A 6-year adventure: ZN and TEDxBrussels

Imagine what it’s like to be part of a six-year adventure. Meeting so many people, learning about things you didn’t know were possible, being inspired and reinvigorated. It’s such a thrill. And that’s exactly how we feel at ZN.

Since we co-founded TEDxBrussels in 2009 to the 2014 edition of the event (The Territory and The Map) on Monday, it’s been nothing but an adventure.

Well over 1,600 people were regaled by a lineup of 25 speakers from all sorts of backgrounds in the Bozar – one of the most beautiful European concert halls, where Stravinsky once played and where Obama gave his first speech in the capital of Europe.

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So what did ZN do at TEDxBrussels this year? Read on!

We were in charge of the official social media channels of TEDxBrussels.

Our goal: give maximum resonance to the event via TEDxBrussels’ online channels.

Success! One hour after the event started, TEDxBrussels was already a trending topic in the Belgian twittersphere and it remained a top trending topic for 14 hours! Over 25 million impressions were reached for #TEDxBrussels and an estimated 3-5 million people saw that hashtag!

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How we did it

Step one: planning. This year we had 22 enthusiastic social media rock stars as part of our eager team. We allocated tasks to everyone, making sure they were happy (we didn’t want them to do something they didn’t like!). And everyone set to work planning crib sheets, researching about the authors, and writing messages. The Friday evening and Sunday before the event, we were busy tweaking the final details with the entire TEDxBrussels volunteers’ team (over 40 people).

Step two: logistics. With 22 digital maniacs, a good WiFi connection was needed to upload and download photos and digital drawings all day long. We used a special backroom in the Bozar, shared with the official TEDxBrussels photographers. We also needed prime seats to watch the talks, so we camped out in the main hall balconies, tweeting and posting as fast as lightning.

Step three: focus on social media.

  • Twitter. Lots of our tweets have been carefully prepared. We carried out background research on the speakers, to know the topic of their talk, their twitter handles, their blogs, and websites. Twitter’s also the channel where we posted the best quotes from the speakers in real time and interacted with other twitter users.
  • Facebook. We posted quotes overlaid on official photos, minutes after they were spoken. We uploaded hundreds of photos taken by our team of photographers and Zsofi Lang’s live drawings, sketched on an iPad. And of course we interacted with Facebook fans. We also used Storify the entire day, to highlight the conversations that took place.
  • Instagram. Also an important piece of the puzzle, one of our photographers posted photos and short films directly and exclusively on Instagram.

 

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All that is part of ZN’s DNA. Our experience with TEDx makes the whole process a lot easier and smoother than it would be for a newcomer. But with TEDx being such a rare and exciting event, we feel our experience is still growing and we are still looking for ways to move further ahead.

See you there next year!

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