Eventprofs Share:  8 Trends in #SocialMedia and #EventMarketing

Eventprofs Share: 8 Trends in #SocialMedia and #EventMarketing

In the fall of 2016, we contacted over 1,000 event professionals to find out what their challenges were and where they saw the industry going in reference to several critical areas like event technology and social media. Here’s what event professionals around the world see as the top trends in social media and event marketing.

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Remarketing/Better Use of Data

Many event professionals understand that the data is out there, derived greatly from social media, but there’s still a disconnect in how they use it. 

Sandra Nugent, Founder of Orenda Events & Services sees a growing use for electronic tablets as part of the registration process. These tablets would accompany the attendee throughout the show, capturing important data like duration on the show floor and which vendors they visited. This could also provide a more streamlined way to obtain real-time feedback.

Many event professionals saw an increase in the data available through social media that would help improve retargeting efforts and more targeted social media campaigns.

Social Media Platforms Become Irrelevant

Most businesses and event companies have developed a sharing/giving mentality when it comes to content, largely giving it away for free. JTed Lewis, General Manager/ Floral Express Flower Market & Events, referred to it as “the growth of the ‘party effect’.” More (and more) must be given away to continually attract the masses.  

Meanwhile, social media platforms have been moving in the opposite direction, each creating their own version of the same thing. For instance, video features launched fast and furious in 2016, with each platform creating its own version of stories and stickers.

That’s why it was incredibly interesting when one event professional envisioned, “…the combining/linking of various social media platforms, i.e. LinkedIn and Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter, etc… to enable the sharing of information and the wider reach of audiences.” Another eventprof suggested that even if the social media platforms don’t begin speaking with one another that an event app could tie that social media experience into the event without regard to platform. It would be possible to create a stream that would link all participants together regardless of their preferred social media format.

Bulky Websites May Be Replaced by Something Sleeker

It seems attendees want everything faster and more concise. People prefer bullets over deep content when it comes to events and visuals over wordy pages. Savas Kazantzides, President of Farscape Travel predicts a declining popularity in websites, which will be replaced by Facebook and Instagram pages, making it easier on those who maintain the content. Landing page type websites will be more popular than sites with hundreds of pages.

Ease of Use

Baby Boomers especially see the reason behind technology and social media as tools to help us do something more efficiently than what we currently are. They don’t embrace these things just because they are new and shiny. In order to meet the demands of this audience, social media will need to continue to evolve into something that becomes an effortless part of their day.

Developers and creators of software recognize that and many have been refining their products to meet these desires. Beth Miller, CDS, Global Account Executive at ConferenceDirect sees social media incorporating in the moment updates and buy buttons to accommodate emotion-driven actions and make planners’ and attendees’ lives easier.

More Opportunities for Fun and Engagement

Social media grew in popularity partly because of its ability to connect (or reconnect) those who are far from one another. Most people enjoy social media because it’s fun and they like engaging with friends, family, and to a lesser extent, brands. For this reason, these platforms are a natural way for event planners to provide more opportunities for enjoyment.

Wendy Parsley, a Partner at Quint Interactive sees a lot of room for “more activations and promotions integrated into social platforms.” For example, there could be increased opportunities for vendors to engage attendees and drive desired action through social media contests and giveaways like uploading a photo with a specific hashtag onto Instagram. After that, the attendee would be encouraged to come by the booth to receive a prize.

Increased Connections

One of the largest trends event professionals saw looming was the increase in Snapchat and Snapchat filters to be used to connect with others at the event. Social media offers a lot of opportunities for connecting including constant, real-time feedback during sessions.

It also helps attendees share responsibilities with the event planners through creating guest-generated pop-up events within the event, things like Twitter meetups, flash mobs, and using Snapchat geolocation filters to meet.  Delina Alwanger, Managing Director of Call of The Wild Safaris believes “events will become more interactive and social.” Interaction will include less formal networking as attendees expect to engage at many levels.

But this social media connecting shouldn’t end with the event. Rhonda R. Ohnesorge from The Event Team sees that it’s important to use “social media: FB, Instagram, etc. to create audiences of fans and followers (in order to) communicate future events without the expense and reliance on printed collateral.”

Social Media and Word of Mouth Equal Free Marketing

There were still a number of event professionals who didn’t see social media applying to them and their audience. Some of these planners worked with groups that don’t change year-to-year like facilitating board retreats and meetings but others simply stated their attendees didn’t use social media to the extent they would prefer. In these latter situations, even if the attendees at the event didn’t use it, you can keep up your social media around the event in the hopes that you draw a more social crowd.

Leanne VanDerveer, Corporate/Virtual Concierge with Charm City Concierge LLC, sees social media as a good thing for event professionals. She says, “Contests for posting or tagging in social media have become the biggest trend in recent years. What better way to advertise for an event than to have people tagging and sharing pictures, positive comments and things they love about the event?! Free marketing is one of the biggest tools an event planner can use in today’s social media craving society. Not only does it help advertise but it can also bring people together and present another way of viewing the event, through its participants.”

Visual Marketing Wins Social Media

The event professionals we polled by in large see the value in social media in engaging their audience, reaching a larger crowd, building word-of-mouth referrals, and driving desired actions. But they also shared that the future lies in visual marketing. They see image-based platforms winning the Interwebs. Many believe video will become increasingly popular being used for event invitations, advertisement, virtual reality experiences to sell venues and host cities, event highlight reels, training, and for those who can’t make it live, feeds from the event.

In Conclusion

This is certainly an exciting time for event professionals. Social media allows event planners with small budgets to reach big crowds and it brings big-budget events to the masses with live shares from the event. It’s the great leveler of the event playing field. What do you see as the main game changer in social media?

 

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Julius Solaris
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