Technology and particularly social media has had a massive impact on the event industry. Traditional practises that we used only 5 or 10 years ago are now redundant, and new innovations are quickly adopted and refined from event to event. If you host an annual event you will probably notice these changes even more, as new technological options vie for your attention every year. Even for those of us who are involved in several large events a year, it can be challenging to keep up!
Of course not all new event technologies are here to stay. However, if present usage is anything to go by, social media looks like it’s here for the duration. But are you using social media to its full potential?
Social Media For Event Promotion
I would be surprised to hear of anyone who doesn’t use their social media channels to promote up and coming events, but there’s more to it than simply tweeting “buy your tickets here”. Social advertising means you can target your audience directly, and for many it’s increasingly becoming a substitute for mailing lists. It certainly can reach those potential attendees who are not already on your mailing list.
As well as paid for ads there are plenty of opportunities to engage with your social media followers using organic tweets and updates. These have the potential to go viral using your core followers to promote your event further. Even a simple plea to “share your post” can offer real value by utilising the online version of word of mouth. Ensuring that there are plenty of opportunities for your delegates to share their plan to attend your event is also important, many people will make the decision on whether or not to attend an event based on the intentions of their peers.
Using Social Media To Plan Your Event
Increasingly event organisers are using social media to help shape their events through audience participation. Whether it is inviting questions prior to a panel style Q&A, or actively seeking recommendations for speakers and then engaging with prospects through social media. One key benefit of this approach is that it increases engagement and loyalty through a collaborative network, and so too word of mouth.
Engagement Before Your Event…
Surely the buzzword of the past decade, “engagement” has always been important for event organisers and online backchannels have been used to this effect. Social media provides its own opportunities whether through event specific groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, communities on Google+, or the use of Twitter hashtags. Here attendees can meet other delegates, ask questions, engage with speakers and the event organiser can maintain a consistent level of engagement in the run up to the event.
…And Engagement During Your Event
Once you’ve got attendees through the door there are still good reasons to continue to use social media for engagement throughout the event. Not least to enhance your delegate’s experience and the perceived value. Technologies such as Twitter walls can be utilised to keep levels of engagement high, and as a method of getting live interaction with the delegates in the room. Likewise, use your attendees and their social media profiles to become brand advocates for your event; NFC can pass delegate interaction to their social channels and increase your brand and event awareness.
Mobile Apps and Social Media
As more attendees embrace event mobile apps over traditional printed programmes, it becomes possible to integrate the various technologies you are using in one place. Simple tools such as the ability to “like” a particular aspect of an event, or thank a speaker online for their presentation all contribute to the success of the event.
Social Media Can Show Non-Attendees What They Are Missing
Looking to the future, your social media output throughout the event can also help convert non-attendees into ticket sales for the future. Creating a “buzz” on social media will certainly make some people wish they were there, and tools such as live streaming can go further. Video is an effective way of engaging a remote audience; upload content from your first day of the event to YouTube or Vimeo and you could have a spike of additional ticket sales for subsequent days.
Post Event Engagement
Your social media channels do not shutdown immediately after your event, and nor should they. Now’s the time to use them to create resources to share the success of the event; and promote your next or other offerings. Tools such as Storify allow you to collate conversations and engagement surrounding your event, and SlideShare can be used to share presentations, and has great SEO value.
Furthermore social media monitoring tools allow you to collect metrics and analyse activity, all useful data for refining your future social media strategies and measuring the success of your event.
Our experience of organising dynamic and engaging events makes us experts on the use and possibilities of event technologies like social media. Call us if you would like to discuss how NRG Digital can realise your aspirations for your next event: 01252 629 996
How are you integrating social media into your events? Share your success stories using the comments box below.