Maximizing Social Media Impact at your Event
Social media is now a vital feature for event organizers to implement at their events - not only to meet the demands of their attendees but ultimately to create a personalized and engaging show. It doesn’t cost much, so most try, but without thinking carefully about your approach, uptake can be limited to only the most committed Twitterati.
How do you increase attendee engagement and encourage deeper connections on the various platforms?
1. Choose your platforms wisely
Because social media services usually work pretty well together, there is a tendency to sit back with satisfaction at the ever growing row of logos showing the platform your event is ‘live’ on. However, there are different characters to different social networks, and it is worth thinking about your event and what you want to happen there to put your energies in the right ones.
2. Own the community
Tweeters will tweet, and facebookers will post regardless of what you do, but unless you get your arms around the activity, much will be lost in the ether. That’s why a making the hashtag central, and your own account very active, will keep people engaged and show a great deal of activity around your show.
Remember to respond very quickly to any incoming questions of comments. One technique that can work well is have a person who is not at the event managing this.. they can be much more focused (have a nice big screen) and avoid all the distractions of being at the event.
3. Is your event a public or private affair?
Sharing content to outside networks, like pictures, commentary on sessions etc may be a goal for your event to spread the brand and value widely (and encourage those twinges of jealousy to increase registrations for the next one). If that’s the case, make a big deal of your event hashtag. Twitter and Facebook will be the main ones here.
In contrast however, your event may be a confidential affair… perhaps internal to your organisation, or a high value conference or forum with ‘Chatham House Rules’. It that case you may want to minimise the content that slips out and if you use these social networks at all, you may want to downplay the sharing aspect.
4. Know your audience
Different people like different things … Business heavyweights may find developing their LinkedIn network to be the social media activity they prefer, whereas a younger crowd, in a creative industry may be keen to take their own photos and share on Instragram, or a photo service your are managing.
Facebook at business events is unlikely to be a place for serious discourse, but may be well used with people seeing what is going on and digesting announcements from you.
Offer something extra for engaging on Social Media… it could be a networking event you only promote on social media, a copy of an industry report or a prize worth winning (free registration for the following event?). Make it known that this will be available to social media users to get them signed up.
6. The art of #hashtags
hashtags are really important at events, and so put some thought into yours.
- make it short.. don’t use up valuable tweet space with a long hashtag!
- memorability.. make sure it rolls off the thumb, and doesn't require someone to look it up
- you can use a hashtag research tool to search options / suggestions)
- consider tweet wall
- sponsor the hashtag for the event via twitter ads (uk us only at present)
7. Prep your speakers
Ensure speakers have optimized LinkedIn and Twitter profiles before the event and that they are proactive in responding to interested attendees.
Also, ensure they know the hashtag, and if they are using Twitter, to look out for relevant comments and questions.
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Author: Michael Douglas, Business Development Director