Cisco Live 2013 (Orlando) was bigger than ever this year. There was a record breaking 20,000 registered customers, partners, press and analysts. More than 200 of our top partners were in the World of Solutions, representing a year-over-year increase in partner participation. Our host was none other than Blair Christie. She informed and wooed the crowd, tying together the major themes and highlighting special details throughout the week. Along with showcasing the latest and greatest Cisco gear, services, and thought leadership, there was something new this year. There was something special—the Social Media Hub.

The Social Media Hub is ready for day 1.
The Social Media Hub is ready for day 1.

The Social Media Hub

The Social Media Listening and Intelligence team was responsible for executing on the Social Media Hub. The Hub’s whole purpose was to facilitate engagement through both social media activities and live interactions with attendees. It was a first for our team and a first for Cisco Live. We had been supporting various Cisco event teams over the past year, but never to this extent. We built upon our experience designing the Social Media Listening Center and creating social media data visualizations for: Cisco Live US 2012, Collaboration Summit 2012, Cisco Live London 2013, Cisco Live Melbourne 2013, and Partner Summit 2013. The Cisco Live Events team awarded us the opportunity to go several times beyond these efforts for Cisco Live Orlando 2013.


Cisco Live volume of conversations.
Cisco Live volume of conversations.
Cisco Live Twitter activity.
Cisco Live Twitter activity.
Cisco Live total mentions.
Cisco Live total mentions.

The Social Media Hub was setup in a prime location, near the main entrance of the convention center, along the corridor to the registration area. There was a lot of natural traffic in front of the space. It couldn’t be missed. It gave attendees an opportunity to stop and take a look. Many attendees took photos, looked at the social data visualizations, met with our staff, and asked plenty of questions. It was a very lively space. There was a dynamic dialogue between ourselves, attendees, and other Cisco employees. Attendees had their informal gatherings, caught up on email, checked their social media content on the screens, watched the main keynotes, and of course, tweeted about Cisco Live.

The festivities started with a TweetUp, behind the Social Media Hub, the first evening. The most socially active Cisco Live fans came together to network, chat, and Tweet. Carlos Dominguez was the special guest, meeting the crowd, providing an interview, and participating in the fun.

Special guest Carlos Dominguez provides an interview and hangs out with the crowd.
The TweetUp crowd poses for a picture.

Social Media Visualizations

The visualizations at the Social Media Hub were a major wow factor. Our team custom designed the look and feel (down to pixel perfect accuracy), the functionality, the process of curating content, and worked with our developer to have them built. We had created custom social media data visualizations before, but we went beyond those efforts for Cisco Live Orlando. There were three parts to this approach: the data source, the design, and the development. It was a fairly simple, but effective, system. Best of all, we fed the content and managed the screens using Cisco Interactive Services Solution.

Attendees gather to watch a keynote address at the Social Media Hub.
Attendees gather to watch a keynote address at the Social Media Hub.

These visualizations helped to draw people in. The screens were big and blue against a very bright white environment, and had eight different kinds of visualizations. This included streams of posts based on #clus and #ioe, leaderboards, volume graphs, featured tweets, and more. They were constantly being updated with fresh content. Attendees liked seeing their own tweets or photos on the big screens. It encouraged engagement, created competition, and added a fun factor.

Across all categories, we saw record satisfaction scores, engagement in educational sessions and a general excitement for Cisco’s strategic direction as well as the overall Cisco Live experience.—Blair Christie

Behind the Scenes

The look of the Social Media Hub was impressive. However, the bulk of the work was happening behind the scenes and at the individual engagement stations. There were over 46,000 social media mentions related to Cisco Live overall. We had our entire team, as well as our agency, monitoring and engaging through social media. We took over the @CiscoLive Twitter handle and the Cisco Live (US) Facebook page to publish content and respond to attendees. We created our own process to identify different types of content, tag it, route it, and respond to it. We answered a full range of questions, including: When does the World of Solutions open? How do I update my schedule? Can I recharge my mobile phone? What time do the shuttles stop running? At one point, the Social Media Hub team’s engagement volume was so high it exceeded Twitter’s engagement limits. Essentially, we were the social media and live help desk for Cisco Live.

The Social Media Hub in action.
The Social Media Hub in action, helping attendees.

We also ran several contests throughout the week. These all added to the social media engagement effort. All the contests required participants to post to Twitter in order to qualify for the various prizes. We had a photo scavenger hunt that had over 400 posts from participants. Daily leaderboard winners (attendees that tweeted the most with #clus) won a prize. We also had random quizzes and favorite photos. We handed out 500 t-shirts as prizes. This t-shirt was also part of an early pre-event contest. It was designed by an attendee. After day one, we had a core group of several dozen participants that would hover over the Social Media Hub, checking on their status, picking up their prizes, and trying to get in the lead. It caused quite a positive buzz.

Cisco Live Orlando 2013 was a great experience for our team. It was an opportunity to exercise our creative and collaborative skills. We met our objectives and had fun in the process. It could not have been done without the efforts of the entire team: LaSandra Brill, Davythe DicocheaBrian DomineBernadette KoscielniakGeorge Metrik, and Charlie Treadwell. We’re well prepared to do it again, even better, next year.

Detailed Results Presentation

If you’re interested in more detailed results of our social media engagement for Cisco Live, you can take a look at the metrics readout here:


Did you see the Social Media Hub at Cisco Live? What did you think? I welcome your thoughts.