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.
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.