There are an endless number of metaphors to describe how social media permeates all aspects of our lives so I will spare you the burden of
one more additional esoteric way to describe what we all know to be true: Social media is here and we use it everywhere, especially at events.
What is written about less is “what are you supposed to do with social media to maximize it’s effectiveness at your event”. What should I do?
When? What tools do I need? What are the pitfalls?
Personally I hate complicating things! I don’t want a “Triple, Venti,Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato” from Starbucks, and the idea of a
“Social Media Strategy” sounds like an overly complicated way to say: There are some social media things you need to do before, during and
after an event. And here they are.
Stage 1: The Calm Before the Storm
1. Create a Hashtag
While we are all familiar with the # symbol, few people realize that it is a powerful asset for event related marketing, communication, and driving
engagement. A unique hashtag can promote awareness about your event on social media, increase participation and even boost attendance.
keep it relevant, unique, short, and sweet. Be careful of alternate meanings: #nowthatcherisdead vs #nowthatcherisdead.
2. Put your #hashtag to work
Your hashtag means nothing if you don’t used it! Promote it everywhere including your event website, dedicated emails, social networks, and the
event’s mobile app. TweetDeck is my favorite free tool for monitoring Twitter because it is simple to use and easy to lay out. For Instagram,
check out http://instafall.com/. If you want to track a #hashtag in both Twitter and Instagram, try www.hashtracking.com. Of course if you are
willing to invest and want to track everything on social the great Canadian company Hootsuite is the market leader.
3. Get started early
The earlier you promote the event and the unique hashtag you selected, the better positioned you are to meet your social goals. Remember, like
any good conversation it takes time for the word to spread so get people talking about your event on social media ASAP and remember to give
them multiple reasons to discus the event.
4. Get your sponsors involved
As part of your sponsor relationship management be sure to brief your sponsors on the events social assets and invite them to follow (Facebook
pages, LinkedIN groups, Pinterest Boards etc). Give your sponsors the #hashtag and encourage them to use it in via their own social networks or
even on their signage at the event.
Stage 2: Show Time!
1. Empower the team
As part of your final pre game pep talk make sure everyone knows the social assets related to the event as well as the event #hashtag. The event
team should be able to answer attendee questions about social media and get them contributing as much as possible. Encourage the team to capture as much content as possible. Even if they aren’t responsible for posting to social media your team can capture some of the best moments at your event that can be approved and shared later. Tech Tip: Make sure you team have downloaded the social apps important to your event (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Pinterest, LinkedIN, Snapchat etc).
2. Foster Engagement
There are a number of ways to drive audience engagement during your event and one of the most obvious is by broadcasting the social media
related to your event live. Eventpeeks specializes in providing social broadcast for events, but there are a number of services out there and
using any of them will increase audience engagement. 3. Event Support Via Social Earlier I mentioned a number of tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite that let you track and manage social media. Be sure to have someone keeping an eye on those tools during your event. Often positive or negative aspects of your event will be shared on social media before you know about them.
Stage 3: Memories for the Morning After
1.Showcase your content If all is going according to plan you should have tons of photos and hours of videos from your event that can now be shared on social media. Creating a YouTube channel to show video, posting photos to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr allows your event to live on long after teardown.
2. Solicit Feedback
Encourage your audience to provide feedback (good and bad) on your Facebook page or via Twitter. Don’t be afraid of negative comments on
social. People on social realize that there will always be social trolls with nothing nice to say so negative press on social is often taken with a grain of salt
3. Understand your audience
Events provide the perfect opportunity to analyze your social media audience and identify influencers. Your event is often the calling card for your
brand and the one time where most of the people you care about will be talking about you. By using a tool like Socialpeeks, Sprout Social or
Brandwatch you will receive reporting that helps you more deeply understand your audience.
4. Provide a Social Media report to your sponsors
All too often our sponsors are overlooked, until we need them to contribute to next year’s event. Sponsorships are increasingly difficult to find so
be sure to help your sponsors see the return on their investment by providing social media reporting along with a thank you note several weeks
after the event.
That’s it, the before, during and after of event social media. While there is a lot of information in this list the most important keys are:
• An event’s social media management doesn’t have to be complicated but you do need to plan early and take action.
• Involving your event team, and more importantly, your sponsors in social media marketing can help your event immensely on a number
of levels (social media results and sponsorship revenues).
Good luck with your event and I wish you nothing but Likes and Retweets.
[author image=”http://canadianspecialevents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/John_Beresford.jpg” ]John Beresford is a Managing Partner at eventpeeks and responsible for helping customers revolutionize how they merge live experiences and social media. Whether it’s mountain biking great Canadian trails, coaching ambitious entrepreneurs at Wilfrid Laurier University or kick-starting a business meeting, John believes that life is best lived in the moment, and that social media allows us to amplify those moments across the globe! Eventpeeks’ mission is to take that proposition to passionate brands with passionate fans! John brings more than 15 years of sales and marketing leadership experience for a number of world class organizations including Merck Frosst Pharmaceuticals. Most recently John spent nearly a decade at the front lines of the Smartphone revolution leading international sales and marketing teams at BlackBerry. John holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Masters in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University[/author]