How to Drive More Event Engagement Using Social Media
Social media marketing can be a great tool for building buzz around your event, while it can also be fantastic for driving engagement during and after your function too, helping to squeeze the most value from your efforts.
If you're looking to maximize your event marketing efforts, here are a few ways you can leverage social platforms for such purpose.
Before the event
First off, it's important to drum up buzz to get people excited about your event. Social media outreach can be an efficient way to drive awareness, and educate your target event attendees.
Here are a few pre-event options to consider:
Create a content plan
To get started with event social media you’ll first want to create a content plan specific to your event. This plan can be based on your existing content strategy, or you can create your event social media plan in addition to the initiatives you already have in place.
Your event social media plan and schedule should feature content which educates followers about the event topic(s), the industry your event in targeting, speakers, sponsors etc. Your content plan should also drive traffic to the event website, and include some sales messaging as well.
Given the state of social media in 2018, you can’t forget to use email marketing to keep prospects and ticket holders up to date.
Send your email list updates with speaker content, agenda items, discounts, accompanying event materials and calls to follow your event on social media. As always, email marketing will supplement your social media efforts, and remains an essential element that should not be overlooked.
Get speakers/sponsors and influencers involved
You should also use your speakers, sponsors and event partners to help push your event on social media.
Make sure you equip everyone involved in the event with messaging and images to share with their social media networks, and create content about individual speakers, tagging them and any sponsors in your posts.
The trick here is to make sharing as easy as possible for participants – and since these people (or other brands) are involved in the event, they'll likely be more than happy to help you promote it.
For a recent DOYOLive event I spoke at, I was also invited to take over their Instagram account for the day. This not only helped DOYOLive’s current audience get excited about the event, and get some value beforehand, but I also invited my audience to go check out what I was sharing on the event’s channel.
Hey I’m Dhariana Lozano (@dharilo)! I’m a social media consultant and agency owner based in NYC. I’ll be meeting all of you soon at #DOYOLive in a week - but today I’ve taken over this account . Check out the Insta Stories for a behind the scenes look at the content I’m shooting with a client today!
Another side to this coin is to reach out to influencers who are relevant to your event, but may not necessarily be attending. Even if they aren’t directly working with, or attending the event, it may still be something they’d like to share with their audiences.
During the event
Social media for events shouldn’t stop because the event is happening - social media is the perfect tool to use to continue to drive engagement and expand reach during your event.
Here are a few ideas on how you can achieve that:
Live updates via your social media networks
You can use Twitter to live tweet and interact with attendees who are sharing using the event hashtags. Tweet quotes from speakers and share photos. You can also share photos on Instagram.
On other social networks where you can’t post as frequently, you may need to choose your updates more carefully.
Live Feeds and Twitter walls
When I worked in the financial publication world, live Twitter feeds were always a big hit. Everyone was amazed as they walked by the screen and saw the tweets, or pictures they’d shared on display - here's an example in practice from tagboom.
Live stream or record parts of your event
You can live stream using Periscope or Facebook Live, and you can also share snippets of the event via Snapchat. In the past I used the now defunct Vine to make short video clips of attendees or speakers which were highly effective - you can do similar via Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.
Make sure you also save your videos so that you can use them after the event.
Social media stations
If you’re not sure how social savvy your event attendees are, teach them.
You could consider setting up a branded social media station - how about by the Twitter feed screen? Make the station fun with photo ops and hashtagged items, and take the time to engage with your visiors, letting them know about the social campaigns happening around the event - or even signing them up for Twitter and helping them send their first tweet.
Questions and polls
As you’re interacting with event attendees from your event handles, ask them questions to generate engagement.
You can ask anything from “What was your favorite session so far?” to “Did you like signature drink 1 or 2?”. Poll options are available on Twitter, Facebook, and in Instagram Stories, giving you plenty of options to consider.
After the event
After your event is finished, your job still isn’t done - there are still more opportunities to engage with attendees and get the maximum value out of your event efforts.
Here are a few things you can do after everyone's gone home:
Thank event attendees via your social media channels
Gratitude can go a long way, and it's worth thanking speakers and attendees via social to give them that extra love, which can help build stronger community bounds.
Compile shared moments and share them with your audience
While it used to be easy to create a stream of related tweets via Storify, even with that app shuttering in May, there are still ways to share your event story via social posts.
You can create a recap of the highlights by embedding relevant tweets and posts in your content, which you can also do with Snaps via recent changes. You could also create a Twitter moment to capture all the relevant tweet mentions, or an Instagram Stories highlights stream dedicated to your event, which will live on atop your brand's Instagram profile.
With all the event-related social content you'll ideally have, it makes sense to utilize it where you can, extending the value of your function.
You should also use all the content that you’ve collected during the event to create even more wonderful content and build buzz for next year’s event.
Again, you have all this material out there, and hopefully a lot of positive sentiment around your function - and that can make it the perfect inspiration for your next event, tapping into testimonials, quotes, images, etc.
Social media for events has so many benefits - you can educate your audience, drive new leads, keep attendees informed and so much more. Using social media for events marketing can help you surprise and delight your audience, while also reaching folks who may not have been able to make it in person.
If you're not using social to maximize your events, you really are missing out.
A version of this post was first published on Dhariana Lozano's blog.
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