I am the Walrus… Coo, Coo, Kachoo. Oh wait, this is not an article about the Beatles. I made a mistake. This is an article about the one thing that everyone should do at events but no one knows how to do, even though the most basic forms of the technology are almost 10 years old . We can fix that, because I am the Walrus… Oh crap, I am not the Wallrus, they are the Wallrus and of course we are talking about Social Media Visualization, AKA, the Twitter Wall, whatever wall, which has now become the Social Media Wall and in this case, the Twitter and Instagram Wall which are really the only two social media streams that matter at a meeting or event and they are now why we to spell Walrus, W-a-l-l-r-u-s. Get it. Corny yes but the tool is cool and corny is the new hip. Just ask anyone that works with me.
So, what the heck am I talking about anyway.
Before we talk about the Wallrus, let’s talk about visualizing social media at an event because this is something that you are probably not doing and as mentioned above, the tech has been around forever (no kidding, here is a post I wrote back in 2010) . No one is doing it even though attendees are using social media like their fingers are on fire. They are posting updates to Twitter and photos to Instagram and they should be doing it while using your event or conference Hashtag because you told them there was a Hashtag….right?
Now, their colleagues, friends, and everyone across the interwebs are all caught up on what they are experiencing. Pretty cool. Just walk around your event and take the social pulse, people are tagging each other, checking posts, updating their whereabouts on their smartphones and tablets. You can use this to your benefit by getting your attendees to look up.
All over your event you have empty walls, empty screens, and tons of people that want to be engaged. In the general session, in the breakouts, and behind the registration desk social media can be made social in the real sense by using those walls and screens to show your social feeds and the Wallrus just might be the tool to help you get there.
How meeting planners can Visualize Social Feeds with the Wallrus
- The Wallrus displays pictures from Instagram and Twitter in real-time on screens or walls (you supply the wall or screen and the computer of course)
- You can moderate and approve the images from a computer, phone, or tablet
- The platform has a bunch of layout options
- You can use a pre-built theme and just upload your logo or you can have a designer create a theme from scratch
- They say you can get up and running in less than 10 minutes
- They offer video integration and you can upload your media to their site and it will be in the rotation with social posts
- They are not cheap, but good things cost money… They do have a free option. Don’t use the free option
- Different screens in different rooms. This is cool, you can create as many screens as you want and show different things to different audiences
- The platform acts as an ad server so you can promote and sell ads that will show on the Social Walls (sponsorships anyone!)
They have plans ranging from Free to Agency level and I am guessing most conferences would fall at the $195 to $495 rate…. I do have to mention that I hate how they do pricing. I don’t have a problem with the rate, I have a small beef with how it is thought out and presented. The cost is not meeting planner friendly, meaning, that is not clear. The rate is for a day. You can add days and it gets cheaper the more days you add. Why not just have a 1, 2, or 3 day rates without me having to ask. Would be easier to budget for…. Anyway, a small gripe that I can move past. Car Dealers suck at pricing too, that does not mean I am going to avoid buying a car. Same here. So I had to ask… Not a huge deal.
The Real World…
While we all expect products to work out of the box and be perfect but we all can’t be Apple. My first trial with the Wallrus was on the rocks. I created my account and attempted to make an event and the system would not allow me to enter a hashtag and when I hit the GoLive button, I got a really cute error message saying that they forgot to feed the Wallrus. While I did appreciate the attempt at making a struggle a little more humorous, my initial thought was “uh oh” what if this had happened at a 15,000 person conference.
This is where the story could have gone really bad and I could have walked away…. But to my surprise, it actually got better…
I contacted support (mind you, it was 12:03 pm on a Sunday afternoon when this happened) to see what was up. Wouldn’t ya know it, a mere 4 minutes later, I had a response that they had been working on the system and to go ahead and try again and BAM… Worked like a charm… That is a credit to the Wallrus team.
Support is important and knowing what the issue was and getting me up and running that quick means that I can have confidence in using the service for a live event. You know nothing about anyone until the crap hits the fan. They did good, so in this case, I am able to say that if you ever have an issue, based on my experience, they should be able to help you correct it super fast.
Try and get one of those big legacy online registration companies to listen to you on any day, never mind a Sunday. You will be whistling zippity doo dah out your &^$%@%@%.
The Bottom Line
I like the Wallrus. I really do and no, they did not give me buckets of money or a yacht to write this post, I do it from the eventiness of my heart. If you bump into them, let them know that I would really dig a cool, sleek yacht once they get bought by eTouches or Google. They can send it to me via Lake Michigan. They are in Canada. Just sail that sucker across the lake. Sorry, my mind is drifting again. I really need a yacht to go and find a Walrus… or a record store.
The Wallrus works, is super simple to set up (it was really 10 minutes), and uses two platforms that are perfect for events…..Twitter and Instagram. They do it all at fairly reasonable rates… And it looks awesome.
I give them a PlannerWire thumbs up. The Wallrus is worthy of meeting planners that are looking to make social, social.