Harnessing the power of social media for events is not as simple as dashing down some copy, slapping on a couple of hashtags and sending your post out into the world. It’s also not something that you should neglect. Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful marketing mediums out there – and social media is your audience’s preferred means of sharing their thoughts and opinions.
Regardless of whether you’re running a large-scale event that’s open to the public, or a private corporate event for a choice three hundred attendees, a social media presence is crucial.

Here’s how to use social media as a potent tool to amplify your event’s success.

Choose the right social media platforms

It’s safe to say that if your corporate event guest list consists of leading professors in renewable energy, they’re (probably) not going to use Snapchat. In the case of social media for events, the channels you use are just as important as the content you’re posting. The majority of corporate events will have guests who use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. There are always exceptions to the rule – so do some research based on your ideal attendee profiles to determine which channels they make use of.

Get strategic about hashtags

#Lessismore when it comes to the hashtags you use in your event’s social media campaign. Any post that consists of 90% hashtags and 10% original content is instantly recognised as spam, and a blatant attempt to gain exposure. It’s a great idea to create your own unique event hashtag. This encourages attendees to share posts about the event and is an easy way to track how many people are ‘talking’ about your event. Choose all other hashtags with care – free tools like hashtagify.me will give you a good idea of which tags are trending.

Plan ahead

As with all other areas of event management, planning is everything. Compile a social media content calendar with scheduled posts so that you’re aware of what’s going to be posted, the channels it’ll be posted on, and the time it’ll be published. Feel free to add in timely posts that are of interest to your guests, but don’t deviate too much. Even if you’re planning to live tweet an event (and I’ll get to that in detail a little later on in this blog), you cannot go in blind. Regular posting is key, which is why pre-planning your posts ahead of time can save you from ‘panic-posting’ when you realise it’s been two weeks since your social media accounts were last updated.

Use different content for different channels

Each platform has differing content requirements. Twitter was built as a platform for 140 character updates, lending itself to short, punchy one-liners. Lengthier, more in-depth posts are better suited to Facebook and LinkedIn, but keep these to a minimum of a paragraph and make sure that copy is compelling and ‘skimmable’. It’s advisable to use images for all social media platforms: in the age of information overload, a (relevant) picture makes your post stand out from reams of text. Never post the same thing on all of your accounts. This practice comes off as lazy at best, and as spam at worst.

Use a dedicated social media team

Even if that team exists of one person only – make sure that your social media efforts don’t fall by the wayside during the chaos of the countdown to the event. Having an assigned social media manager is crucial for responding timeously to your audience. A key function of successfully using social media at events is to engage with your audience, so make sure you’re replying and acknowledging all feedback, be it positive or negative. If you’re planning on displaying a live social media feed during your event, it’s worth your while to monitor all mentions. This will ensure that you’re able to delete any crass or belligerent posts before they’re broadcast to the entire event.

Learn more about mastering all aspects of corporate events by downloading our (free) eBook, A Practical Guide to Professional RSVP.


social-media-for-events-hands-up.jpgThere’s nothing more damaging than negative publicity and chatter around a branded event. Unfortunately, when it comes to broadcasting thoughts and opinions online, appropriate ‘eventiquette’ seems to have gone out the window: it doesn’t take much for third parties to get the wrong end of the stick when overhearing something and then loudly adding their own two cents to the conversation.  Uninformed opinions – developed from hastily-read subject lines and other people’s negative comments, often taken completely out of context – regrettably spread like wildfire on social media channels.

This is why some event marketing managers completely shy away from using social media marketing for events. This is especially true if they lack confidence in their ability to track and ‘manage’ their followers’ engagements across multiple social media platforms. But brands cannot ignore their online fans and followers.  Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and a ‘head in the sand approach’ to social media marketing is not going to be sustainable for any company in the long run.

So, how then do you nip negative impressions of your event and brand in the bud before they have a chance to spread and influence public opinion?

