5 Social Media Tips for EventProfs
Social media has completely revolutionized the way companies around the world are branding and marketing themselves. The events industry is no different. The value of social media has been proclaimed over and over again. No one would argue that social media isn’t important, but there ARE several planners who would admit that it’s difficult.
There are 5 simple steps you can take on any social media platform to ensure that your efforts are not in vain. Think of this as social 101.
1. Respect The Hashtag, Brand The Hashtag
Hashtags are crucial to your social media strategy because they allow for your messages to be grouped, classified and searched for electronically. It is important, therefore, that you have a hashtag for your event and that you spend time actively managing it.
When coming up with a hashtag for your brand or event, consider the following:
Make It Short And Sweet – Short, witty hashtags are easier to remember and will always fit the character limit
Stay On Brand – Your hashtag should easily communicate it’s connection to your company/event/client
Watch For Conflicts Of Interest – Use a hashtag that isn’t already in use, and that cannot be construed as offensive
Respecting your hashtag also means being consistent. #XYZEvent15 is completely different than #XYZEvent2015. Managing and communicating your hashtag consistently eliminates confusion for you and for your attendees. It also ensures that you are getting an accurate picture of who is talking about you and what is being said. You want attendees to have easy access to your event through your hashtag to ask questions and to engage with your company/event.
2. Follow The Data
Data tracking can seem like a daunting task- especially for beginners, but it is completely necessary. Data exists only to be tracked and analyzed. Irrespective of your level of experience, you can (and should) be using the information contained in your various social media accounts to figure out and address the pain of your audience.
There are many kinds of data that can be found and tracked as well. You can figure out what kinds of posts your audience interacts with most (updates with shortened links? photos? gifs?). You can discover what kinds of ads they click on, and what niche interests they possess. Twitter and Facebook both allow for polling questions to be asked directly to your followers. Social media data can illuminate many things about your audience, and can even be a crowdsourcing stream for future event content.
3. Be Savy, Not Spammy
The line between product promotion and spam is very thin. Generic statuses begging potential attendees to buy a ticket or an app is the modern day equivalent of telemarketing. Think about how YOU feel about telemarketers and endeavor not to force sales, but instead build relationships. Attendees want to talk to a living, breathing, person. They want to help and be helped.
The way to toe the line between promoting your own content (which you absolutely should be doing) and still sounding human is to switch things up a bit. Remember to
Adopt A Conversational Tone – The entire point of social media is to humanize your brand. Don’t tweet like a robot.
Write More Than One Headline – Having more than one headline will help you in automating your social media updates without the spam factor.
Update For More Than Just Selling – Get on social media to do something besides just content and event promotion. What is your audience talking about? Talk with them.
4. It’s Not Just You
This tip goes hand in hand with updating for more than the purpose of purely boosting sales. It is very important that you post and share content from other people. This is true across all social media platforms. I recently participated in a Twitter chat about online networking. One piece of advice that resonated with me was that in order to build a relationship, one must go where your target audience is and offer value.
Of course you should share and promote your own blog posts and products, but building a relationship is a two-sided conversation, not a solo monologue. When you execute social media properly, your network generates content that you should be sharing- and not all of it will relate directly to your event. Your attendees, sponsors, vendors and supporters are on social media, and you are attempting to build a relationship with them. Follow the aforementioned advice and offer them value.
5. It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint
There is a lot to do and remember as it pertains to social media. There are new platforms arriving everyday, and updates to the older platforms coming just as often. Event planners must respect the learning curve. Social media has many moving parts, and it can be difficult to get a handle on all of them. All of your efforts will produce results, but those results will not happen overnight. You must have expectations for your social media effort, but those expectations should be realistic. Allow for sufficient time for your marketing efforts to take effect.
You don’t have to get everything right, and you don’t have to get it right all at once. It is best to master one platform, take the information you gain while doing so, and use it to expand and update your social media marketing going forward. This is why it is so important to measure and analyze your social media data. Doing so will also help to revamp your social strategy.
The main thing to remember is that social media is a marketing strategy, and a means of building and maintaining meaningful relationships with the people who are most important to your brand. And just like any other relationship, you have to pay attention to what is being said to and about you. You have to provide value to your attendees, understand what causes them pain and then help to alleviate it. And above all take your time, nurture the relationship and enjoy the ride!