Social Media Walls at the OECD Forum

OECD engages the audience and showcases the busy stream of social media conversation

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OECD organises OECD Week every year. The event comprises not only a meeting of the OECD Council at ministerial level but also the OECD Forum.

Walls.io at the OECD Forum Paris 2016
Walls.io at the OECD Forum Paris

OECD Forum is a yearly event that brings influencers from various sectors of civil society together. 250 high-level speakers will lead the discussion of current social and economic challenges. The key issues of this year’s conference are:

  • Productivity and inclusive growth
  • Innovation and the digital economy
  • International collaboration

Everyone’s Opinions Matter

But the OECD Forum isn’t just for heads of governments or countries, for CEOs, NGOs, and other leaders. It’s also a public event and free to attend.

Anyone can attend the public conference to gain insights into the topics that shape our society. They get to take part in the discussion, whether it’s by asking questions in panels or by joining so-called Discussion Cafés.

To make public participation even easier, OECD is driving an ambitious social media strategy, engaging attendees on multiple social networks.

Embracing User-Generated Live Video Content

Like most conferences, OECD has the basic social networks like Twitter and Facebook covered. However, they’re putting a particular emphasis on video content. Attendees are encouraged to post to Vine, and even to stream live via Periscope and Facebook Live using the hashtag #OECDwk.

The Periscope station at the OECD Week 2015 events.
The Periscope station at OECD Week (© OECD)

We’ve talked to Alison Benney, social media manager at OECD about the social media strategy for OECD Forum.

Alison Benney

Alison Benney

Social Media Manager, OECD

Is this the first time you are using a hashtag for an OECD event?

We’ve been using the #OECDwk hashtag for our annual OECD Forum since 2010, and we have experimented with social media walls since 2012.

What is your main goal in setting up a social media wall with Walls.io?

What we’d like to do is showcase the busy stream of social media conversation, plus be able to focus on the top tweets, on single VIP or unusual posts, plus display a map of activity and more.

How big a role does social media, as a means to engage, play in the conference?

We try to engage in a handful of the social media platforms that we think are the most useful to our participants, that also provide the widest sharing of, and engagement in the main messages from the Forum and OECD work in general.

So in addition to live-tweeting and using Wisembly for our interactive tool within sessions, we have a Vine stand with toys and tools to help participants create a six-second message.

We used Periscope last year and will be introducing Facebook Live this year to do interviews, and share the excitement of the event in real time. We also have a photo booth, called SharingBox, which will take selfies with a message and print the photo out for each participant.

How big is the internal social media effort for the OECD Forum?

We have 35 twitter accounts, a handful of Facebook accounts, plus a corporate LinkedIn and Instagram account. Most of these will be used at different times during the Forum. We make sure that each session is live-tweeted, if only with a handful of posts.

Our @OECDlive account will be busy all day, live-tweeting sessions as well as the activities around the social media booth: Periscope, Vine, our SharingBox photo booth.

How are you promoting the hashtag?

The hashtag has been integrated into all our branding, correspondence and promotion for the last six weeks, and at the event it will be visible on a wide staircase, as well as within rooms, on screens, etc.

The hashtag #OECDwk is displayed on a staircase at the venue of the 2015 OECD Forum conference.
The #OECDwk hashtag on a staircase at the venue during OECD Forum. (© OECD)

Where are you embedding the social wall?

The social wall will be displayed on 9 LED screens pulled together as well as embedded on our social media site for the Forum.

A Truly Interactive Conference

OECD goes way beyond the standard conference effort of promoting a hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and setting up a photo booth at the event. They’re encouraging attendees to create video messages on Vine and broadcast their opinions via Periscope and Facebook Live.

They’ve even made sessions interactive by using Wisembly, which makes it possible for every attendee of a conference to have a voice. Tying everything together is the hashtag #OECDwk.

Have you thought of using live video content, generated by attendees at your conference or event before? Do you think it’s time to make this part of your social media strategy? Does it add more opinions to an event or just more noise?