x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Bill Clinton, Metallica and the rise of social media

What did last weekend's Metallica rock concert in Abu Dhabi have in common with a Dubai tourism conference featuring the former US president Bill Clinton? There is a link.

More events organisers in the UAE are now turning to social media to help promote concerts, conferences or exhibitions and to encourage people to take part in discussions. Courtesy Flash
More events organisers in the UAE are now turning to social media to help promote concerts, conferences or exhibitions and to encourage people to take part in discussions. Courtesy Flash

What did last weekend's Metallica rock concert in Abu Dhabi have in common with a tourism conference featuring the former president of the United States Bill Clinton in the capital this month?

Not much, on the face of it - aside from social media. In both cases, tweets by those attending appeared on large screens encouraging the audience to participate.

More events organisers in the UAE are now turning to social media to help promote concerts, conferences or exhibitions and to encourage people to take part in discussions.

"Events are about interaction and interaction is what social media is all about," said Zed Ayesh, the managing director of Flagship Consultancy.

"If they want people to interact with them, then it is very important to be on social media."

The Social Media Forum 2013, which is part of this year's Middle East Event Show, will discuss the topic next month in Dubai.

"The rise of social media in either making or breaking an event is a big talking point at the moment," said Richard Brook, the marketing director at Informa Exhibitions, which is hosting the show.

Sarah Charlton, a digital producer at Avantgarde Brand Services, is scheduled to speak at the event. Her company has been receiving more commissions to organise social media at events.

"I would probably say that the work we tend to do now [is] primarily social media marketing for events," said Ms Charlton. "A lot of the audience are using these channels and obviously in marketing you need to reach out to where your audience is."

But social media strategies had to be formulated differently depending on the event. An audience at a concert would need to be contacted in a different way from delegates attending an exhibition aimed at industry.

"Where it is a B2B [business to business] event, obviously LinkedIn will play a big part in that. Then on top of that you have got Twitter, which a lot of businesses are using now," said Ms Charlton.

"What we tend to do is research a lot before that event so we have a look to see where that target audience have those conversations."

 

gduncan@thenational.ae