Post authored by Mitch Cooper, Marketing Specialist
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others have become household names over the past decade as the usage of social media has skyrocketed. In this era of accessibility, every event planner and organizer is leveraging social media as a promotion tool in some capacity.
But are you doing it correctly?
According to a recent post by Markdebrand, an event-marketing agency, 78% of marketers use social media before an event, while only a 62% use it during and 65% use it after it has ended.
With social media, you can connect to nearly everyone in your target audience thanks to those devices they all have in their pockets.
It’s become such an important part of the social society that people have actually named their babies “Hashtag.”
Thanks to Twitter, a conversation surrounding any subject can be easily found and joined via the hashtag. Of course, your event will have one—everyone’s does. But is it good? Is it easy to remember and easy to find?
Christine Zetzl, digital marketing manager for Visit Indy, told Associations Now that she advises convention and visitors bureaus to place hashtags in a large, visible and interactive format using dynamic visuals while suggesting attendees take photos and share them online.
“We actually created three custom ‘n-d-y’ sculptures where we ask people to stand and be the ‘I’ in Indy,” Zetzl said. “We have seen incredible traction on social media. We’ve counted more than 100,000 people who’ve been the ‘I’ and used the hashtag #LoveIndy, which is on the base of these sculptures.”
Hashtags can also be used as a way to draw out stellar tweets surrounding the event, especially as it’s happening. When people think their nuggets of brilliance might be highlighted for all to see, they’re more likely to engage.
2. Vault into Videos
According to EventMB, one study found that 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. That means if you’re trying to appeal to your target audience to register before a certain time, a well-crafted and interesting pre-registration video—complete with a link to the registration site—may be more apt to convert than without.
More and more brands are beginning to use live feeds on social media, like Facebook Live and Periscope on Twitter. If you have an amazing keynote or something fun that everyone could feel like they’re a part of, these tools can help you tap into that audience even if they aren’t physically with you.
3. Embrace Planned Chaos
We’ve all heard the quote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Yes, you MUST have a pretty solid game plan for your social media before, during and after your event. Having preloaded content set for your social channels is going to help ease the stress of engaging your audience, especially during the hectic days leading up to and during an event.
However, another common adage applies here too: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Preparation is extremely helpful, but no matter what, things will go wrong or take a turn you didn’t anticipate. That’s why you need to plan for the chaos. Always be prepared for the worst, or at the very least, new directions to emerge, along with your detailed map of social content. You can’t be too surprised by something if you’re prepared for anything.
4. Be on the lookout
Whether you have one person or a whole team, keeping an eye on the timelines and newsfeeds of your event is another critical element of leveraging social media to your advantage. As you track what people are saying, it’s always good to watch for any trends that begin to form or what people are mentioning that can be adapted at the current event or for next year.
“If there are a huge amount of tweets about one speaker, I’d want to know why does this speaker have so much more attention and social media engagement around what they did as opposed to everybody else,” said Jeff Ramos, digital creative director, in an interview with BizBash.
This can be valuable information to help your event change in step with your target audience.
Yes, you will be extremely busy at the event and you’ll be running in a million different directions, but that doesn’t mean you simply notice as your likes, comments and mentions roll in. You need to monitor AND continually engage with as many people as you can. Whether you’re fielding questions about a breakout session or trying to rebound from issues raised by attendees, you need to be vigilant on social media.
HubSpot, a company that knows a few things about hosting massive events and how to engage at a rockstar level, believes that keeping the conversation moving online is a major factor in the success of an event.
“No matter what attendees are saying, it’s important to make sure someone can answer their questions as quickly as possible,” writes Hubspot’s Rachel Sprung. “Doing so will reflect positively on your company and on your attendees’ overall experience at your event. Furthermore, encouraging engagement on Twitter could end up causing your hashtag to trend, or at the very least, expand the reach of your event—and your company!”