. Usually, all the delegates visit our website, click on Eventbrite, book the ticket, and then turn up for the event.
But now, with the Eventbrite integration on Airmeet, they get an email from Airmeet with the link before they get ticket confirmation, and that’s precisely what is required. Before this practice, the emails used to get delayed or get into the spam folder and sometimes remained unnoticed by the attendees.
From the operational point of view, there is no point if I get 1000 people booked for a business show, but only 250 people turn up. If the user has to look around to find login credentials, passwords or have lengthy signups, they lose interest. Airmeet’s magic link helped solve for this very well.”
- Dry runs: The dry runs helped onboarding on the organizer front. Andrew mentioned, “We explored 20 platforms, ran 3-4 test events with friends and colleagues. Out of those, we finalised Airmeet based on our experience in the dry run practice sessions.”
- Backstage: This Airmeet feature was very useful to train speakers for better delivery and online presence.
Challenge: Engage attendees during the event and extend the life of the content post-event
Audience engagement is key to virtual events. Airmeet created attendee engagement with the following features:
Social Lounge: Airmeet allowed the audience to expand their network by reaching out to anyone in the event, conversing with them, and downloading their contact cards.
Exhibitor Booths: Multiple exhibitor booths were set up to generate leads. The audience could interact with exhibitors through one-on-one tables
Recording: Andrew said, “At Airmeet, every session gets recorded. We can utilise those again on our website, social media, or even YouTube videos to re-engage the client base and share them with delegates who couldn’t show up. This is a great tool to drive traffic to social media, drive sales, increase engagement on our website, drive traffic to the speaker’s website, giving every participant added exposure, and leaving everyone happier.”
Challenge: A virtual event, much like a real event, where the audience has multiple options to explore.
Andrew said, “ We wanted our attendees to have a virtual event experience similar to an in-person one, where they can wander around. We wanted them to explore the venue, check out all the available features and find avenues for networking, just like in a physical event. An event should cater to different cycles of behavior where attendees can do it all- attend some webinars, achieve their networking goals, relax over a cup of coffee, send emails, etc.”
Hashtag Events found that Airmeet delivered real engagement and best-in-class interactions. The participants could move freely across multiple sessions, the networking lounge, and the exhibitor booths and have meaningful interactions.
Andrew explained, “Virtual events are fundamentally important for our future. Whatever little it lacks, it makes up for in various other areas. Virtual is a game-changer for us. We wanted a technology-driven feature-packed platform that could allow us to deliver the way we wanted, and Airmeet did that very well.”
Hashtag Events have seven more virtual events planned until the end of 2021. For the year 2022, 14 live and 14 virtual events are projected. Airmeet is one of their key solutions to deliver these.
If you want your next virtual event to be a success, don’t miss the opportunity to explore a demo on Airmeet