Social media is an intrinsic part of how people experience almost everything these days. And that is especially true when it comes to events, with social sharing and digital engagement providing a greater level of impact and an avenue for significantly amplifying your event strategy. So we sat down with Corey Perlman, a sought-after speaker on social media for expert tips on how event planners can develop a thoughtful and comprehensive event strategy to successfully boost their next meeting by harnessing the power of social media.
Since no event starts at registration or ends with the closing keynote, your social media strategy should parallel the life cycle of the event—pre-event, on-site and post-event. It’s also important to consider who your target audience is to determine which platform(s) to use—which sites will enable you to reach your clients while enhancing the scope of your audience? With 320 million active users (and counting), Twitter is one of the most popular (and user-friendly) platforms to promote events.
Social activity leading up to the event is all about creating buzz and attracting the right people to your event! This is the time to inform and intrigue followers, broaden your reach, and start to encourage conversation and engagement around your event.
Create A Memorable, User-Friendly Event Hashtag
- Consider including initials or numbers to create a hashtag that is short, unique and easy to remember. A little research can help you identify if one is taken/has already been used, so you can avoid intermingling your event conversation with someone else’s and confusing followers.
- Incorporate your hashtag on your event website, in promotional communications and even some unconventional locations, like inserting it into your email signature—just like anything else, the more exposure a hashtag gets, the better the chance that people will use and remember it.
- As mentioned above, starting early to allow yourself solid lead time can help you get the most out of your social media campaign and build awareness over a period of time. Just like movie trailers get people excited for an upcoming feature film, incorporating enough lead time as a part of your event strategy allows you time to create and organize great content, build your audience, and tweak certain things, when necessary.
- Ensure your tone and engagement levels are consistent. Cute and cheeky in one post and serious in another has the potential to confuse (and likely disengage) followers.
- Make sure to encourage engagement by sharing and responding to comments made by attendees. Whether you ‘like’, respond to or repost messages, ensure you are consistent and that you avoid reacting to certain posts and not others.
- Use social platform(s) to offer early registration discounts or reveal the exciting news, like announcing who the keynote speaker(s) will be. Ramp up anticipation with a few intriguing posts about how excited you are to reveal who the keynote will be—everyone likes a little surprise and delight.
- If you’re not getting the engagement or reach you’d like to see, consider creating a budget for digital advertising. A small budget for boosting or promoting posts on Facebook can be extremely helpful to project your message out to a larger audience.
- Ask speakers to promote the event using the hashtag—this is a great and effective way to expand exposure within your event strategy
Social activity during your event is just as important as pre-event promotion, especially to capture the essence and power of the live event experience. It is also crucial that you recognize and acknowledge your brand ambassadors—your attendees! They have the power to amplify your event authentically, so make sure you are encouraging, monitoring and maximizing opportunities.
- Maximize the power of your audience by making your hashtag easily visible and encourage sharing.
- Consider running contests throughout your event—like incentivizing users with the most creative posts or publish clues to a scavenger hunt that runs throughout the conference.
Use a Social Management Tool
- Platforms like HootSuite and TweetDeck make it easy to monitor activity on Twitter around a hashtag—use these tools to monitor and engage with attendees by liking or retweeting their posts and responding to messages, when appropriate.
- Encourage your speakers to consider using tools like Kiwilive or Polleverwhere to keep the audience engaged and connected.
Maximize Video Opportunities
- With platforms like Livestream, it’s now easier than ever to bring individuals who couldn’t attend the event into the audience in real time and experience the power of the live event experience.
- If live streaming isn’t in the cards, consider hiring a videographer to record keynotes, presentations and other parts of your event to archive for future use.
- Periscope and Facebook Live are two growing platforms for live video. Consider tactics for encouraging use among attendees, or using the platform to stream other activities during the event, like post-keynote interviews.
Continue the momentum with your post-event strategy! Utilize social content from the event to further amplify it—in follow-up messaging for attendees, communications to other customers, and to promote future events. Identify where you can use video, images, commentary, and testimonials on your website, in your database, and via social channels.
[Continue to] Maximize Video Opportunities
- Video from the event can (and should) be used long after the closing keynote—whether it is to evoke the excitement of the event for those who attended, offer an opportunity for those who couldn’t attend to be part of it, or start to amplify next year’s event. And with platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook allowing video, sharing video via social is easier than ever.
- Social activity from events provides planners candid, unedited feedback from clients or customers on everything from the food to the keynote speakers to the Wi-Fi connection—don’t discount the significance of this commentary, especially as you consider your next event.
- Examine posts from attendees during the event for photos and testimonials—on-the-ground insights on how amazing your keynote speaker was or photos taken from their vantage point are invaluable marketing assets.
Harnessing the power of social media throughout the event lifecycle by developing a comprehensive event strategy provides planners with the opportunity to effectively make their event much bigger than it is. Use these tips for before, during and after your event to broaden your reach, provide clients/attendees with unique and valuable opportunities to engage, participate and be a part of the conversation, and develop a unique record of what happened and the content that was created.
Guest blog post provided by Keppler Speakers, one of the world’s leading speakers bureaus that provides keynote speakers who inspire, inform and captivate event audiences with expertise spanning across business, world affairs, politics, entertainment, education, literature, sports, and leadership.