Why your conference needs a Social Object

30 09 2010

I recently came across an excellent blog post by Hugh MacCleod introducing the idea that “Social Objects are the future of marketing” it resonated with me beyond simple social media or marketing rhetoric. Hugh blogs about marketing, cartoons and more (they are excellent cartoons), you can read Hugh’s full post here or search his blog for more and he gives lots of credit to others who helped shape his theory of Social Objects.

So what is a social object?

To me it’s a connection between people and ‘things’ (technical term!). It’s based on the assumption (And lots of other theories) that people don’t connect directly to people, rather they connect via objects, and not always physical it can be a shared experience.

So two attendees at your event who have opened a conversation after a presentation and agree it resonated with their work create a new connection around your event. Friends may be created, or conversations may be started by a mutual respect or interest for anything from music to wine.

So why is important?

If you can create a social object, that evokes passion in your audience or community, people will talk about it! So in this world where we are bombarded by messages, creating a social object can help your audience form a connection to your product, it can help early adopters spread the word, it creates a link between advocates.

So why is it important to conferences?

It struck me that as a conference or event company we are in the business of creating social objects. Given the nature of social media and the emerging power of referrals and word of mouth. We need to hone our thinking around this idea and ensure every event has a social object built into it, it should already, it may not, if it doesn’t, start thinking of one.

I also recently meet Josh Spear who gave some senior people here a very insightful look at the broader impact of social media, and as he said, of course non of this matter if your product is crap. In fact it might make things worse. It’s more important than ever to have good products, authentic leadership and… a social object built-in!

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One response

30 09 2010
Chris Archer

Isn’t it amazing that ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ are the best ways to make strong connections.

This is true – think about all the people we meet on a day-to-day basis. We are highly unlikely to get along with everyone (even at conferences), we all have different personalities – but when you talk to someone about a topic of interest to both of you (whether it be football, the increasing value of the AUD, or pharmaceutical transport regulation), you connect with them at that moment.

Social objects – genius!

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