As event professionals, our social media accounts are typically flooded with gorgeous images of our latest events and the elements that made them stand-out experiences: gorgeous food, beautifully designed tables, stunning venues and more.
In a time when COVID-19 means all bets (and live events) are off, it can be tempting to stop posting on social media altogether, or to throw all your rules for doing so out the window and continue to share content that, while beautiful, doesn't resonate with the situation we currently find ourselves in.
However, it is precisely during this time that maintaining your brand’s voice, mission and standards is even more important.
We may not be planning destination experiences now, but my team and I have been utilizing our expertise in doing just that to create relevant, on-brand content that takes into account the current state of the world.
Here are three ways you can harness our approach to create meaningful content that showcases your company’s (or personal) expertise while live events are on hiatus:
1. Showcase your market expertise.
When it’s safe to travel and once again bring people together, clients will want to be out and about more than ever. Whether they stay local or take their live events to a destination, they will need an expert in their chosen city to show them the right way to take advantage of it for an all-encompassing experience.
Destination expertise isn’t built overnight. It takes months and years of scouting venues and activity options, along with building relationships with vendor partners, to make sure your client’s vision to “get away” doesn’t become a nightmare.
Now is the time to show off your hard-earned knowledge. Post content that shows you know your market or target destination cities inside and out. Include photos that feature your favorite venues, restaurants, vendors and more. Use this downtime to establish your authority as an expert to have on the team.
2. Share virtual experiences.
Live events are all about connecting people through shared experiences. Look for ways the venues or partners you would normally work with are providing virtual experiences, and share those with your audience.
For instance, museums all over the world are offering virtual tours of their exhibits, the Met and other opera houses are offering nightly streams, and many state zoos, safaris and other attractions are offering a glimpse into their world online.
These virtual options might not fully satisfy in the way live experiences do, but they can be a fun way to engage with your audience, provide insight into the types of experiences you look to offer clients and their guests in the future, and harness content already out there.
Whatever you post, be sure to include your own details about why you are sharing it. Paint a picture of your unique perspective on the space or experience you’re featuring--how it ties in with your target clientele’s event purposes and experiences you can create for their guests.
3. Communicate accurately, yet positively, about COVID-19.
During this time, it is important to act responsibly, deliver real value, and do it right. To do so, you must stay updated every day about the COVID-19 situation as it develops.
You can help by communicating safety and security tips, provided by the Centers for Disease Control or other national institutions. At Vibe, we shared a DIY template to create your own face mask (using the recommendations of the CDC).
You can also help to communicate hope and empathy. This can be done just by spreading positivity or by helping your community and small businesses.
For example, the food and beverage industry has taken a huge hit with the requirements for social distancing. Restaurants and caterers are either severely limited in what they’re currently able to offer or are closed altogether.
For those that are still operational, now is a great time to give them a shout-out on your social media channels. Let your followers know which of your go-to restaurant venues or caterers are offering to-go or delivery options, and don’t limit yourself to just those that are local to you. Give some love to your favorite destination restaurants and caterers, too. With my team, we promoted restaurants from various cities including Miami, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Texas, and Chicago.
While creating valuable social media content can feel daunting when your normal arsenal of photos and on-site videos is void, the importance of being active on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn is even more important. This is where our clients, friends and family are spending their time connecting. With a little strategic thinking, you can be a part of that conversation and remain true to your brand.
It’s not a matter of if events come back, but rather when. And when they do, your clients and potential clients will know to come to you.
Valerie Bihet has more than 20 years of experience in the management, design and production of special events that communicate and achieve her client’s objectives. Originally from Paris, Bihet founded Vibe, an event design and destination management company, in Miami in 2004. Since then, she has grown the company to eight employees and produced more than 1,100 events throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, East Asia and South America. Her clientele includes global brands such as Dior, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, LVMH, Coty, L'Oréal, Barclays, Banco Santander, McCain, Merck, Thea Pharmaceuticals, and more. She received her master's degree in marketing and business administration from the renowned Sorbonne University in Paris.