Bad Press: Handling Social Media Marketing for Events

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.