In this post we look at 5 steps to using social media at your events. When marketing your event, the cupcake analogy we use posits that you should look to “bake in” social media, rather than “sprinkle it on” last minute. Simply put, you need to devote resources and time before, during and after to ensure the experience is seamless. For how to do that, read on.
Step 1: Ask WHY?
Never lose sight of why you’re using social media. It’s there to complement your business strategy, and its impact on your bottom line should be tangible. For example, if your business goals are to generate revenue through the sale of exhibition space, then your social media objectives might be to:
- Promote exhibitors
- Strengthen brand awareness
- Encourage registrations
- Drive more web traffic
Don’t fall into the trap of trying out a half-baked social media campaign just because everybody else seems to be; it could prove more damaging than having no campaign at all.
Step 2: Establish Analytics
Analytics will show you how much output you achieved relative to input. Identifying the impact of each of your decisions is vital, so approach this scientifically—annotate your stats with each adjustment.
Also, consider the emotional effect of marketing on your audience. This can be harder to monitor with numbers alone, so take the time to look carefully through the content your audience creates and posts at your event.
Step 3: Before the Event
Focus the attention of your target audience and push them to act. Don’t spread yourself thinly!
Drive people towards 1 event registration page, using 1 hashtag for discussion, and be clear that you have 1 preferred channel for the event (we recommend Twitter).
Create a hashtag that’s unique, memorable, short, and easy to type – ideally featuring your brand name. Double check that someone else isn’t already using the hashtag, and that it doesn’t accidentally spell something rude (in any language).
Step 4: During the Event
Get It Started…
Kickstart the conversation by having your team post some tweets/pictures from their own profiles and retweet these via the official brand account.
A great way to help people feel involved is to use a Twitter wall such as ThinkWall (spot the plug) — this allows people to see their tweets live on screens around the venue.
With an electronic registration system, It is possible to tweet to each registrant as they arrive at the venue and thank them for coming — with the event hashtag included! This will really help encourage them to start interacting.
…Then, Keep It Going.
Encouraging people to remain engaged throughout the event is harder. Try running quick campaigns during your event. Here are a few activities we’ve supported in the past:
- Q&A sessions
- Prize draws and giveaways
- Polls and voting events
Step 5: After the Event
After your event, you will be exhausted! So here’s an easy-to-follow To-Do list for the aftermath:
- Follow up! Thank people for attending, thank your sponsors, exhibitors, partners, speakers, and most importantly, thank your team.
- Share the registration link for your next event. The key is to keep momentum going for as long as possible after the event.
- Publish all event content as marketing, be sure to attribute and thank content creators!
- Review analytics (established in Step 2) and write up notes on what worked and potential improvements.