Social Anticipation: Using the Intention Web for Experience Marketing

Jeremiah Owyang coined the term “Intention Web” to describe social media which captures and promotes users’ future plans. Where the asynchronous web is about the then, the real-time web is about the now, Intention Web properties are about the later.

Event and experiential marketers seem to have been focused on using social media as a sort of historical record of their activities, posting content, including transcripts, photos, videos, Powerpoint presentations etc. after the fact.

Otherwise, the community has begun to embrace the now, talking about what’s happening on Twitter, Facebook and the like, by promoting and encouraging attendees to share their personal experiences real-time during speaking sessions, concerts and brand experiences of all types. By attracting and leveraging as many followers as possible marketers are able to broadcast updates and engage audiences well beyond the physical experience.

But what about the future? Aside from simply listing an event on Facebook, Linkedin or your favorite social network, what are you doing to build excitiment, drive anticipation, generate audience and foster community before your event takes place?

There are a few Intention-based social networks that specialize in driving this anticipation. Here they are, along with some ideas for how to best use them in your event marketing program.

Dopplr: “Dopplr is a service for smart international travelers. Dopplr members share personal and business travel plans privately with their networks, and exchange tips on places to stay, eat and explore in cities around the world. Dopplr presents this collective intelligence – the travel patterns, tips and advice of the world’s most frequent travellers – as a Social Atlas. You can use Dopplr on a personal computer and a mobile phone.” Setting up a profile is easy. Then you can build your network easily by inviting friends from: Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Outlook, or type in your own email addresses. Travel plans need to be fairly specific, and the carbon footprint section is interesting. While Dopplr is not about events, its a great resource for travel planning for a specific city with restaurants, hotels and activities explored in each location. Look for more mobile integration for Dopplr with their iphone App and recent acquisition by Nokia.

Meetup: “The world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.” This group-centric site makes it really easy to find groups and their activities in locations where you are or are traveling to. You basically have two options: Find a Meetup Group or Start a Meetup Group. Finding a group is easy. Just type in a few keywords, and the site will serve up all the groups in your area that meet on the topics you’re interested in. Once you select a group, you’ll be brought to their page where you can sign up for “meetups” post pictures, and participate in the group forums. You can also share group activities with Facebook and Twitter. To create a group is also simple, but there is a nominal cost ($12 – $19 per month depending on length of commitment) to keep the group listed. Once you’ve created a group you can invite folks to join, promote your group r meetups through the site or other channels or simply wait for them to come to you via keyword search.

Plancast: “Plancast is the easiest way for you to share your plans with friends and discover what others are doing in the future.” This lightweight application allows users to keep tabs on what people are doing in real life. Simply create a profile (name, picture, location, bio) and you’re on your way. From there you can post What you’re planning, When it occurs and where it happens. You can subscribe to other users, or they can subscribe to you, this way plans are shared. Plancast seamlessly integrates with Facebook, Twitter and Google Buzz, so your plans can be posted across your social networks, and subscribers (think friends, followers, etc) can be invited to join you on Plancast. Once you post your plan, others can plan on attending or participating. Plancast is an easy way to organize nights out, tweetups or major events. It’s all about the subscribers, so build your network and use Plancast to get together.

Tripit: “TripIt turns chaos into order by making it easy for anyone to: Organize trip details into one master online itinerary — even if arrangements are booked at multiple travel sites, Automatically include maps, directions and weather in their master itinerary, Have the option to book restaurants, theatre tickets, activities and more right from within the online itinerary, Safely access travel plans online, share them, check-in for flights, or print an itinerary.” The interesting thing about Tripit is the ability to share your plans with others. Like Dopplr, this functionality can help users organize formal or informal meet-ups in cities where they are traveling to. You can add friends through email address books (e.g., aol, gmail, hotmail, live, msn & yahoo), my entering individual email addresses, or through Linkedin. Tripit also has a host of applications to try out from iGoogle integration to groups which let’s you track the itineraries and locations of people within groups you assign. Check out the interactive map that plots where people are traveling to. Tripit Pro also has some interesting functionality including tracking your frequent flyer program points and getting travel alerts. No other service does a better job integrating with social media applications like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google, etc. Its a great tool to organize not only your own itineraries, but those of your entire team.

Upcoming: “Upcoming is a community for discovering and sharing events. It can help you find stuff to do, discover what your friends are doing, or let you keep private events online for your own reference.” You’ll need a Yahoo ID to join Upcoming, as it is a Yahoo property. Once you’re in you can create a basic profile. Adding friends is a bit more challenging, you need to know their names or do a search for existing members. Alternatively you an invite users via email. Finding events is as simple as entering a subject (keyword) and location, and upcoming will seve up all upcoming events in your area. Adding an event is also quite simple. Other features include integration with music sites like, Pandora and iTunes to add concerts. Additionally, you can join groups to subscribe to their forums and events, or check out places to get information on all the happenings in your favorite locales. The only interaction with other social sites on Upcoming seems to be the ability to share events on Facebook. Upcoming seems to be more about posting and finding events than driving community or building personal profiles for interaction.

In conclusion, these are just some of the Intention Web sites you’ll find out there. Facebook and Linkedin already have some pretty robust event applications. And sites like Socializr, Baseloop are more geared toward smaller, friendly get-togethers. Deciding which application(s) to use is largely dependent on what you’re trying to accomplish. For managing travel to other cities with groups of folks or across your communities, consider Tripit. For connecting with your communities on the social web and sharing plans, Plancast is the way to go. For promoting your community look to Meetup. How are you using the Intention Web to build anticipation and coordinate your plans?

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