The events industry is constantly changing, always looking for new ways to enhance and improve the event experience for their attendees. With social media now being an integral part of any business marketing strategy, why would you not include it within your events? There were 2.46 billion users on social networks in 2017 with the number predicted to grow to 2.62 billion users in 2018 (Statista 2017), this just confirms that social media needs to be a priority where possible.
I’m sure many businesses now use social media daily to shout about their successes, engage with their customers and draw new business in. And from the amount of events that are advertised on Facebook, it’s evident that people are taking full advantage of the free network to promote their events. However, social media can be used for way more than just promoting an event. If social media is used correctly and to its full potential then it can attract potential attendees, build relationships with customers, generate engagement and extend the attendee experience way past the event day. Therefore, it is crucial that when your business creates an event strategy, social media is incorporated prior, during and after the event to ensure event success!
Here at Zeun Digital we believe that social media can be integrated within your event in 3 phases and we’ll tell you how and why.
Phase One – Promotion of the event
To engage with potential attendees, create buzz and gain exposure for your event, social media is the most effective way that you will be able to do this prior to the event.
- Create a Facebook event – you can get the ball rolling by inviting people you know who may be interested in your event, then get sharing, liking and commenting to ensure the event appears in users’ timelines. You will then also be able to gage roughly the interest in the event.
- Event hashtag – create an event specific hashtag and get using it on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and now LinkedIn, this is a great way to increase visibility of your event through various stakeholders such as suppliers and attendees being able to join in with the hashtag. When it comes to the event day you can continue to use the event specific hashtag to keep the buzz going. See our blog on Hashtags.
- A sneak peek into the event – take photos and create short videos to get the public excited about the event. Give your followers clues as to what will be included in the event, who might be coming and who you are as the organisers. This is an opportunity to build a relationship with your attendees and get them invested in being there before attending.
- Countdown – I’m sure you’ve all seen organisations like Glastonbury Festival, Great Run or Big Church Day Out sharing countdown videos or images in the run up to their events, this is to create excitement and hype. Use this technique to build anticipation of greater things to come.
Phase Two – Live Event Experience
Increase the event experience by getting individuals to interact with the organisers, other attendees and suppliers on social media throughout the event. It’s also a really important and effective way of getting messages out to your attendees when necessary.
- Live streaming – By streaming your event live you are enabling individuals who were unable to attend your event to be involved through seeing what’s going on. If your event happens annually then this may be the enticement they need to attend next time. Live streaming also gives you the potential to reach millions of people getting your event and brand great exposure.
- Provide customer support – I’m sure during your event there will either be a health and safety notice or a parked car that needs to be moved or even a plug for an area of the event that you want to draw attention to, well this is where social media makes this easy – send it out on all your channels, to your twitter wall, various screens around the event and your attendees will be notified instantly. Also it is an easy way for attendees to interact with the organisers to find out any information that they need.
- Use that hashtag – Keep using your event specific hashtag and get it trending. Get your attendees to tweet and post using the hashtag making your event visible to a wider audience. You could even pull the posts up on screens around the venue giving attendees the incentive to post.
- Run a competition – everyone loves free things, create discussion on your social media channels by offering prizes to the most engaged attendees. The more people post, the more visible it will be online resulting in more people learning about your event and brand.
- Get taking those photos – encourage attendees to be taking photos of themselves and posting them on social media – this is a great way of getting your attendees engaged and it also provides you with lots of images to use for after the event.
Phase Three – Extending the life of the event
Keep reminding people about the event by being active on your social media platforms after the event. Share photos, comments and highlight videos to remind attendees of what a great time they had with the hope of encouraging them to attend future events.
- Get feedback – By monitoring and analysing the social media activity around your event, this will provide insights into what attendees liked and disliked ultimately helping organisers make improvements for next time. Also if you’re wanting attendees to fill out feedback forms, social media offers you another platform to try and gain that information.
- Post content – Post out images, videos and comments from the event day to extend the hype around your event. It will also remind your attendees what a great time they had, increasing the chances of them attending another one of your events.
- Stay connected – Use your event page to stay connected to your attendees and potential attendees all year round – this will hopefully encourage them to come back.
- Write blogs – Find topics from your event to write about and create blogs. Then you can distribute these out over time to remind your attendees of the event they attended.
As you can see there are many benefits of using social media prior, during and after an event and hopefully you have now been persuaded to make social media an integral part of your event strategy. Here at Zeun Digital we offer a social media service specifically for events. We can take that one extra stressful task off of your to do list, giving you more time and energy to focus on all the planning, running and breakdown of your event while we look after and help make the digital aspect of your event a success.