Canadian Special Events Live & Gala 2018 Overview

We have finally had time to come down from the high that is one of Canada’s largest events shows for the events industry – The Canadian Special Events Live & Canadian Event Industry Awards Gala. As you can imagine, it was an immersive experience that delivered on its promised when it came to experiential marketing.

We were brought on as the social media sponsors for the two-day event and captured all that was the conference, The Imaginarium, and Wednesday evening’s gala and award show – and displayed it online for all to see.


Canadian Special Events Live – Overview

As expected, the Imaginarium showcased the best in ways to engage your attendees and leave a favourable impression on them. It included everything from interactive games, new technology and hands-on activities, to food, decor and mood-setting tabletop pieces. 

The volunteers really helped make the show the great success that it was. Not only were they always there to ensure the attendees had assistance when required, but they also were super supportive of the sponsors, vendors and event staff. Thank you a thousand times over! 
The venue – The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel was a fabulous setting to showcase not only all of the amazing speakers and presentations but also the trade show floor. The staff was friendly, the food was inclusive of all dietary restrictions, and they were a part of the event just enough that it didn’t feel intrusive. 
Like with many events, there were some behind-the-scenes changes and additions to programming, but all of the events experts were quick and enthusiastic to step up to the plate and share their wealth of knowledge. Every single speaker added tremendous value for the attendees. 

So what were some of OUR major takeaways from #CSELIVE18?

Top event trends we heard about:

Pop Kollaborative talked about one (okay, two) of our favourite things – strategy (Ashley’s anyway) and food- and the importance of being inclusive to include all dietary restrictions. Ken Kristoffersen and Meghan Hird covered off tips surrounding strategy, planning, executing and the importance of all of the tiny pieces that make up your event puzzle. As vegetarians, we can totally get behind this!

Fifth Element Group’s  very own Aaron Kaufman fascinated attendees by discussing the importance of Experiences. Our specific takeaway from his fantastic presentation is pertaining to the notion of ROI vs ROO. Many people that hire not only us but all event professionals, want to talk about dollars and cents – and understand the Return on their Investment. However, with events, in particular, it’s important to focus on the Return on your marketing objectives. The marketing industry, like events, is often based on return on objectives rather than on investment. Just think of some of the ways you can see your ROO – awareness, social media stats, marketing qualified leads, earned media, positive feedback or testimonials.

Keynote speaker, Julius Solaris of Event Manager’s Blog enlightened guests on the upcoming hottest trends of 2018, including food, tech, and engagement (shout out to LIVE EVENTS SOCIAL!) There’s way too much to write here but we love acronyms because they are extra shareable, so Julius was all about putting FIRE into your events – Flawless execution, Idea, Relevance, Engagement

Top trends we saw:

Personalization and customization continue to be hot buttons. Humans go to events to have experiences. No matter how much events are planned to the minute, attendees will still have their own experience, so why not cater it to them as much as possible. We loved getting our own Selffee cookie. It’s a bit weird to eat your own face, but delicious nonetheless.


Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality are growing in popularity. With advancements in technology, it’s no surprise that VR/AR is popular, especially at events. Headsets allow you to have semi-real experiences alongside real experiences at an event. And who didn’t enjoy sitting in that moving chair and throwing their hands up on the virtual roller-coaster? Don’t lie, we heard the shrieks! 

Interacting online. Julius Solaris spoke about the importance of engaging your attendees both online and offline. As a new company, we never really know how people are going to respond to our services. The crowd at CSE Live seemed excited to share their experiences, photos using the event hashtag (further strengthening the idea of experiences and engagement). #Winning 

Canadian Event Industry Awards Gala – Overview

The gala was as expected (and that is not cutting it short – when you are attending a gala for event professional by event professionals, you expect big things). They hit every touch-point from the amazing venue (Hotel X Toronto) to entertainment and photo-ops the moment you walk in the door, and Hors d’oeuvres fit for a king (or queen) spread out all along the main floor. It was an environment meant for networking, and networking people did.
The show itself also went off without a hitch. Some of the nations best AV came standard, including a hologram that was shot backstage before the announcer came out on stage himself – where he got to talk to his own hologram. It was something you’d expect at a huge performance, and we had it right there at the CSE awards.
And the moment everyone had been waiting for… The announcement of the Event Professional of the Year award!

