Evan Peterson

CME Group’s Evan Peterson on capturing social content during their Global Financial Leadership Conference

CME Group Director of Corporate Marketing Evan Peterson shared a case study at Member Meeting 32 in Chicago on social media content strategy around their Global Financial Leadership Conference. Here are some highlights from his presentation.

“A lot of the industry events we were going to looked the same,” says Even Peterson CME Group Director of Corporate Marketing.

“We were seeing the same faces, the same venues, and the same people we knew. They're valuable events, but we wanted to do something different — especially for our customers,” he explains.

So eight years ago, CME Group introduced the Global Financial Leadership Conference (or GLFC). The goal: Create a TED-like event for the financial industry to help fill a gap in the conversation as well as position CME Group as a thought leader.

The invite-only conference for high-level executives has featured some pretty big names over the years: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Richard Branson, for example.

But, Evan says, “More than just having a fun, fancy conference to go to, we wanted people who could talk about these larger economic issues with a lot of authority and present that to our customers.”

With so many great presenters and high-profile attendees, CME Group saw a big opportunity to collect great social content.

That way, they could broaden their reach beyond the private event while building their reputation as a leading financial exchange company.

We've been able to build on with more and more social presences each year. Last year was the first year we added Instagram,” Evan says.

When they started the GLFC, CME Group didn't have a social presence at all.

“We started with zero when we introduced the conference. Now we have over a million followers.”

In fact, with all of their social presences combined, CME Group has the largest social media following in their industry. One of CME Group's biggest social assets: their digital magazine.

“For our magazine, we created content that wasn't about selling products or talking ourselves up in any way, but really just talking about ideas.”

Adam says that's why the digital magazine and their conference all about spreading ideas went hand-in-hand. Live tweeting, videos, blog posts, interviews, and photos from the conference feed the magazine with great content. But to do it, they do a lot of content planning in advance.

Before the conference, Adam and his team work with agency partners to answer these questions:

  • What types of content can they get from each session?
  • How interested is our audience? For example, they CME Group was surprised to see content from some lesser-known (yet more relevant speakers) attracted a much bigger audience than content from more famous speakers.
  • What can we do in real time?
  • Are there any restrictions or sensitivities? With high-profile speakers like Hillary Clinton, CME Group faces some challenges with what they can and cannot share. (Just ask one of their reporters who had their phone confiscated by the secret service.)

Once they've determined what kind of content they can produce, they decide where to integrate it.

For example, Facebook is all about headlines and photos. For Instagram, behind-the-scenes content. On Twitter, they focus on live tweeting almost every session. Evan says that's where they've seen a surprising growth in interaction from their attendees.

“They're mostly high-level executives from asset firms, hedge funds, and different financial firms. So we were a little surprised to see that engagement,” he explains.

In the future, they're looking to give attendees even more ways to engage on social.

In addition to an interactive media wall, they've created a new proprietary app for GFLC that combines live social feeds around the event with CME Group's real-time messaging.

Say hi to Evan on Twitter, check our his full presentation here, or download his slide deck.