As a seasoned event professional, you might think you know all there is to know about executing a successful event, but in the ever-changing world of business, there’s always room for improvement--especially when it comes to your social media strategy.
Here, we’re throwing the spotlight on the power of social media--honing in on why it’s such an important part of the event process and how you can add it to your arsenal in time for your next event.
Why social media matters
Social media platforms offer more than just an outlet for informal conversation. As more and more businesses move to online trading, social media channels are becoming invaluable lifelines--allowing companies to promote their services, grow their client base and, ultimately, increase sales.
From generating interest in an event to the all-important follow-up, harnessing the power of social media can put your business on the map--ensuring your target audience can’t help but notice you. While traditional modes of marketing your business can still be effective, a timely tweet or informal Facebook status guarantees mass reach with minimal effort, something that a single phone call or email can’t achieve.
How does it all work? Before, during and after your event Before the event: As the world of social media continues to grow, the number of platforms available to users is also increasing. From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instagram--and now even Snapchat--there are a number of channels ready for your business to explore.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the ultimate conversation starters, allowing you to post event details and find out who’s interested in attending. This is a great opportunity to get people talking about an event and start a hashtag, thus encouraging users to do the same and use it throughout the event. By establishing these connections ahead of an event, you’re one step closer to breaking down the brand-consumer barrier.
Perhaps less well-known in the business sphere, Instagram and Snapchat allow attendees to see snippets of what an event will offer. Whether this is posting an image of your event exhibition stand or creating a Snapchat story to give your followers an overview of the event experience, the more involved you can get your audience, the better.
During the event: During the hustle and bustle of a busy event, it can be easy to neglect your social media platforms--but this can be costly. If previous event experience has taught you that you won’t have time to actively update your channels, why not get another team member on board, someone whose sole focus is to keep your social media accounts busy and reply to attendees? Alternatively, you can schedule posts using social media management systems such as Hootsuite, so that your platforms appear to be posting live during an event.
An active online presence can encourage foot traffic to your event, alerting attendees to any timely promotions, talks or demonstrations that you might be offering. Should your event location or time need to change, you can use your social accounts to keep attendees updated and ensure potential future consumers are still able to attend.
After the event: Creating a post-event buzz is easier said than done, but in order to keep your business at the forefront of attendees’ minds, the hard work must continue. If you’re keen to move away from hard selling, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook offer an easy and informal way to contact interested prospects post-event - helping you to ensure any valuable leads don’t go cold.
Following up after an event can be as easy as sending out a friendly tweet. For example;
‘Who attended the X event? #Xevent’
‘What did you guys think of the X event? #Xevent’
‘Here are some of our snaps from the X event. Who wants to share theirs? #Xevent’
This can encourage engagement and start a widespread discussion about how people found the event, which is a sure-fire way to gather mass feedback in one place. Every time an attendee replies, your business will appear on multiple Twitter profiles, putting your brand in front of potentially millions of users.
Carrying on these relationships post-event puts you one step closer to turning potential prospects into paying clients. While events have a number of benefits, they’re a competitive sphere … And failing to follow up means you’re putting the competition one step ahead of your business.
Siobhan Sweeney is a marketing executive at shop4pop.com, which offers more than 40 years' experience creating and producing full event and retail campaigns for large clients in a variety of industries.