You’ve put the time in for planning your big event and you’ve used social media to generate buzz and interest. But how do you increase engagement on social media once you’ve got people in the door? There are lots of ways to engage with prospects through social media – and continue the conversation once your event has started.
Decide Which Social Media Venues You’ll Target During the Event
Do you want to focus on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat or others? According to Inbound Marketing Agents, 80% of social media users prefer connecting to companies on Facebook. Facebook can also be useful for sharing multiple photos from an event.
While Facebook is a popular platform, Twitter’s greatest strength is that it’s the most used social network across mobile devices, so it is an important platform to focus on at your event. Twitter is also a great venue to share quotes from presentations or to remind attendees of upcoming events in the schedule.
One of the best platforms to enable attendees to share event photos is Instagram. It lets guests take quick snapshots of their fellow attendees participating in various event activities, and can show behind-the-scenes action, like a keynote speaker preparing to go on stage.
Remember that different content should be used for each social media platform to keep things original and relevant.
Ensure Your Printed Event Materials Include the Links or QR Codes to Social Media
Having the links readily at hand on event programs and schedules makes it easy for your attendees to connect – and stay connected – after the fun is over.
Develop an Official Hashtag for the Event
Create a unique hashtag and display it on event signage and program materials. Hashtags should be short but clear, simple and easy to remember. For example, you might choose an abbreviation of your event name and the year. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs, an event that draws about 15,000 writers and instructors annually, will use #AWP17 for its 50th anniversary conference and book fair in Washington, D.C. It’s easy to remember but still encompasses the company.
Constant Contact reminds planners to search your suggested hashtag on Twitter to ensure it hasn’t been used recently (or refers to something else). The same hashtag can (and should) be used consistently across your various social media platforms. The hashtag will make it easier for both you and your prospects to keep track of the conversation. It also allows people who couldn’t attend to be a part of the fun remotely.
Designate Your Social Media Manager(s)
Make sure someone is readily available to respond to the social media conversation in real time, and decide beforehand how many people you need. Ask yourself questions like: How large is your event? How many things are going on? You might, for example, choose two people to monitor and engage with prospects on two different social media accounts. Or you might have your managers “cover” different aspects of your event across all platforms.
Try a Social Media Photo Booth to Encourage Photo Sharing
Your company can offer a branded backdrop carrying your logo and the event’s social media hashtag. Or use a digital version in which your guests take a photo in front of a green screen and can add their own backgrounds using a touch screen, as with TapSnap. People love to see and share photos of themselves and their colleagues, so it’s a great way to start the buzz.
Post Candid Photos Also
Taking snapshots during the event and tagging guests with their social media handles is a great way to share photos with them and reconnect after the event is over. Sensov suggests hiring a professional photographer to not only help encourage people to tag themselves on Facebook but also so you can have a stock of great photos that you can use to promote your next fun event. Inbound Marketing Agents suggests collecting Twitter handles during registration, which also allows you to identify who’s posting and commenting for easier follow-up.
Offer Incentives to Encourage Social Media Use
Our Social Times suggests offering prizes for strong engagement (such as popular tweets) or, if you have a large event, for checking in with Foursquare at various venue locations. You could offer items like water bottles or keychains for stopping and checking in at a photo booth or expo information area. You could offer t-shirts to guests who tweet and hashtag photos of themselves during the event. The more people engaged, the more prospects you have. And you can convert those prospects into leads using tools like Socedo, which can collect and sort information to help you personalize and target your follow-up emails.
Don’t Forget To Follow Up
Responding to tweets and retweets with a simple “thank you,” for starters, shows that you’re engaged – and socially engaged leads are more likely to turn into clients and customers. Sorting your leads into automated nurture streams with a tool like Socedo can segment your event attendees by interest, engagement, or job title, making it easier for you to check in with a personalized email after the event.
Now that your event guests have a taste of your brand, it will be easier to keep them – and the ones who wished they hadn’t missed the fun – engaged with your company.