Social-media-at-events-1 More and more, corporates are recognising the need to engage in online conversations around their brands. This is why using social media at events, to involve guests before, during and after your function, is a definite ‘must’. Unfortunately, as with most positives, there is always a chance for something to go awry, which is why we have put together a list of things to avoid when using social media at your events to prevent the whole thing from backfiring on you.

Here are our top six ‘fails’ to avoid when using social media at events 

1. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

A definite ‘fail’ for your social media marketing strategy would be not to plan for it. Most events come with an itinerary, and a core focus or theme, around which you can plan the basics of your social media output. Pre-planning tweets and posts for the event will free you up to respond as spontaneous conversations happen online. You want to be sure to be leading or steering a fair amount of the conversation, though, instead of merely being r reactionary to guests’ tweets and posts. 

2. Don’t forget to develop a social media policy for your event and corporate brand

Everyone on your marketing team needs to know the corporate brand values that you want to be communicate via your event’s social media channels. It’s advisable that you develop a clear social media policy to guide the style and content of the social copy that your team is allowed to post on the company’s behalf. Importantly, policy and protocol for dealing with any negative conversation or feedback around your event need to also be in place. 

3. A live feed without the necessary content curation could potentially be a huge fail

Social media at events can sometimes be live-streamed to encourage attendees to take part in the online conversation. If you do this, be sure to allocate the role of content curator to one or more individuals on your marketing team, who can then keep an eye on the content being streamed to delete potentially inappropriate or damaging posts. They can also proof the rest of the social media managers’ social copy to keep an eye out for potentially embarrassing typos.

4. A big fail would be to use the inappropriate event hashtag

You can be sure that most hashtag combinations have been used before. Be careful to avoid developing and advertising a catchy hashtag for your event that is already associated with another event. You don’t necessarily want to add to the online conversation around a popular soccer event, for example, when your event is promoting optimal healthcare. The best way to find out if a hashtag has been used before is to do a search for it on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

5. Don’t be lazy – get your names straight  

Have you ever been to an event where someone mispronounces an important guest’s name, despite this person’s name having been mentioned quite a few times already? The same can happen with social media at events – misspelt surnames or names can crop up in social posts, which will just make you look bad. If you are in charge of a team of social media managers, be sure that they have a copy of the event’s itinerary, as well as any associated marketing material containing important names, dates and times for your events, so that they have less chance of getting this wrong.  

Download our Guide to Turning your Events into Marketing Gold to find out what to avoid when marketing your event, how to use your event as a marketing touch point, and how our RSVP software for events can help you to do this.

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the-ten-commandments-social-media-events Whether you love or loathe it, using social media at events is a crucial aspect of your event marketing strategy. The bottom line is that just about everyone is ‘on’ some form of social media these days – your guests included – which means that they expect your event and your brand to be there too. Have a look at the ten commandments below to ensure that you have your social media marketing bases covered for your next event. 

The first commandment: Thou shalt choose the best social media channels

According to the eBizMBA Guide, the most popular social networking channels for creating a buzz around your events in 2016 are (ranked in order of popularity) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus+, Tumblr and Instagram. That said, the channels you use will depend on your guests’ demographics – there’s no use posting on Tumblr if the majority of your guests are only on LinkedIn. You could link blogs from Tumblr onto your event’s LinkedIn page, however.

The second commandment: Thou shalt get to know thy social media apps

Do your homework and familiarise yourself with each app’s functionality and how each can be best integrated into your event marketing strategy. Read up about each specific app, download and install the ones that appeal to you and are relevant to your guests. Get used to using them yourself. Follow other event professionals and observe how they use social media at events to their advantage. 

Commandment #3: Thou shalt use social media before, at and after your event

Your event’s marketing strategy should integrate social media channels from the get-go. You need to carefully plot and plan how you will use social media to create a buzz around your event both pre-, during and post event. For maximum impact, there needs to be activity at each of these points.

Commandment #4: Thou shalt align your event marketing strategy to your broader strategy

It’s a no-brainer that your event’s marketing strategy should be closely linked to your brand marketing strategy. Events grow brand recognition. You will still want to be able to generate post-event conversations and interactions around your brand or product once your event is over, so make sure that the buzz you create through social media at events remains relevant to your bigger, brand marketing picture.

Commandment #5: Thou shalt create, use and market a unified, event-specific hashtag

Create one event hashtag, well in advance of your event, that you can then leverage across social media channels. Include this hashtag in email signatures, advertising, invitations sent via your event management online software, and in event bios. Encourage your event speakers to use this hashtag across their own social media channels when putting word out about their involvement.

