You’re all set for your event, but how can you make the most of marketing tools in a digital age? Kelly Vickers, Director of Meet Cambridge, shares best practice for using social media tools at events.
Over the past five years, we’ve learnt that social media is a fantastic way of measuring, promoting and sustaining engagement with events. Here are our top 10 tips – please get in touch if you have anything else to share with our community of event organisers.
- It seems a given but these days all delegates should be given free access to decent Wi-Fi; ask your venue in advance about the bandwidth as it’s important to ensure that the venue can provide sufficient capacity for WiFi at your event. Provide tailored hashtags to unite conversation around the event and promote the hashtag on the day at the event.
- Find and follow your delegates on social channels in advance of the event and follow back all new contacts of interest. This might provide opportunities to develop professional relationships by giving you an open platform to communicate directly to create a community around your event.
- Share quotes or video clips of speakers from the event for those who couldn’t make it, upload presentations to a platform such as Slideshare, ask for comments and respond to them. Ask engaging questions relating to topics from your event to keep the conversations going. Engagement can also be increased by running fun competitions using social media at the event.
- Provide an online platform to allow delegates to pose questions/report issues? It may be easier or more practical to have queries sorted over social media rather than tying people’s time up with phone calls. It might be worth considering a Q&A Twitter session with a specific hashtag and specific time so you can encourage people to tune in and follow along. A tech-savvy person should be in charge of the social media channels used for your event.
- There may be a forum or groups that you can connect to that will help promote your event. Sending event information to community groups can help with boosting attendee numbers, as well as get the word out about the event.
- It may be helpful to focus on one social media platform rather than spreading yourself thinly over too many. Having an informative and thriving page on one platform can have more potential than a few pages across various sites. Think about the strategy behind your event and your audience and choose platforms that tie into that. Make sure that the audience reach and engagement is evaluated following the event.
- Large-scale events could be accompanied by the use of an app. These can include the daily conference schedule, any papers contributed alongside of speakers and an interactive map of the building. Apps do come at a cost and will need to be sorted a few months prior for their development, but can really add to the event if applicable.
- Bombardment of content can lead to a loss of following. Make sure not to post so often that it annoys those who follow the page but not too infrequently that messages get disjointed.
- Choose how formal or informal you are being and stick with it. This includes information being given out, language and use of content. Formal pages should use professional-looking photos and give concise information. Informal pages can be more fluid on what is posted but should still be posting relevant content. Make sure that the style of your social media is appropriate for your target market. Log in to a different account and see how it looks to someone from outside of the admin site.
- Keep delegates updated during and after the event and encourage them to share information using specific hashtags. Here's a handy checklist you can share with delegates to encourage them to participate. Content can include updates of information, pictures of what’s happening or has happened, or cancellations. Always remember to thank those involved after the event has finished. Try not to let the social media drop off during busy periods.