"Social media is an epic societal change that is changing how people buy things, how the learn things, how they interact with each other, and how meeting professionals market, manage and improve events."

- Corbin Ball ("Top 25 most influential people in the Meetings Industry" - MeetingNews Magazine)

Last week 650 meetings industry exhibitors from around the world gathered in London for face to face marketing and talks from experts. It's the largest show in the UK of it's kind and gives a unique opportunity for buyers to gather, learn and source new suppliers for events including conferences, meetings and incentives. London & Partners is the official promotions company of the city of London and they took on the challenge to stand out to engage with as many delegates as possible. Working alongside brand experience agency #HASHTAG, they created an epic buzz through the installation of a hugely successful Twitter vending machine used to promote their unique hashtag. #LoveTheEvent

twitter vending machine

A Twitter vending machine works similar to a traditional vending machine, except its currency is hashtags. London & Partners selected unique hashtags that when posted together, the machine's software would translate that into a vend. Tweeters then happily drew their prizes from the machine. Prizes ranged between a box of mints to bed & breakfasts at Warren House and tickets to West End shows. The stand saw a strong flow of traffic throughout the event only to dull down after 2pm on Thursday whilst the entire convention stopped to watch England take down Wales in the Euro World Cup overtime nail biter. 

At the conclusion of the event, we saw a total of 2,653 tweets with the official #TMS16 hashtag. London & Partners had a staggering total of 526 tweets related to their stand.  This means that 20% of all tweets throughout the event were directly related to London & Partners stand. For an event with 650 exhibitors, this is a phenomenal achievement. If every stand tweeted the same amount, there would have been a total of over 342,000 tweets. 

Twitter is the most active and fast engaging social platform at conferences and the value of having online conversations is a powerful networking opportunity. The value not only exists during the event, but holds long after as those who engaged during the event become followers, thus generating more leads and sales.

What unique ways can you think of to stand out at an event?