1.) Form a skilled social media curation team

For one, you can allocate a social media curation role to some of your event planning team members. These individuals would need to be familiar with social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat. Their task would be to keep an eye on the buzz around your event, both to troubleshoot complaints and deflect negative chatter, and direct online engagement in a positive direction.

2.) Work on your response and approach

There are a few approaches that your curation team can take when responding to damaging comments or complaints posted on social media. You can choose to ignore them, delete them and pretend they never existed, respond in kind, or placate your critics with a less than sincere apology.  Or you can apologise on the brand’s behalf and offer a solution. An apology cools down heated emotions and being upfront about what your company or events management team are going to do to rectify the situation helps guests and clients feel valued and heard. This is essential for building strong brand loyalty.

3.) Harness negative feedback to your advantage

Another approach would be to encourage your event guests and brand ambassadors to vent and complain as often as they like. The advice here is to have a dedicated complaints platform for your event guests to use to appropriately channel their grumbling. This will help keep negative chatter off other social media platforms. Remember, any complaints received – and the solutions you develop to resolve them – can be used to improve your future corporate event experiences.

4.) Cross your t’s and dot your i’s and make sure that nothing bad happens

Ideally, you want to run an event where nothing bad happens. The food needs to be exquisite, the registration process needs to run effortlessly, the entertainment needs to arrive on time, and the sun needs to shine.

If you choose to use social media marketing for events, one way that you can prevent these powerful marketing and engagement tools from backfiring on you is to use the appropriate technology to streamline processes. Your corporate event guests will have numerous opportunities to engage with your brand across multiple touch points. This process kicks in the minute they receive their online corporate event invitations, right through to the on-the-day registration process and the post-event communication that they receive.

Ensure that all your events are positive experiences by using appropriate RSVP software for events.  For more information on how event management software can help you with event marketing that doesn’t fall flat or backfire, download our Event Marketing Guide.

 


Social media has changed the eventing landscape, in a big way. Events are now in the public eye – whether you’d like yours to be or not. Without some guidelines or a social media policy in place, you run the risk of undoing all of your hard work. Using social media for events is essentially like a marketing campaign: your event is the product or brand, and your goal is to increase brand awareness via carefully orchestrated posts. There are two aspects of social media for events: your pre-event awareness campaign, and your social media management during and post-event.

You social media campaign prior to an event will be dictated by the type of event you’re planning.

Just like any other social media marketing strategy, which is tailored around the brand in question, your use of social media for an event is entirely dependent on the type of event you’re planning.

If you’re organising an internal event, social media wouldn’t be a consideration. Any external event, however, can benefit greatly from a smart, timeous and cleverly executed social media campaign. If you’re launching a product, one of your primary marketing goals would be to get the maximum amount of exposure for the product and brand in question. So too, if you’re orchestrating a conference or symposium.

Your guest list demographics will indicate which social media channels to use.

If your event is in the B2B (business to business) sphere, LinkedIn, and to a lesser extent, Twitter, are bound to garner the best response. If you’re organising an event for a brand that’s falls under the B2C (business to consumer) sector, most social media platforms will are suitable.

Once you’ve tailored your social media campaign to the specifics of an event, make sure your content is relevant too.

It’s pointless running a campaign if you’re (figuratively) speaking a different language to that of your audience. Remember that social media presents users with a seemingly endless stream of content; if yours doesn’t stand out, it’ll be ignored. Your copy needs to be engaging – after all, a tweet or post will be a guest’s very first interaction with your event.

Make sure you’re using a professional copywriter or social media manager, to avoid making any social media faux pas that could end up doing damage to your brand.

If you don’t have a budget for a social media manager, plan a social media marketing campaign that’s easy to implement.

While the use of a social media manager is optimal, your budget may not stretch that far. If you’re planning to run a social campaign in-house, make sure your social media strategy is simple to run. If you need to grow awareness of the event, for example, reward re-tweeters and sharers with a prize, or run a user-generated competition.

