SMS and Zapier - A Virtual Event Solution

Like many other companies across the globe, Participate Technologies, a South African based audience engagement company, has had to adapt their business solutions to suit the current COVID-19 requirements. Before the pandemic hit South Africa, their use of SMS was quite simple: they sent SMS messages out to each delegate of the event they were managing prompting them to download a custom made Event App.

But as soon as lockdown came into effect, they had to change their strategies. No-one was attending events. And, as leaders in audience engagement, they had to find different ways to help their clients engage with their respective audiences.

According to Media Manager, Sven Leisegang, “Since the COVID-19 lockdown, we’ve needed to pivot to fully digital solutions. We have branched out to offer Virtual Events and AGMs to our clients, which has come with its own set of challenges.”

Access to Virtual Events Using SMS OTPs

“Our clients want to ensure that the right people are attending their online events, which means that we cannot let anybody just download and access our Event App.” Enter One Time Pins (OTPs). Sven explained that, “We’re still sending out the initial SMS, with the link for the Event App, but now we’re validating the user prior to accessing it as well. When someone clicks on the link to load and access the App, an automated trigger sends an OTP message to each event participant as they download our App.”

Voting in AGMs Using SMS OTPs

Sven went on to tell us that, “A few of our clients are responsible for facilitating Annual General Meetings for their members. Because AGMs have strict membership and attendance requirements, we needed to come up with a solution where they could validate any votes coming out of each AGM”. Again, Sven chose to send a one time pin (OTP) via SMS to authenticate each member’s vote.

“We set up a trigger for SMS, again using Zapier, this time connected to Gravity Forms. When it comes time to cast the vote, the member fills in the relevant field on the form. This triggers the Zapier automation and an SMS is sent directly to the relevant member, who then enters their OTP. In this way, the votes are accurately counted and attributed to the relevant AGM member and meeting,” says Sven.

Why SMS?

When asked why SMS was chosen as part of the engagement strategy, Sven said that SMS is a logical, quick, and cost-effective solution. “We first started using SMS because we found that delegates were more likely to download our Event App through a link sent via SMS, as opposed to email. Afterwards, when we had to move our solutions to be completely virtual, the Zapier integrations made it easy to create the correct triggers and test the processes without the need for external developers,” says Sven.

To find out more about the BulkSMS App on Zapier, click here. Or take a look at some more ways our clients are using it.