How to use Social Media Tools to automate conferences

How to use Social Media Tools to Automate Conferences or Events

Tomorrows-Future-TodayIf you run meetings, events or conferences there are some great social media tools that can automate a range of tasks that will save you a significant amount of time.

This week I had a fascinating conversation with Chris Nancy from Servicesphere who organizes a conference call TFT (Tomorrow’s Future Today).  It is the worlds first 24 hour, global, follow the sun virtual conference and is going to have a huge impact on how conferences are run in the future.

Thanks to Nick Kellett from who introduced me to Chris.  Nick’s tool was part of the automation used by Chris.

Business Objective of this article

There are plenty of articles about the conference.  My interest is the automation using the tools.  My objective on this article is for you to consider how you can automate some tasks for content curation and distribution.   This could be for meetings, events or conferences or other areas of social media that might spring to mind!


Crowdsourcing the speakers using

Chris uses to crowd source the speakers. allows you to create a list that can sit on the site or you can embed it on your own site.  When you create this list it’s not a static list.  People can interact with the list.  To figure out the best speakers Chris created a list and anyone could add speakers on to the list.  You can then vote for people in the list.  So the people with the most votes ended up near top of the list.


Listly is a dynamic list and within this list you can vote for items up or down the list

Think about how you could use

  • Run a competition for the best speaker
  • Create a list for all the speakers books to help promote them
  • Create a list of the top blog posts created by participants after the conference
  • Let people vote for the best sessions after the conference is over


Content Distribution through Zapier

Zapier allows you to automate tasks through various services on the web.  As part of the conference Chris wanted to automate distribution of the content and make it available to all participants in whatever format they wanted.  Here is what he automated:

The conference is a Google Hangout on Air so content is put on Youtube (no automation required)

  • Zapier takes an RSS feed from Youtube and puts this into Dropbox
  • This video is automatically uploaded to Vimeo
  • Audio guy is notified automatically of a new video and creates an audio file and places into drop box
  • This audio is automatically picked up and loaded onto iTunes and SoundCloud
  • The Audio transcription guy is notified of the audio and transcribes it to a Google doc which is placed back onto Dropbox
  • The content is automatically distributed to Evernote, BrightTalk and Kindle
  • This is then taken and a blog post is automatically created

This is all very easy to set up with Zapier.  Here is an example of how you set up the automation in Zapier to take the RSS feed from Youtube and create a text file in drop box which is uploaded to Vimeo.

You select the source (Youtube) and the event (new video uploaded by a user) and then you set the destination (Dropbox) and the associated event (create text file).

Zapier Zap
When something happens (trigger) you then want an action


You connect up both your accounts Youtube and Dropbox and then specify what username you are watching to see when they upload a video.


Zapier Youtube user
Specify the user name that you are monitoring on youtube. The automation will kick in when that user uploads a video


You then specify details of the directory where the file goes:


Zapier Directory
Specify the details where the file goes

This level of automation could save event/conference organizers a ton of time!

What additional automation could Chris do?

  • A file could be automatically created which contains the links to a video recording, audio recording and blog post and then aweber could automatically send an e-mail to all e-mail subscribers.
  • When the video, blog or sound recording is made available  a variety of social media channels could all be automatically notified (e.g. tweets generated)
  • Feedback on any of the conference sessions could be collected online from the participants and put into a drop box file.  Zapier could pick this up and append it all to a Google doc.  This Google doc could be posted to someone to report on.


If you’re running a meeting, event or conference there’s always some repetitive tasks.  If you plan things out correctly you could easily automate a range of  these tasks.

If you’re investing in tools make sure they interoperate with a range of other tools.

You need to let people consume content on the device they want to, in the format they want and automation can be great help in this area.

What Chris is doing in relation to the conference and how he manages content curation and distribution is really innovative.  Can you bring this level of innovation to your organization?

When you are considering using tools are you considering interoperability?  Can you use tools such as Zapier?




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