Social media at your event – why, where, what and how!

What is an event without social media in 2014? There are many ways you can use social media to your advantage. To increase involvement, expand exposure, create buzz and monitor the event’s sentiment.

social media

Event website
When people check out your event website they might be not sure if they should attend. A most recent Twitter stream with your hashtag could rule them over – because if these interesting people are going, so should I! The same hashtag can create a lot of buzz before your event even starts and gives people the possibility to connect with fellow attendees.

Signing up
Whether you have linked your sign-up system with your CRM database or just create an attendee list from your Facebook event guest list, it’s the ideal time to connect with them. Invite them to like your Facebook page, your event page or to download your specially created app. Don’t forget to mention your hashtag!

Yes, they are here! Now people have to check in, collect their badge, hang their coats and make a quick bathroom stop. You can imagine there’s a lot of waiting involved in the first stage of attending your event. Make it worthwhile! Send them a welcome SMS or tweet, give away stickers with your event’s hashtag or cool brand logo (social nerds love to put them on their fancy Apple computers), show snippets of video’s in the waiting area’s, hang posters that mention the social platforms you are monitoring today and invite the attendee to share Tweets, pictures on Instagram etc. Don’t forget: free wifi is the key to a social event.

Social signage
What’s going on? In which room  is that interesting talk? What’s trending? Where should I go? What are others doing? All questions you can answer with a social signage. A social signage can be optimised specially for your brand. Insert livestreams full with updates, pictures, check-in, mentions and presentation notifications. Link the social signage with several big screens at smart locations such as waiting area’s, the coffee corner, entrance of rooms and nearby the bathrooms.

Background screens
Chances are you invited a lot of interested speakers. Whether you like it or not people are going to live tweet, discuss and talk online during the talk. Why not implement this buzz in the presentation? A background screen can create interesting discussions. Ask listeners to post their question or opinion with the hashtag. It works a lot easier than going around with a mic and besides, people tend to ask something faster online than raising their hands in real life.


The art of the first impression

You have only one shot to make a good first impression. In the first few seconds of meeting someone new you decide if you like the person, where they fit in and if you take them seriously. Here are a few tips to make a great first impression:

first impression

Be confident
People will notice when you feel insecure. So relax, smile and make eye contact. Don’t fidget, look at the ground or bite your finger nails. Just be the best version of you!

A firm handshake
You can tell a lot by somebody’s handshake. A good handshake is firm, last a few seconds and is complemented with a smile, saying your name and something like: ‘Hi Bob, how are you?’ ‘Nice to meet you, Sara!’ or ‘My name is Anne, great to finally meet you.’

Proper body language
Slouching is a no-go. As is turning your body away from the conversation, looking away when the other person talks or having a defensive posture. Try to maintain an active, open posture: look at the other person, respond and mirror their behaviour. Usually this means you are interested in the other person.

Remember their names
Most people find it difficult to remember other people’s names. Therefore it’s a good trick to repeat the name directly when someone introduces themselves, you will remember the name once you’ve said it out loud at least once. Try to make it as naturally as possible: ‘Hi, my name is Jack.’ you: ‘Great to meet you. Where are you from Jack?’

Dress appropriately
Dress the part. Smart casual, business, sportive. Every situation asks for proper attire. When you are not sure about the dresscode, ask. There is no shame in making sure you are wearing a suitable outfit, you will feel ashamed when you stand out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons.

Find common ground 
The best and easiest thing is to let the other person speak about themselves and then to find a subject you both have interest in. You can ask them (for example): ‘What do you do for fun?’ ‘Did you always wanted to be a ….?’ ‘Where do you find inspiration for ….?’ From there it’s easy to maintain an interesting conversation.

Be yourself
Don’t try to be funny or witty when you’re not. Don’t mock about people you know or things you’ve done. Don’t talk to much and don’t judge other people. Just try to get to know one another and be sincere. Saying, texting or mailing whilst sending an LinkedIn invite you really liked to meet the person is highly appreciated by many people.

Do you have other tips to make a good first impression? Let me know!

Inventive ways to brand your event

Nobody is interested in yet another branded pen. Flags, banners and USB-sticks aren’t original anymore. Time for some inspirational ideas to brand your event!

A common mistake brands make during events is to overexpose the brand’s logo on the stand. This over commercial approach won’t help you tell your story. As a matter of fact, it could even decrease the chance of a good conversation with your target group.

Use your senses
So, now what? The best way to brand your event is to transform your brand into an experience. Let people use their senses to get to know your product. Let visitors taste the local cuisine, let them look around your factory with the Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses, let them feel different textures, or let them smell different scents during a contest.

