Learning From The Summer Olympics

There is nothing like the Summer Olympics. The World Cup is close, the Winter Olympics are pretty big too, but short of combining American political conventions and all the individual sporting events, we can’t think of a more watched international event that happens with such regularity.


NBC’s American coverage of this year’s Olympic Games was soundly blasted via social networks; people online were upset about tape delays, spoilers and pretty much everything NBC did to broadcast the games in easily watchable chunks.

Yet the vast majority of viewers didn’t care. Ratings were through the roof as most Americans liked being able to watch a few hours of highly produced segments after work and dinner. What does this mean for future event planners?

Your most vocal detractors may not matter much.

While we don’t recommend ignoring social networks, remember to keep numbers in perspective. If most of your customers/attendees/clients enjoyed your work, focus on them first. They pay the bills, right?

The team over at BusyEvent Blog had some great thoughts on what we can learn from the Olympics. The following is our take on a few points.

Social Can’t Be Ignored
Whether it’s complaints from the viewers, athletes being suspended for racist comments or spoilers hitting the web at all hours, it’s important that event planners ride the wave of social commenting.

While social can’t be controlled, it often doesn’t need to be. Interact, listen and treat people digitally just like you would in person. It works.

Hashtag Everything #notreally
Hashtags have been used to denote sarcasm, meta commentary and to make searching for results concerning a particular event easier, but a little hashtagging goes a long way. If you’re an event planner, ask yourself if each session needs a specific hashtag and if a specific hashtag is needed at all.

Yes, it’s great publicity when hashtags trend and attract viewers not at the event, but how unless they have something to add to the existing conversation, it’s just more noise.

Respect Your Celebs
While your conference may not attract internationally or even nationally famous faces, plenty of seemingly regular people are quite internet famous. Why not help them promote your event more? We’re not saying every event needs a VIP room, but doing something a little extra for influential people should help both sides.

Unless it’s money. If it’s money, be sure to compare that against your event ROI.

See you during the Winter Olympics!