This is a sponsored post written by Suzanne Fougere, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Communications with the Halifax Convention Centre. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.
Social media has changed the way delegates experience, engage with and think about events. From the time a delegate registers for an event through every session and workshop, they’re searching for ways to engage online. The good news is that there’s no shortage of opportunities to interact and engage with event attendees. Here are a few ways to create a buzzworthy event.
Build The Excitement
From the time you begin advertising your event, social media offers a chance to build momentum, build your brand and build community. Use pre-event information, event collateral and your digital platforms to encourage delegates to participate in the online conversation.
Hashtags have become the universal way for delegates to be a part of that conversation. By building an active event hashtag, you create not only ongoing, real time sharing, but also a depository of posts that you can tap into for qualitative and quantitative post-event feedback and data.
Pro Tip: Keep your event hashtag succinct. Twitter, for example, only offers 140 characters—make sure your hashtag doesn’t take up too many of those. Avoid using years in hashtags so that, if your hashtag has traction, you can use the same hashtag year over year.
Manage Conversations in Real Time
Aggregating and monitoring social media conversations can play a big role in the delegate’s end-to-end event experience. With your team monitoring tweets, posts and comments, you can answer questions, help with wayfinding, provide customer care and exceed delegate expectations by understanding what they need in the moment and creating a delightful experience.
It seems simple, but have your team turn on push notifications for all social channels during your event. It will ensure not a tweet, photo or post goes unnoticed, and keeps your social team on their toes and responsive throughout the event.
Putting a few paid dollars behind your social posts can go a long way to increase the number of eyes who see it. Promoting your event with paid content can increase the reach, engagement and conversions, leading to more event attendees and an active following. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have easy-to-navigate ad manager platforms that make paid promotions a cinch.
Bring Attendees Behind the Scenes
Everyone loves feeling like they’re a part of something exclusive. As you get ready for your event, bring event attendees into the prep by offering sneak peeks, follower-only content and behind-the-scenes videos and photos using Instagram and Snapchat stories. These short, engaging photos or videos are a great chance to build excitement and add personality to your event.
Gone are the days of sitting quietly and listening to a keynote speaker or presentation - connecting on a deeper and more interactive level is the expectation, and the norm. During sessions, encourage questions, commentary and feedback by leveraging social tools that are easily accessible for all attendees.
Engaging with event attendees and taking questions using Twitter has become a popular model for capturing important discussions. Using Twitter polls, you can father feedback or opinions from delegates in real-time, while immersing them in the presentation content. Twitter polls also bring your in-event conversations to the digital space.
Encourage your speakers to make their presentations tweet-worthy. From use of hashtags, to taking audience questions using Twitter, to making slides available to attendees, taking time to plan engagement opportunities with your event speakers can go a long way to create highly memorable keynotes.
It’s not just about who’s at your event now, it’s about who could be at your event in the future. Use Facebook Live to share snippets of your event with social followers not in attendance. Facebook Live creates a chance to give social followers a sneak peek into the experience they’re missing.
Bring Event Visuals To Life
It all started with the humble photo booth - a place where attendees could snap a photo with fun props. And there’s no denying it - there’s still a time and a place for a photo booth, and everyone loves a good prop. But photo platforms give you an opportunity to create instant engagement that incorporates your event branding.
Snapchat is designed to capture an event in real-time. Geofilters are affordable, customizable illustrations that layer over a user’s Snapchats during your event. Anyone who receives the snap or views a user’s story will be exposed to your event brand, and with any luck you’ll create a feeling of FOMO for potential future attendees.
The best Instagram feeds are carefully curated and capture the best of a brand or event, and that requires careful editing and restraint. Instagram Stories lets you be a bit more playful and capture the event in real-time, with the ability to apply filters, add stickers, tag partners, and build a multimedia story featuring video, Boomerangs or still images.
Hashtag and Instagram walls continue to be popular. Work with your venue and AV partner to help you find ways to leverage digital signage, screens and WiFi solutions that bring the social conversation into the event space. Use your on-site social media team and social aggregate sites to monitor and curate the ongoing online dialogue taking place throughout the event.
From visuals and marketing, to event logistics and engaging workshops, to real time connection and choosing the right channels for the right audience - social media plays an integral role in planning, advertising and executing a great event.
Know where your audience is, get on those channels, and create compelling content before, during and after your event that gets delegates talking, engaging and sharing their experiences throughout.