Congratulations Brent! We are thrilled to have been a part of your Journey to the top!
(Brent is part of Timewise – The event producers of the successful GoWest Conference)

After the awards, there was more food and entertainment. Stations with different tastes for different palates, including an entire room designated for desserts (#WeLoveChocolate), welcomed the crowd out the door. Abbey Road set up arcade games and casino tables, and there was also a mini art gallery for those with ‘more refined’ tastes.

Overall the Awards show was a showcase of the best, from the stage to the production – and we are so thrilled to have been a part of the entire thing.

Event Overview Online:

Canadian Special Events Live was our official Toronto launch, after doing three amazing shows in Calgary, Alberta. We think it was extremely successful! By the end of the first day, people knew who we were, were excited to talk to us, and even those less social media savvy folks were getting comfortable chatting with others using the event hashtag. As an official CSELive sponsor, we got a chance to get up close and personal with many of the speakers and other sponsors and pick their brains, further adding to the gold mine of content that was shared throughout the show. 


Pre-made Posts:

The reach success of our online activity was due impart by pre-made posts through which we had the opportunity to tag important contributors to the event. These posts were re-designed to suit each platform both in size and content. All platforms are unique, and the content accompanying each image had to be as well (different tone, hashtags, tags, etc).


Each speaker, whether keynote or session lead, had an image created for them. This allowed them to share and promote themselves, as well as gain support of their followers for CSE.






Sponsors are what make an event happen. They provide everything from lighting, sound and venue, to food, digital support or entertainment. When is the last time you went to an event that didn’t have those things? Each sponsors had a custom shout out and image during the time of their sponsorship involvement.

Featured Vendors:

We created templates prior to the event to ensure smooth sailing on the day of. We were able to capture photos of the booths during the Imaginarium and post the final images throughout the afternoon.

All Vendors:

For those who were not also sponsors, we made sure to showcase each and every booth with a live Instagram story showcase. Like on social media where everyone wants to be heard, event vendors want to feel like their contribution to the event is valued – and boy did we see some great vendors. Here’s a sample:

Awards Nominees:

It’s difficult to bring a full computer set up to an awards show. For one, it doesn’t fit in your clutch and it’s heavy to cart around with heels. These awards nominee slides were key and resulted in a 1.5k reach post on Facebook alone. Each image was posted and tagged with the various companies nominated for each and every category to promote further sharing of nominees on their own social channels.


Facebook CSE Overview:

Likes, likes, and more likes.

While we always stress that ‘likes’ do not pay the bills, when it comes to a 2.5 day event, building up a following is a task.

In this case, the main takeaway is not the number of likes received, it is where they received them. The chart here shows that most of the likes happened on the CSE Facebook page itself. This is gold. This means that people came to the page itself to see what was happening and liked what they saw rather than just seeing something on a feed and absent mindedly clicking ‘like’. It was not glazed-over – it was an actionable step to learn more. #CallToAction


And why did they come to the page?

Quality content.


Reach for the stars – if you miss, you’ll fall among the +2,000 others who saw our CSE Live posts

Do you see that spike? Those 2 peaks are the first day of the conference, and the awards evening – that’s right, just the evening – of the Gala. The CSE posts were far reaching for the entirety of the event, all through organic posting and engaging, and, most importantly, tagging.

The majority of our posts reached over 200 people, with many falling in the 600-700 range, and our most popular hitting over 1.5k!


Twitter CSE Overview:

Twitter saw huge spikes across the board – 877.5% increase in profile visits? Can’t ask for more than that!

Twitter was full of live videos, quote tweets, candid shots, and a total summary of the conference and tradeshow – Perfect for building FOMO for next year.

Instagram CSE Overview:

The days of the event, the reach of the page and posts skyrocketed.

The numbers below are substantial, mostly because the CSE had just over 1000 followers when we started so a reach of this magnitude, and actions exceeding 1,396 means that we were engaging those beyond the network on all 3 days.

The other takeaway from this is that Thursday there was no event, and yet the posts’ effect lasted well beyond the day-of.

It is no surprise who the followers are, but is still something to watch and note on all accounts to ensure the content you are sharing is targeted to the people who are looking for it.


























Did you miss this years event? No worries! Follow #CSELive18 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and you can get all caught up (minus the hundreds of stories that have long since expired).

It was a blast, the food was amazing, and the people were positive and empowered – and that is what events are all about.


If you have an event coming up that would benefit from live social media (let’s be honest, they all will), please reach out 🙂

We currently cater to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and the Greater Toronto Area – and are always expanding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *