Unless you have been living under a rock, there’s no denying that social media is here to stay and gaining popularity with each passing day! In today’s Post, How to Jump Start Your Event Social Media, I am going to share ideas with you as to how you can incorporate this powerful marketing tool into your next event.
There are so many social media platforms that it can be difficult deciding where to start. As the saying goes, “you can’t be all things to all people”, I view social media in the same way. If you attempt to be active on all platforms when you’re just starting out, you can quickly become overwhelmed and your results will be minimal. Instead, find out where your ideal customers are and go there.
Selecting a few of the popular sites is a great starting point. Becoming active on a couple of platforms and doing them well will get your message circulating and drive more engagement. Spreading yourself too thin across all platforms often leads to you becoming inundated and producing a less than desirable outcome.
Again, locating where your customers are is the first step in getting started. I recommend choosing two to three platforms.
My personal faves for events are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Here are some suggestions on how to best utilize these sites when just getting started:
Facebook is a great visual site and with over 1.35 billion users, chances are your employees, customers, and vendors are hanging out there! Including your Fan Page address in all of your marketing materials will drive traffic to your Page. Suggested posts can consist of registration deadlines and reminders about your event and the host hotel, show specials, sponsor/exhibitor highlights, and information about the host city. If you don’t want to include such things within your daily posts, you can create an Event Page and invite attendees and participants to join you there.
Twitter is SO fast paced that if you blink an eye you’re bound to miss something! You can utilize Twitter’s stream to get the word out about your event including similar information as shared with Facebook posts. Since the average tweet has a life span of about 30 seconds, you definitely want to share your info more than once. Be sure to include the event #hashtag so that when others are searching for your event you will be easily found.
A great feature in Twitter is the ability to create custom lists. Doing so will allow all of your participants to connect and engage prior to the show. I recommend requesting exhibitor and vendor Twitter @usernames on your Registration forms so that you can quickly build your list. Depending on the size of your event, you don't necessarily want to include all of your attendees as a list can only contain 1,000 usernames and your stream will quickly become congested.
When it comes to on-site engagement, this is by far my favorite platform to use at show site! Whether you are participating in a meeting, walking the exhibit hall, or attending off-site activities, I love the ability to share information instantaneously! Talk about getting your messaging out to the masses...and FAST!
Instagram is a fast growing platform that allows everyone to share pictures about things going on at your event. Hosting a photo contest is a great way to engage attendees and increase the number of posts that are shared. Highlighting sponsors, exhibitors, and after-parties offer other great posting opportunities.
Now, how do you manage all of this stuff?
Unless you’re a huge corporation, chances are that you don’t have a dedicated Social Media Department! Using management tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Buffer will help you to schedule your messages and manage your time while overseeing all interactions.
You should plan to have a point person on site to supervise all of your social media activity. You don’t want to go “all in” beforehand and leave everything hanging as the event begins!
Social media hubs are also gaining popularity on site and there are a variety of ways that you can now display all of the social buzz surrounding your event!
In closing, my biggest piece of advice to you is to have FUN! Social media can be very time consuming and you can quickly become submerged in trying to keep up with everything. Devise a strategy early on and make sure to extend it throughout all phases of your event. I recommend having (at minimal) a 90-day plan in place. Use the tools available to you and you WILL have social success!
I’d love to hear from you! What has your experience been at events using social media?