Case study: Social Media Summit

Social Media Summit Ireland took place on 11th – 12th April 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. The Summit brought together leading social media professionals both nationally and internationally to highlight the importance of incorporating social media into your marketing strategy and demonstrate how it can add real value to your business in terms of both revenue and business growth.


The Background

Social Media Summit was founded in 2016 by ‘Tweeting Goddess’ Samantha Kelly who saw the international appeal of conferences like Social Media Marketing World and the gap in the European market. Hosting 180 small business owners from around the country, Social Media Summit 2016 speakers were digital marketing professionals, such as Felicity McCarty from Spark Digital, and Social Media influencers, such as Ted Rubin, who spoke about the importance of social media in marketing strategies, taught strategic advice on how to use different social platforms for businesses, and prophesied on what’s coming next for social media. Cogs & Marvel, having attended Social Media Summit in 2016, saw the huge potential in the event. We acquired Social Media Summit in July 2016, bringing Samantha Kelly on as Brand Ambassador and Advisor for the 2017 event. Reinventing the brand to appeal to a more focused segment of the audience looking to grow their brand identity and public perception through social media, Cogs & Marvel looked at the fundamentals of what Social Media Summit was and what it could be. Social Media Summit 2017 was designed to allow people to learn from their industry peers who have found success on social media, demonstrating how to gain a return on their time and financial investments, and gain actionable knowledge they could take home from the conference and implement immediately.


#SMSummitIRL trended #1 in Ireland and, on Day One, trended #50 internationally, reaching over ten million people.


The Team

Senior Project Manager Louise Kennedy took on the role of event lead, overseeing all aspects of the event with guidance from our CEO, Dave Smyth and US CEO Roisin Callaghan. All aspects of the event were managed in-house; as such, the entire Cogs & Marvel team contributed to the event, from project managers and registration to design, sales, marketing, travel, and finance.


The Venue

Croke Park was the natural fit for this event: in our experience, its in-house event team and the venue’s contemporary design, accessible location, and catering are unmatched for conferences of this size in Dublin. Their technical facilities are also among the best in Europe, which was vital for an event such as this where internet access would be critical.



The Event Plan

At Cogs & Marvel, we believe every event should have a story; to find this story we need to know who our audience will be. We reviewed the previous year’s attendee profiles, breaking them down into industries and seniority level, before we began empathy mapping their profiles into a list of needs and wants. This process brought us to our event theme: Make Your Social Media Pay, conveying the message to potential attendees that at Social Media Summit they would receive a return on their spend, learning how to make an investment in social media pay. We used the process of empathy mapping to understand what our attendees would want from the summit, a process we adopted f om the Event Storyboard Canvas: a Dutch created event design methodology which helps the event designer craft a story around a set of specific needs. We developed a programme with a mix of real-life case studies, social media gurus, agency specialists, and leading social brands to give attendees a 360-degree view of the industry and where it’s heading.


95% of attendees said their objectives were met by the event.



The Marketing Plan

As this was a conference about social media, the social media campaign would be under intense scrutiny and used as a direct litmus test against the perceived quality of the event to come. We ran display ads and a cross-social media campaign, targeting our predefined audience. We ran a street ad campaign asking people to “get a better social media plan”, playing up to the fact that some of the most viral videos out there on social media feature cats – we wanted to show that we could debunk the mystery surrounding social media and demonstrate that its power can be harnessed to promote a business, not just show a cat playing the piano!



The Keynote Live Stream

On Day One we streamed the Mari Smith keynote session to her 200,000 Facebook followers to boost the profile of the event and to expand our online reach. The video was viewed by 5,700 people.



The Brand

As part of the acquisition, Cogs & Marvel’s design team redesigned and relaunched the entire brand. Based on the brief set out by our strategic team, Sonja, our Senior Designer devised the logo and brand identity in keeping with the objectives of the event. We carried this through all collateral, from marketing material, sales brochures, tickets, agendas and onsite branding.


The App

We created an event app which allowed delegates, speakers and exhibitors to chat and arrange meet-ups during the event; the app also allowed delegates to select their track and post reviews and comments after each session.



The Website

We designed a new website to reflect our new identity and brand ambition. The website was a place you could read our regular blogs, view speaker updates, download the app and purchase tickets. Its slick design and visual appeal received excellent feedback while also providing the user with a smooth path-to-purchase route.


98% of attendees said they are likely to attend again in 2018.


The Results

In the days following Social Media Summit attendee blog entries appeared recapping their experience of the Summit. The feedback was resoundingly positive, showcasing how much they had learned at the event and the benefits of attending. In post-event correspondence with the delegates, in which we shared presentation slides and event images, we sent out a feedback form which backed up these posts and conveyed the unanimously positive event experience while giving us guidance on how to approach Social Media Summit 2018.


At Cogs & Marvel, we believe that every time you get a group of people together, whether they be staff, customers, partners or consumers, you have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you. You have an opportunity to turn passive admirers into an army of advocates for your corporate brand. Cogs & Marvel is an event agency that creates brand experiences to delight in the moment and inspire lasting change.

Want to inspire change in your audience? Get in touch with the Cogs & Marvel team.

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