STAY ON TOP OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA GAME
SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO MAXIMIZE THE PROMOTIONAL POWER, ATTENDANCE, EXPOSURE, AND ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUR EVENT. IF YOU KNOW EVEN BASIC INFORMATION ON HOW TO RUN A GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA GAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND EVENT(S), YOU WILL BE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SOME OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY MARKETING TOOLS OUT THERE. BONUS: THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY FREE! SO, CHECK OUT OUR QUICK PRIMER ON WHERE TO BEGIN TO BECOME A SOCIAL MEDIA MAVEN.
PLAN YOUR STRATEGY
First, begin by setting up or reassessing your social strategy. Make sure you're assessing how your systems are currently functioning: Are you using a social channel that isn't working for you? Do you need to tweak your content? Is your content tailored well to each channel? Make sure you know what works best on each social network and remember that it's essential that you diversify your content accordingly. Be sure you're planning content that is uniquely curated to each platform and is targeted to both your core customer and your niche. (If you want to know more about that last tip, check out our post on how to best appeal to your target audience).
FOCUS ON THE BEST CHANNELS FOR YOUR BIZ
Why doesn't the same content work across social media channels? Each has its own raison d'etre and it's important to understand why each is useful to your event in its own way. If your company doesn't already have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, you should have at least these in place before your event. Instagram is entirely visually-focused so curating compelling visual content is essential there. Google+ and Facebook are both good for balancing written content and photos, while Twitter is all about wit and brevity. LinkedIn is probably necessary if your connections are all professionally-related or if it's already a strong channel for you for new business. Depending on your company or event, a video account like YouTube or Vimeo might also be essential. If your brand appeals more to millennials or even teenagers, you might want to get your Snapchat game up to speed.
MAXIMIZE THE #HASHTAG
What's social media without a hashtag? Well, surprisingly, the hashtag hasn't even been around for an entire decade. It's origins are Twitter-based but have now spread across social media networks so take advantage of how they can widen your audience and increase your engagement. Here's the quick and dirty for how to hashtag like an #expert.
1. Choose one or few powerful word(s). We recommend no more than three words total. Do some preliminary research on different networks (especially Twitter and Instagram) to be sure your hashtag isn't already taken or associated with something else that might be inappropriate for your event.
2. Make sure you understand how hashtags work on each social network.
3. Clarify your niche and tailor your event tag to your niche.
4. Keep it simple--numbers are fine, but don't complicate it too much.
5. If using multiple hashtags on social posts, use your branded tag first and then be sure you're leveraging trending hashtags to increase traffic.
CARRY SOCIAL OVER TO YOUR PAPER GOODS
This one is kind of self-explanatory, but basically, make sure that any printed or paper goods also include your QR code and /or hashtag. That includes programs, tickets, table toppers--anything you might be sending, handing out, or displaying to your guests. Anything that brings people as much into the loop as possible and capitalizes on their use of their own social media accounts in conjunction with yours will continue to increase your traffic and creates greater immersion for your attendees. You can find some other inventive ways to pass the hashtag around, also. We've seen rubber bracelets, umbrellas, drink stirrers, matchboxes, napkins--you name it. Have fun finding some unique ways to spread your hashtag around to make your event #amazing.
MAKE SURE YOU ENGAGE SOCIAL MEDIA DURING EVENTS
Sure, it's important to set yourself up for success with lots of good promo work before your event starts, but don't neglect the event itself as part of your overall strategy. We recommend this little cheater strategy for engagement during your event:
- For lots of content, both written and photos--use Facebook.
- For maximizing your hashtags--use Twitter.
- For photos and photo hashtags--use Instagram.
- For goofing off, have a bunch of fun filters loaded up on Snapchat or get everyone lip synching on Dubsmash.
Make sure people are part of the story you're creating--that's the critical element for social engagement. People share most often when they feel something deeply, even if that is just good old fashioned fun.
DON'T FORGET THE POST-GAME ANALYSIS
So that you can continue to improve your social media strategy over time, make sure that you investigate your engagement levels after the fact. Follow up with any influencers or other notable people (who all have their own large social followings) who might have attended your event. Share, repost, or re-tweet anything they may have posted that didn't end up on your own feed or contain your hashtag. Also, check the data for your accounts to examine if your strategies worked the way you hoped they would. Did you get a ton of engagement on Instagram but hardly any on Facebook? Or did your Twitter feed go wild, while your Instagram went dark? Perhaps you got a few hundred new LinkedIn contact requests. Check your follows, and be sure to follow back any other related accounts or new contacts you made to be sure connections stay intact. Every move you make now builds your foundation for the future. A few other ideas: follow up on any event comments, collect your best content to use again, and gather some key lessons and successes for your blog.