Social media best practices are constantly improved and refined each day, creating an increasingly competitive landscape for those using it.
There is no escaping social media. In fact, it’s been integrated into almost every aspect of the business world with billions of users worldwide, and it will only grow stronger from there.
This fact is especially true in the event industry where customer experience and engagement means everything, and social media is proved to be the catalyst for it all.
Experts share creative social media ideas for events
Social media is an integral aspect of any event, but it isn’t necessarily the easiest to get right. As the competition increases, there becomes a greater need to keep up and do it better than anyone else.
To help you succeed with this task, I asked event industry professionals to share their very best social media tips that they use before, during, and after an event to ensure social success.
Looking for specific ideas for the different stages of your event? Feel free to jump around!
Here are the best tips to use before your event is fully underway. These tips will incentivize your audience and create hype before the big day!
1. Provide value upfront
“Time and time again, we hear from brands who are frustrated that their events are not resulting in meaningful social media mentions and activity. How can they quantify ROI if no one posted? You don’t gain anything unless you’re strategic. Most people don’t just feel compelled to post; they need to see the value – what’s in it for them? You have to present something so enviable, so FOMO-inducing that they can’t wait to share with their followers.
Pretend you’re the attendee and you want to share a post from the event. Would you know the brand handles and hashtags? Probably not, right? Come up with a unique hashtag for the event and integrate it into signage and materials so that it’s too obvious not to use, and I mean everywhere.”
- Rachel Ford, President & Co-Founder, Ford Media Lab
2. Communicate the importance of posting
“Before the event even starts, be sure to communicate the importance of sharing pictures, videos, and content on social not only to your guests and team but also to your speakers and event partners. You could even incentivize your guests, which could be something like a ticket upgrade or an exclusive offer or competition prize.”
- Tristan Griffiths, Chief Innovations Officer, ItsNomad9
3. Research, learn, emulate!
“Seek out ideas from similar events in your industry and learn about the biggest and most successful events you can think of. It does not take a big budget to implement a successful social media strategy, so allow yourself to replicate the best of the best!
Social media advertisements are a great way to target a very specific audience based on location, interests, industries, and more. If you have a strong understanding of your event’s demographics, you can appeal to an even wider audience and garner excitement before the big day.
Lastly, watch a run-through of your speaker or panel before your live event and save the most compelling quotes as tweets in your ‘Drafts’ folder. Once the event is underway, fire them off in real-time, saving yourself time and effort on the big day.”
- Sabrina Horrisberger, CEO & Founder, Influence DS & Board Member of ILEA (NYC Metro)
4. Build a warm and engaged audience before your event
“Build connections and grow a warm audience prior to the event. Often times, my clients already have an engaged and large social following. If they don’t, we will spend months working on building a target audience for them using organic social media so that when they launch their event, they have people ready and waiting for it.
We spend seven days hyping up the event before we even release the registration form. This means providing teaser videos, testimonials, swag giveaways and more! Lastly, I love using social media to build FOMO! Once ticket sales start rolling in, we always ask our attendees (and offer some kind of incentive) for them to shout out about it on social media. We want everyone to know that this event is the place to be!"
- Laurie Shields, Owner, Event-Filler
The big day is here! Social engagement during your event is possibly the most important of them all. Use these creative tips to support you through every little detail!
5. Offer rewards for those who are engaged
“Have your graphic designer on alert to help make quick quote cards to help showcase key thought leaders at the event. These can quickly go viral as audience members see particularly impactful industry insights.
Either before or during the event, offer a reward or prize for those who are engaging with the event via social media. Ask attendees to post photos of the event to the hashtag to win prizes in the form of discounts, free tickets, backstage passes, or event swag.
Lastly, leverage influencers! Whether they are a part of your company, a speaker, or an attendee, ask those with large followings to engage with your event. Make custom posts or images for them to post with the event hashtag. If an influencer is speaking, ask them to promote the details around the time and topic.“
- Anne Fairfield-Sonn, Dir. of Communications, CiBO Technologies, Inc.
6. Do not forgot the importance of great lighting
“Create a truly Instagrammable moment, complete with great lighting. Lighting is often overlooked and SO important. If the photos look good, your event looks good; if they don’t, the photos probably won’t get posted in the first place. If you can, bring in a photographer or live photo booth that allows guests to post to Insta in real-time. Bonus: offer an incentive for posting; count a shared post as an entry toward a giveaway after the event.”
