There is no denying the power that social media has in connecting people and creating conversation. That's one of the reasons why companies are choosing to integrate it into their events, as opposed to simply using it to 'spread the word'.
Social media can be used before, during and after an event; bringing engagement and brand awareness to a whole new level.
When you use social media as part of your event, many opportunities are created both for your brand and event attendees alike. As well as raising awareness, you can use social media to encourage attendees to engage with your company and with fellow delegates before the event even begins.
This engagement brings with it the potential to boost your site traffic and generate leads for your own business as well as any exhibitors or sponsors, who are relying on you to provide them with a great return on their investment.
When used during an event, social media enables those who aren't even in the room to feel connected, allowing them to follow what's happening in real time and providing more opportunity for your message to spread, thanks to the shareable nature of each platform.
The more you encourage attendees to make use of the social media opportunities you provide during your event, the more your message will be amplified.
So to get attendees fully immersed in the event experience, consider the following ways of using social media strategically during proceedings:
The easiest way to get people engaging with your event before it even begins is with the use of a hashtag. As part of your pre-event planning, pick a hashtag that is relevant, unique and short.
Add that hashtag anywhere you can; including social media posts, related e-mails, printed agendas, banners, name badges, presentations and other materials where people will see it.
Continue to use the hashtag for post-event discussion and feedback too.
A Social Wall is an eye-catching feature that is growing in popularity at events. Social Walls show text, photos and even videos of social media posts using your event hashtag from various platforms in real-time.
Social Walls do pander somewhat to the 'selfie-generation', and you generally find that attendees get excited to see their posts come up on the wall which is a great way to encourage use!
Interactive features like social walls, again, allow those not actually present at the event to be represented also - encouraging involvement in the conversations that are happening and continuing to drive engagement and awareness. They work particularly well for award ceremonies, as people share posts of their friends and colleagues celebrating their achievements!
Social Walls can be monitored to ensure only high-quality posts are shown, so you can maintain professionalism throughout your event. It's worth issuing guidelines within your pre-event materials on the use of social media too - outlining what is and what isn't acceptable.
To encourage attendees to post proactively, consider introducing an element of competition into your event. For example, those who make the most use of the event hashtag, post the most 'creative' photo for the wall, or drive the most engagement as part of their social media activity, wins a prize.
It is easier than ever to show an event live thanks to social media. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to go live with a few clicks on a smartphone. Let people know you will be going live ahead of time so those who cannot attend the event know to tune into it.
Live feeds can also be saved as videos and viewed long after the event itself.
If you don’t want to go for a live video feed, then consider live tweeting instead. Let everyone know what’s happening live with pictures and text all posted on Twitter, and re-tweet others’ posts who may also be tweeting from the event for another perspective.
Keep conversations going by sharing photos and videos from the event after it has ended. Tell attendees that can tag themselves in any photos, as this will also increase your reach on social media. Find some of the best posts created by others about the day, and share those too!
Events that include social media are often exciting and appealing to attendees and those 'visiting beyond the walls' of your venue. It connects like-minded people and encourages conversations surrounding topics associated with your brand and/or industry.
If you prefer leaving all or some of the event planning and management to someone else, including social media integration, we’re happy to help! Our unique approach to planning events and conferences takes your goals and requirements into consideration whilst ensuring you put on event that is to be remembered.
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