It’s not an earth-shattering proclamation to suggest that using social media is key to successful event promotion. In today’s day and age, there is no better way to get the word out and create buzz for your event. But few people realize that using social media successfully for your event goes well beyond the promotion stage. If done correctly, social media strategies should be incorporated in the DNA of your event, before, during and after attendees arrives for their first session. To illustrate how this can be done easily and effectively, here are five ways to use social media at your next event.
Engage & Entice Your Audience
Your man goal in the weeks and months leading up to your event is to bolster attendance and create enthusiasm amongst those who are already committed to attending. A great way to do this is to have your key speakers provide two-minute teaser videos highlighting what their presentation will touch on. Consider this like the movie trailer for the different event sessions. This has proven to be an effective way to get some of the fence-sitters to commit to going. Another solid tactic is to create a voting mechanism where registered guests can have a say on some of the sessions. South by Southwest has been doing this with great success with their “panel picker” that sees 30% of the content chosen by the attendees.
Use Hashtags and Prizes to Drive Social Media Engagement
Once the event is underway, you’ll want to get people talking about on social media. Create one hashtag and encourage everyone to use it when posting. A great way to do this is offer prizes throughout the event to people who monitor and respond to posts using that hashtag. If you want to bolster attendance at any particular session or room, you can post something like “the next eight people who find me at (wherever) and say I love (event name) get a special prize. This is also a way to promote the brand and products of key sponsors while simultaneously engaging people in the event’s social media feed.
Livestream Key Sessions
This is another great use of the hashtag and is an excellent way to create buzz and exposure for the event. You don’t want to give away the entire store but by selectively choosing events to livestream, you are showing those who are interested but didn’t attend exactly what they are missing. It will create an air of fun and excitement surrounding the event and will make it more likely those fence-sitters will attend in subsequent years. The livestreams can be recorded and put up on YouTube or kept as archives of the event.
Social Media as Customer Support
This is becoming more and more crucial as people take their unpleasant customer experiences directly to online world. If someone has difficulty registering for the event or had a negative experience at one of the sessions, you’ll need to address it immediately and publicly. Use a social media monitoring program and have someone dedicated to watching it at all times. According to a recent Gleanster report, 73% of ‘Top Performers’ identified Customer Service as a top reason to invest in social media monitoring. If you can address a problem right away and make that person feel better about their experience, it will go a long way in creating brand loyalty and positive word of mouth.
Maintain Year-Round Engagement
If your event is an annual event, you’ll want keep the excitement and enthusiasm going all year-round to build on the success at next year’s event. Sharing presentations and sessions is a great way to do this. Spread it out over the year to show those who didn’t attend what they are missing as well as reminding those that did how much fun they had. You should also use social media to solicit feedback on their customer experience. It’s an inexpensive and effective way to determine what events were well-regarded and which one weren’t. This will be critical information as you continue to grow and shape the event over the next few years.