Organising an event, whether large or small can be a challenging affair. However, the real difficulty lies in getting people to attend.
The key is in encouraging conversations around your event that can convert to attendees. Social media can be a powerful platform for fostering conversations about your event, and should be every organisers best friend. However, with so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start.
Here are are top social media event marketing we have compiled on integrating social media into your event:
1. Get Connected
If you want to promote your event to the right audience then you need to know where they hang out. The obvious place is Facebook. With over 1.19bn users (727m+ active daily users) it is by far the largest and most active social network. This makes it an ideal platform for both B2C and B2B events.
Post topics including, photos, videos, new sponsors, keynote speakers, agenda info, and anything else that is relevant to your event. Remember social media is a conversation, so ask your followers questions and encourage feedback. For example, try crowd sourcing your ideas like SxSW. Their Panel Picker process turns over 30% of the programming selection to potential attendees.
With Twitter, although every good event should have a hashtag that follows Twitter etiquette, (including being unique, descriptive, and 10 characters or less) there is much more opportunity to exploit the network further. Follow all of your key speakers and event sponsors and tag them in your posts. Often they will have larger networks than you, so this is a great way to encourage them to promote your event to their followers. Twitter has 232m+ active users per month (883m+ user accounts) for you to tap into. Look for topical conversations related to your event, and get involved in open conversations. Never intrude on unrelated topics, or private conversations, as it is invasive and disrupting for the user.
For B2B events, LinkedIn is an invaluable platform. Get active in relevant industry groups and send regular updates to your followers. If you frequently run events, it is worthwhile setting up your own LinkedIn group to share your content. Although the smaller of the top networks, LinkedIn has made significant effort to improve their services and have grown their numbers 40% in the past year. With over 258m members worldwide it is increasingly becoming a popular platform for B2B event marketers.
Ultimately, organically growing strong attendee communities across these networks means higher visibility for your event. However, if you want to give your event an extra boost, consider some social media advertising. Of the 3 main networks, Facebook advertising is relatively low cost and effective. From personal experience, sponsored stories are a great way to increase likes and engagement, so why not start with a small budget and give it a go!
*stats taken from Econsultancy 2013
2. Get Competitive
Granted, it’s one of the most overused tips out there, however competitions are a great way to engage with your audience. If you are running an event, you are in the perfect position to set aside a few free tickets and hold a competition.
The most effective competitions are ones that are simple, creative and shareable! Think about the experience you want your entrants to have. If it is a fun experience then quiz or personality tests are a good option. If your audience aren’t familiar with you then a sweepstakes or instant win is a quick and simple way of getting entrants.
Equally, photo and video content are great for encourages social shares. Construct a fun behind the scenes video, or get one of your guest speakers to leave a quick video message. Ask questions that refer to the content, that way the audience are encouraged to watch the video in full.
Quick Tip: Although Facebook doesn’t allow you to conduct ‘like and share’ competitions, unless it is through a 3rd party app, there are no rules with ‘like and comment’ competitions. e.g. Post a relevant event image onto your Facebook or Twitter and get your audience to caption it for you.
3. Get Real
Twitter walls and real time streaming have become ubiquitous at events. We attended an event earlier in the year that had a live video chat with none other than Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. This is a clever way to include a high profile guest into your event when geography isn’t on your side.
NISP CONNECT Generation Innovation Event
Twitter walls are also a great way to involve your audience in the event and encourage them to talk about it on their networks. Since your attendees will already be using the platforms (The average person is on their social networks 4 hours per day) take advantage of this and encourage them to talk about the event. This has the added advantage of promoting your events to your existing attendee networks, who could be potential attendees for future events.
Try Tweetwall or TweetBeam to pull in tweets for your next event and see what kind of response you get. Additionally, EventBeat works across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
4. Get Feedback
A key component that lots of event professionals fall short on is gathering valuable feedback from attendees. A survey by IML (2012) indicated that approximately 75% of event professionals believe that post event feedback is becoming more important. Yet, currently nearly 90% of event professionals think they could do more to maximise the insight they gather at events.
Whilst some organisers will send out feedback forms after the event, the percentage of forms returned are relatively low. Social media is a perfect tool for gaining audience insight and analysing how your attendees really felt about your event. Most likely, you will have invested much time on social media for your event, make sure you measure your efforts to ensure you have a return on this.
There are lots of tools out there to help you measure Social media. LinkedIn and Facebook have their own insights, and there are free tools like Twitonomy and Tweetreach to help gain some insights on your reach and followers. The only downfall is that you are limited to the amount of data you can receive and not all of the data will be specific to your event.
So there you have it, there is just some of our tips for integrating social media into your event planning. Hope you found them useful!
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