Commandment #6: Thou shalt mix it up and use visuals and video in your social media strategy 

Interactive audio-visuals are a ‘must’ in your social media at events. Channels for audio-visual communication include YouTube (for livestreaming event activities, or for pre-event advertising purposes across a number of social media channels), Flickr (to build a photo record of the event for future event advertising) and Slideshare (to publish presentations for easy access). Well-designed and branded graphics that are unique to your event should be used across all social media platforms to help create your event’s distinctive brand identity.

Commandment #7: Thou shalt ensure social media accessibility at your event

On the day of your event, remind your guests which social media channels to follow and which hashtags to use. You can use live-streaming and daily summaries to encourage ongoing engagement in event-related conversation. Charging stations for devices are also a must at your event.   

Commandment #8: Thou shalt have a response team for social media engagement

BizBash recommends that you develop an event response team to track social media interactions around your brand and event in real-time. How will the team respond to comments on social media? Who will trouble-shoot negative feedback in real-time? Who will be responsible for keeping their finger on the pulse of the popular buzz around your event? Be sure to assign someone to the task of collating all of this information to improve on future event experiences.

Commandment #9: Thou shalt encourage event guests to participate in social media channels attached to your event.

Facebook is the most popular social media channel at present. But not all of your guests will be on Facebook. This is why utilising and blending a number of social media channels into your event marketing strategy is key to reaching all event guests to encourage them to engage in online dialogue around your event. All social media at events needs to be curated by a social media response team, so just remember that the more channels you add, the tighter your social media response strategy will need to be.

Commandment #10: Thou shalt know how to measure the success of your social media strategy

How will you know if your event’s social media strategy has been successful? By setting clear metrics to gauge your success. Develop a one sentence strategy for each activity to summarise what you want to achieve with your social media strategy.

Did you enjoy the above 10 commandments for using social media at events? You may also appreciate our guide to Turning Events into Marketing Gold. Click below to download the guide:

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Social media has infiltrated nearly every facet of our lives – and events are no exception. We’ve written about how smart corporate event planners are going digital here, and as events become increasingly reliant on technology, social media at events is becoming a prominent feature too. It’s an efficient and timely way to increase awareness prior to an event and facilitate brand recognition after the fact.

If you’re wondering how to start incorporating platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook into your events, we’ve compiled a guide outlining ways in which you can get the most out of social media at events.

Running a social media campaign prior to an event garners elevated awareness.

Innovative planners are taking to Twitter and Facebook to punt their functions in the days leading up to an event. In addition, sending your email invitations to the social media accounts of influential guests ups the chances of them sharing this information. The kind of event you’re holding will dictate whether or not this is suitable – open events like Expos are perfectly suited to social media platforms. Including the use of a dedicated hashtag is crucial here – this will enable guests to tag their posts or tweets. This provides you with valuable insight into attendance rates and levels of brand acknowledgement.

Using social media at events is pointless if your function isn’t something that guests want to talk about.

The very reason social media exists is to allow people to share their experiences. If an event doesn’t excite your guests, there’s little chance that they’ll talk about it – on social media or elsewhere. If you’re going to incorporate social media at your events, make sure that you’re blowing people away with an engaging, innovative, world-class event.

Make it easy for people to use social media at your events.

It’s all well and good creating an event that delights your guests, but if you aren’t encouraging them to share their experience on social media, the chances that they will are slim. If you are using a dedicated hashtag, make sure that your guests are aware of it. Include it on your save the dates, invitations and thank-you mails, and ensure that it’s prominently displayed at registration tables and other communal areas around your venue. Electronic photo booths that are uploaded onto your guests’ social media feeds are a great way to include social media at events too. Once your event has come to an end, encourage guests to upload pictures to their Instagram accounts using your event hashtag.

Ensure that you’re following the correct social media etiquette at your events.

Bear in mind that people share both their positive and negative experiences – which means that it’s more important than ever to make sure that every single element of your event leaves a favourable impression. Projected hashtag feeds can be a great way to facilitate social sharing, but must be approached with care. Don’t display feeds in real time – the risk of reposting an inappropriate or offensive tweet is too great. Instead, edit your social media feeds during breaks in the program and then project them. In the event that a disgruntled guest takes to social media after a function, ensure you that you have the resources to deal with this as soon as possible. If you don’t, the ramifications can be extremely damaging to both you and your client.

Image Credit: Social Media Examiner