10 Ideas to Make Your Event’s Social Media Better
Social media makes people interested, inspires people to join, and increases excitement surrounding your event. It’s much too important to do half-way. Try these tips to rev up your efforts.
Social media is one of the best ways out there to reach your ideal audience for a minimal investment. But it takes time to build the kinds of relationships that influence attendance decisions. You can’t start tweeting a few weeks before registration opens and expect it to make a difference. Social media helps you build relationships, get your message out there, and convince people of the ways you can make their lives, or jobs, better. That’s a lot for one tweet to manage.
Before You Ask Someone to the Prom, You Need to Get to Know Them
Long before you are opening registration, you need to increase your social media presence by finding out where your ideal members are and joining in the conversation on those social media platforms. You don’t need to be on every platform but you should be where your members are. Follow them, like their posts, engage with them long before you’re even thinking of an event. It’s rare a complete stranger can approach you with a prom invitation that you’ll want to accept. Begin grooming the relationship long before you ask anything of them.
Schedule posts of useful, entertaining, and/or inspiring content, and then log in every day for interaction. Content posts can, and should be, scheduled. Interaction and relationship building can’t. You need both to inspire action. Here are a few tips on how to establish and grow those relationships and influence decision making:
Social Media Pre-Event Promotion
Assuming you’ve done the prep work and started to build relationships long before you begin promoting your events, you should have a nice community that interacts with your content and considers you a useful resource.
For effective social media promotion you need to share valuable content, build a buzz using social media techniques, keep the promotion going at your event, and build on the momentum afterwards through social media.
1. Use Pictures from Last Year
Post last year’s picture and/or turn these into image memes. If you’re using pictures of people and not just food and location, make sure they are all flattering. You don’t want someone who hates that photo of themselves to get angry with you.
2. Don’t Forget Video
Put together a video of last year’s footage or a picture montage set to music. People love to see themselves or check out if they knew anyone who attended last year. Make it fun. Post it to Facebook (don’t forget to feature it on your page) and to YouTube (the #2 search engine in the world). You might want to use Vimeo as well (no distracting banner advertisements). Tag the videos accordingly.
3. Create Visual Testimonials
Go through last year’s comments, emails, and surveys. Pull out flattering quotes and marry them with an inspirational image. Using photos of the host city as the backdrop for the visual quote is a nice touch, so is using pictures that match what the attendee is referring to. Be creative and use striking visuals in order to get noticed.
4. Use One Hashtag for Your Event
Easy search. End of story. Don’t muddle your social media efforts with multiple hashtags that no one will remember. Choose one and stick with it. Share this hashtag with everyone. You can even place it on table cards at the event.
5. Give Your Ambassadors Special Treatment
Give your ambassadors and past attendees discount codes they can share and track the code provided so that you can see how far the referrals are reaching. Provide them with visual content to share and ask them to. Some associations and businesses offer a referral contest to increase word-of-mouth marketing. Not only does this appeal to the people receiving the discounts, but their referrers feel special that they are able to offer an exclusive opportunity to their tribe.
At Your Event
6. Make Your Conference a Social Space
Encourage people to share their experiences while at your conference via social media. This can take many forms from creating placards in public spaces reminding them of the hashtag and how they can connect with you socially, offering a bloggers’ lounge that includes places to recharge and a quiet spot to write, using software that aggregates and shares live posts on a screen for all to see.
SeaWorld incorporates this last technique when visitors are waiting for shows to begin. It keeps them occupied, entertained, and encouraged to post because they want to see their posts on the big screen. Other organizations create a top poster list every day creating a competition among attendees to share the most.
7. Walk the Walk
You can’t expect guests to be social if you aren’t. Every staff member in attendance should do their best to share content even if that means only sharing session schedules and sharing attendees’ posts. When you share their content, attendees feel special.
8. Share Quotes from Speakers
It’s a rare conference where attendees can be part of every session they want. Many overlap and they end up needing to choose one. If possible, get staff members to retweet content from live sessions. This allows attendees to get value from more than one session at a time.
Post-Event Social Media
You’ve had a great conference. Built excitement around attendance and what happened at the conference. Your attendees are returning home happy and inspired. Build on that euphoria through social media.
9. Share Teasers
Some organizations sell virtual access to session after the event is over, others like the Higher Education Users Group (HEUG) makes recordings of each session free to every member. Whether you decide to charge or give recordings away as a benefit of membership, you should release sound bites to whet your audience’s appetite and get them interested in the sessions.
10. Keep the Conversation Going
You will undoubtedly be relieved when you wrap up a successful conference but remember to keep the conversation going by asking people open-ended questions on social media like what they enjoyed most and what they learnt. Create content around the conference sharing everything from interesting facts about consumption to pictures. Keep the buzz going right into your announcements about next year’s event.
There are a number of ways to use social media to increase your marketing reach, influence attendance decisions, and improve retention. It’s important to note that social media, like most relationships, must be an ongoing effort. Improving your association’s social media means consistent efforts before, during, and after your event.
These are just a few suggestions. You can find a lot more here. What would you add?