Many successful digital campaigns have resulted in brand awareness and advocacy, due to the fact that their content was shared via the public. If you can get your market to share your social media content, you’re halfway there; consumers are far more trusting of content that’s been shared by peers, instead of being spammed by a brand that inundates followers with irrelevant, ‘salesy’ content.

Monitor your social media feeds 24/7 (or as close to this as possible).

If you’re not outsourcing your social media management, dedicate a team to this task. Make sure that these staff members know the brand inside and out. There’s nothing worse than having one person reply to a tweet, only to have someone else reply to it again the next day. Even direr, is to have someone ask a question that goes unanswered.

Make the process as streamlined as possible by using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. You’ll be able to schedule posts ahead of time, which means that when you’re attending to the myriad of other event-related tasks, you’ll know that your social media presence isn’t being neglected.

Never open up a post-event debate on social media.

This is one rule that should never be broken. No matter how successful your event was, there will always be naysayers. Avoid any negative and potentially damaging feedback being aired in public by running a post-event survey immediately after, or just as the event finishes, via an SMS campaign.

Our RSVP event management software enables you to do just this. This way, feedback will remain out of the public eye, and even better, is stored for future use along with your guest list information.

Just like an event that’s orchestrated by professionals – when done correctly and by the right people, social media for events can turn into fully-fledged marketing campaigns, resulting in ROI and increased brand advocacy.

Image Credit: Forbes


A study conducted during the recent Sochi Winter Olympics by Vision Critical on behalf of Twitter, found that 54% of Twitter users planned on tweeting about the Games.

According to the survey, two thirds of those on Twitter were of the opinion that the social media platform made live sporting events more exciting. Even though the majority of people followed the games primarily on TV, the fact that they had the ability to engage with it on social media made it more appealing. Of those surveyed, 8 in 10 people read tweets while watching the event on TV.

What these findings demonstrate is that people enjoy sharing experiences – and social media channels like Twitter allow them to do just that.

In order to make your events as memorable as possible, when planning your event management strategy, find ways that will encourage guests to shares their experience while at your event.

No matter how big or small an event is, there will always be a finite amount of guests. By incorporating the use of social media during your event, you’re able to reach a much wider audience – ultimately making a much bigger impact than if you hadn’t incorporated the use of social media into your event management approach.

The options are endless when it comes to including social media into your event management schedule.

You could use a dedicated hashtag for your event or have a photo booth at the venue and then get people to upload their photos to Instagram. Another way to encourage the active use of social media in order to give your brand as much exposure as possible, is by creating a dedicated event page on Facebook. You can then upload photos from the day, and get people to tag themselves and like your page after the event. Not only does this facilitate additional interaction with guests, it provides you with a chance to communicate further marketing messages to them after the event.

British snowboarder and bronze medallist, Jenny Jones, saw her Twitter followers jump from 7000 to 64 000 in the week the Games began.

This perfectly demonstrates how incorporating social media in event management strategies is a powerful tool for building client engagement.

It’s vital that you make your invitations as “shareable” as possible.

If you’re hosting an event where you want to engage as many people as possible, (for example, an open event not limited to a specified guest list) like a conference, exhibition or product launch – it’s important that you include ways that encourage the sharing of your invitation and registration page via social media.

You can do this by inviting a set of initial guests, who’ve been chosen strategically due to their influence. These people are bound to know other like-minded people, and by sharing your invitation on social media, your event will grow exponentially.

You’ll need to ensure that your event registration pages and invitation contain all the necessary information – if they’re going to be shared on social media which has a limit on the characters you can use – important information about your event can get lost in translation.

Ensure your event management plans cater for an influx in registrations via social media.

If your social media invitation goes viral and you get a huge amount of people trying to register, you need to ensure that the online event registration tool that you’re using can handle the huge amount of people trying to register without crashing under the pressure. In addition, if you have limited spaces available, your event management software should prevent people from registering once the event is at capacity by displaying a friendly message informing guests that unfortunately, there is no more space available.  

Image Credit: flickr