- Rachel Ford
7. Let influential people build hype on social
“I have bloggers and industry influencers to take over our Instagram story as a way of generating buzz prior to the event, engaging audiences during the event, and creating content for our communication channels after the event.
For example, for a planned fashion show, we partnered with a personality from the show Project Runway to take over our social media the whole week leading up to the event. This helped promote last-minute ticket sales and got people more excited. During a culinary fundraiser involving celebrity chefs competing with each other, we engaged audiences by having a blogger take over. She interviewed each of the chefs and showed what was happening behind the scenes. After each event, we used quotes from the takeovers to create blog posts, ran screencaps as throwback pictures, and uploaded the videos to drive traffic to our YouTube account.”
- Sheila Estaniel, Founder, Dilatation Agency
8. Provide opportunities for user-generated content
“Setting up areas that encourage people to take photos, such as backdrops at the entrance of your event, will help create user-generated content. Be sure to have someone ready to respond to any comments and posts about the event to further drive a conversation and more engagement with the brand.”
- Tristan Griffiths
9. Engage your guests' social networks
“Use the right camera, audio, and lighting equipment. If possible, assemble a small team of people that can focus exclusively on social media during your event. This will ensure that your channels are receiving enough attention and there will not be any typos or embarrassing snafus.
Bring your online audience into your event with a live stream on your social media channels. The live stream is an incredibly lucrative marketing tool that you should be using during each event. It is as easy as setting up a tripod and streaming a concert, panel discussion, or speech. Although not as effective as video streaming, live-tweeting is an even easier social media tool.
Invite Twitter followers (both those watching the live stream at home, and those who are physically present at your event) to Tweet their questions during a presentation. For the Q&A, select your favorite questions and allow your presenter or keynote speaker to answer them. You can give the contributor a special shout out by posting their questions on the projector for all to see.
The best way to reach the networks of your event attendees is always through their own social media pages! When your participants post on their channels, you reach an audience that is exponentially larger than any advertising money can buy. To successfully accomplish this, there are a few key points to implement:
- Create a unique hashtag that will put all of the event posts in one location. You can collect the best photos and audience testimonials and re-post them on your brand’s accounts.
- Social media influencers have even larger digital networks. Reach out to your industry’s influencers, invite them to attend your event, and ask them to promote it on their social media channels.
- Make your event truly exceptional. People are more likely to post on social media if they feel they’ve done something meaningful. Zone in on whatever is likely to be a highlight of your event, whether that’s a speaker, meaningful exercise, or inspirational moment.
Encourage your guests to check into your event on Facebook, post a photo on Instagram, or write about their experience on Twitter or LinkedIn. Automatically enter each social media post into a raffle. Provide an exciting prize to the winner, or even give away free tickets to your next event!”
- Sabrina Horrisberger
10. Get interactive with a live social feed
"Using a live social media feed adds an excellent interactive element for an event. Attendees posting to your selected, branded hashtag on their social platforms can see their posts come across on a display of your choosing. Whether it be on a projector or simply on your site for website visitors, it taps into the excitement at your event, making it more engaging. Not only does it encourage social conversations about your brand, but it also allows you to keep a log of these conversations. Depending on the aggregator you use, these posts can also be moderated. In addition, the items collected by your feed can also be used at a later date to refresh your social content and keep the conversation going."
- Shawn Pillar, Director of Marketing, Juicer.io
You're not done yet! Allow these tips to guide you through the post-event process. These ideas will help you nurture leads, build brand equity, and boost awareness!
11. Get your key players and leaders involved
“Ask your senior team and other influential attendees if they would be willing to summarize the event. These insights can be turned into blog posts, press quotes, and promotion for next year, showcasing why the event is a must-attend.”
12. Show your guests some social love
“Like, comment, and share the posts of attendees after the event. By rewarding those who were engaged at the event with attention, brand loyalty will follow. Invite these social sharers to future events, too; after all, you know their invite has a proven ROI.”
- Rachel Ford
13. Capture the best moments for future sharing
“During the event, I always record a live video (usually the most exciting part of the event) and then share it the next day to all of my social channels. This post-event video shares how fun the event was with those who missed it.
- Michael Onsurez, Creator, Sabor On The Bay
This is just the beginning
Social media will continue to play a massive role in the event industry as new technology, strategies, and innovations emerge. Try out these tips to promote your next event better, garner greater engagement, and capture premium leads. You’ll be surprised by the amount of power social media holds. But don’t forget, staying up to date with the latest event and social trends while forging your own path and trying something that’s never been done before is the ultimate key to continued success in the event space.
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