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Montréal Meets: Jessica Levin

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Jessica LevinJessica L. Levin, MBA, CMP, CAE is the President and Chief Connector of Seven Degrees Communications. She is known in the industry as the “go-to” person for advice on marketing, event design and anything involving trends in technology. A frequent presenter and author on the topics of strategic social media, marketing, networking, event engagement and technology, Jessica has written recently about the “gamification” trend in mobile event apps – in other words, how event planners are incorporating a gaming component into their mobile applications. We asked Jessica for her take on this new trend.

Can gaming be used to build attendance and engagement? What might that look like?

Yes, it’s a great tool for that. People are by nature are competitive and games bring this out in them. I am a fan of using games to create teams that form an instant bond. When people are paired up they quickly connect with each other and work together to win.

We’ve been hearing about the “gamification” of everything recently. How can an event planner decide if a gaming element is right for their event or group?

The first thing is to look at what you are trying to accomplish with your meeting. Planners know their audience better than anyone and that should be taken into account. You also need to look at the other activities planned to see if a game fits the schedule and flow. We often see failure when an event tried to tackle too many things at once.

When planning a social media strategy to promote and host an event, what factors should a planner take into consideration for Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn?

This is a question I get all the time and the answer is, “It depends”.  What platforms are your attendees already using? How do you want them to use social media? Do you want information to be shared with the general public, like on Twitter, or is a private group on LinkedIn a better fit? What kind of training are you prepared to offer? Twitter can be a great tool for sharing ideas and sometimes attendees need a little training to help them use it.

Services like Ning.com and MoreConference.com offer the ability to create private social networks for attendees of specific events. Are these still relevant, or have mobile apps for conferences now filled this need?

We are definitely seeing more of this built into apps, but private discussion forums still have value. If you are using a private social network, it’s important to look at the mobile interface and also see what other features are needed. In general people prefer to use one app rather than having to go to multiple apps that do the same thing. There are some exceptions to this so you really need to look at attendees needs before anything else.

If you had to guess, how do you think we’ll be completing this sentence in January 2014: “2013 was the year of __________________ in the meetings industry.”

I would say “Mainstream Mobile”. 

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