Any event organizer will tell you that the hard part of staging an event may seem to be in the planning and making sure every last detail is in place, but really the most difficult task is getting the word out about the event and drawing attendees. We’re going to tell you all the ways for maximizing your event with social media.
Value of Social Media
With the availability of various social media, this job is easier, but event organizers may not be aware of the extent to which they can leverage social media to not only get people to come to the event but also get them involved in spreading the word about it and keep them engaged long after the event is over. Social media can be used in the planning and organizing stages of an event and used to add continuing value after the event has occurred — a huge benefit if the event is one that recurs on a weekly, monthly or annual basis.
Social media is a valuable tool that any event organizer should have in their tool box and at the heart of how an event is organized and promoted. It can be instrumental in encouraging engagement on the day of the event and maintaining buzz after it is over. In other words, social media should be used at every stage — before, during and after an event. (That’s what we mean by “Maximizing Your Event with Social Media.”)
Below are several ways an event organizer can use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, SlideShare, Instagram and Pinterest to make their job easier as well as attract and engage attendees.
Organizing an event:
- Find caterers, photographers/videographers, florists and other event suppliers via reviews on sites such as Yelp! and recommendations on social networks such as LinkedIn.
- Explore Pinterest for some ideas for your event, such as décor, floral arrangements, costumes, etc.
- Collaborate with other event organizers, promoters and suppliers via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Use online event invitation and reminder tools to gather RSVPs.
- Invite registered or prospective attendees to provide input on food, speakers and entertainment and to help spread the word.
Promoting an event (depending on the event, this effort should start around 90 – 120 days out):
- Post the event on the social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn, including LinkedIn Groups) as well as on all news website events calendars so people can find and share it.
- Write a blog and issue a press release about the event, which should have a dedicated page as well as randomly-placed banners on your website.
- Integrate social media such as Facebook and Twitter with the event registration so attendees who have just registered will share and promote the event with their networks.
- Create a hashtag for the event so people can follow discussions and updates around the event and interact with one another.
- Post reminders and updates on the event on your social media pages and blog, encouraging discussion on who is attending, what they look forward to most, etc. You want to Tweet often about the event to generate and keep conversations going.
- Create short videos promoting the event, as they are easy to post and share and will rank high in search results.
Enhancing an Event as it Happens:
- Award prizes to the attendees who are most engaged and tweeting, posting and sharing highlights from the event.
- Live-stream your event online so it can reach a broader audience.
- Create event hashtags that will allow anyone not present to follow the event.
- Offer incentives that encourage attendees to “check-in” at specific booths, desks or activity areas at the event using social media or an app such as Foursquare.
- Monitor social media for inquiries from attendees and others so you can respond and provide customer support.
Providing Continuing Value After an Event:
- Videotape the event, especially the presenters and attendees, and upload the highlights of it to YouTube so attendees and others can relive it.
- Post speaker presentations to SlideShare and other networks, or blog about them so that attendees and others can find them long after the event has concluded.
- Take and gather photos of the event and post them to the social networks, Instagram and Pinterest.
- Conduct attendee surveys or monitor the post-event discussions on the social networks to obtain insights on what worked and what didn’t so improvements can be made with future events.
- Maintain and build this community of attendees and other event participants by continuing to keep them engaged through posts and tweets with info on upcoming events, relevant news and updates regarding speakers and venues, and other related events, discussions and content.
As you can see, there are numerous ways you for maximizing your event with social media. If you can think of any others, please let me know. There are effective social media tactics for almost every step as you organize, promote, conduct and seek to extend the life of the event. Using social media alone, you can increase attendance, reach a broader audience, and get your attendees more engaged, not just at the event but across the social sphere