There is a reason why many brands and companies choose for a mascot or icon to represent their brand. It personifies your brand, makes you therefore more approachable and you can give it several characteristics that are in line with your brand identity. Popular and well known mascots and icons are: Old spice guy, Bibendum – the Michelin guy, Ronald McDonald and me!

old spice guy

What’s on the target group’s mind?
Every single industry and area of expertise has their own trends, challenges and barriers. Which struggles do they face? Who are the inspirational speakers? Where do they find their inspiration? When you know all the answers to these questions you can do something with that information. Organise small inspirational sessions with a group from one industry. Provide them with everything they need. Make all communication personal. Send them a text message when they arrive, to welcome them. Give a personalised goodie bag. How do you personalise it? For instance: check their Twitter account or background details and find something fitting that will bring a smile on their face.

I’m sure they will remember your brand – even without the pen.

A day in… The Hague

The city of The Hague is located in the Randstad, a metropolitan region at the western part of Holland. It is the third biggest region of the country, capital of the South-Holland province and host of the government, parliament and residence of the royal family. Whether you are planning your meeting here or just want to explore the city, spending the day in The Hague gives you a lot of business and leisure options.

The Hague

The Hague is the third largest region of Holland
The Hague is the international city of peace and justice
The Hague hosts most of the foreign embassies and ministries
Population: 510,909

Getting there
The Hague is easy to reach by car, plane or public transportation. The Hague has an airport (Rotterdam The Hague Aiport) just a few tube stops away from the city centre. From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol you can take the train (60 minutes) or go by car (45 minutes).

Meeting and business venues 
The city offers a wide variety of meeting venues, hotels and inspirational conference rooms. With its characteristic architecture and picturesque harbour it will be easy to find a venue with inspiring views within the lively city centre.

Case study
In 2014, 58 world leaders were in The Hague to attend the nuclear security summit (NSS) that took place in the World Forum convention centre. The Hague is a well-organised, hospitable and safe convention destination, and showed that it was well able to host 58 world leaders, 3,000 journalists, and 5,000 delegation members.

Staying in The Hague? You might want to consider the recently opened Marriott Hotel The Hague. But there are many, many, many more options. How about NH Hotel The Hague or Novotel The Hague City Centre?

Hidden secrets
How would you like a meeting in a glue and gelatine factory or a former girl orphanage? There are many more inspirational and special venues in The Hague. On our hidden secret page we collect all of them for you.

After your meeting
The Hague is a great place to spend a day or two. They have a broad range of museums, shopping areas, restaurants and sights.

Mauritshuis – Home of the ‘girl with a pearl earring’ painting by master Johannes Vermeer.
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag – A stunning collection of modern art in a beautiful art deco building. Be inspired!
Panorama Mesdag – Watch the sea, beach, dunes and fishing village Scheveningen. The largest circular canvas in Europe, Panorama Mesdag, makes it possible.
Escher in het Paleis – Escher in Het Paleis is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the world-famous artist M.C. Escher, whose art startled millions of people all over the world.

Shopping areas
City centre – The inner city of The Hague is a wonderful place for a shopping spree. You will find many fashion and shoe shops with something to offer for every budget, from exclusive ‘haute couture’ to popular big brands and trendy design shops.
Haagsche Passage – This is the oldest shopping centre in Holland, with beautiful architecture and some really nice shops. There are fashion and jewellery and book shops, as well as a great shop for kitchenware, in the Passage between the Spuistraat, Hofweg and Buitenhof.
Noordeinde: Unique district embracing the Royal Palace. Here you will find renowned art galleries, exclusive antiques shops, and jewellery shops. Go here for contemporary design as well as classical masters.
The Hague Market – It’s the biggest outdoor market in Europe. The Hague Market is locally pronounced as the ‘Haagse Mart’ and is located on Herman Coster street. You can buy just about everything here on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Approximately 25,000 people visit the Hague Market each market day.

Casual or Michelin star restaurant? City vibe or intimate setting? A view at the lively, characteristic streets or from a panoramic high building? The Hague has it all. Throughout The Hague you can find many restaurants. But these restaurants are very popular:

HanTing – Michelin star / Fusion / Asian
Mazie – Biological / Classic
De Dagvisser – Fish / Harbour
Private dining Frederik  – Burgundian / private / business

The Passage The Hague

When you are in The Hague it is almost impossible not to notice that the sea and beach is close. Visit the fishing harbours or spend the day at the beach in Scheveningen. Also fun to do: exploring miniature park Madurodam and visit all the different palaces in The Hague; such as Noordeinde palace and Huis ten Bosch.

A day in The Hague.. 
With all these tips I am almost sure you need a few extra days of stay in The Hague. Have fun and let me know your favourite part of the city!

Would you like to find out more about The Hague? Then head on over to our The Hague pages on the official Holland Meetings website. There you will also find information about the The Hague Convention Bureau.