We all know that it is the age of social media; many of us are avid personal users, but are scared to implement the platforms into our businesses and events. Staying on top of social media trends, confusing algorithms, and new platforms can be exhausting (shout-out to our marketing coordinator, LeeAnn, for absolutely killing this!), but leveraging social media successfully to boost your event can be surprisingly simple. Here is how to do it:
Step 1: Know Your Audience
If you are going to devote time and energy into a social media strategy for your event, start by doing your research. Think about your event, and who your attendees will be. Are you planning a start-up tech crawl for young professionals? Awesome, be prepared to engage. Younger generations will expect social media to be fully integrated: from registration and event logistics, to on-demand support and engagement. However, a meeting with an older attendee base will not expect the use of social media, and will honestly just be frustrated by it. You can still use social media strategically, but do not overwhelm your audience in an effort to remain ahead of the curve.
Step 2: Promotion
There is a reason it is called “social” media; leveraging your community on these platforms should be your ultimate goal. Promoting a public event on social media is key to growing your attendance, and there are so many ways to do it: create a Facebook event and encourage attendees to invite their friends, share behind-the-scenes and sneak peaks, announce pricing specials or giveaways, and interact with the audience to answer questions or thank partners. Private events can benefit from social media as well. One of the most successful ways to do this is to create a private Facebook group for attendees to join. Here, follow the same posting strategy as a public event, but focus on facilitating and encouraging interaction and bonding between attendees.
Step 3: During
Depending on the event and audience (see step 1), actually using social media as an activation can be a hit or miss. Some of the more successful endeavors we have seen include integrating a Q&A function where attendees can send in questions – with the option to be anonymous – and have them appear on stage for a speaker to answer. However, really consider if interactive social media activations truly make sense for your audience. It is really awkward when there are just a few people participating, so be sure to have engagement incentives or a backup plan ready in case of crickets.
Step 4: After
Post-event, the worst thing you can do is just go silent on the platforms you worked so hard to build. Social media is a crazy powerful networking tool, so be sure to treat it as such. Keep the conversation going with your audience, and give them sneak peaks into your other upcoming events!
Bottom line: should you be using social media in your event planning process? Yes, full stop. There are so many ways to engage, promote, and elevate with social platforms. What is your favorite way to use social media in the events industry? Let us know!