Should you introduce social media into your event management plan?

16 November 2014

4 tried and tested ways to use social media to promote your event.

Are you looking at introducing a social media strategy into your event management, but not sure if it’s a worthwhile investment? Maybe you’re new to social media, looked at your Facebook timeline and thought: “How does this relate to business?”, or perhaps you’re already a dab hand with social media and are just looking to expand your activities into the events that you run. Whatever your level of experience, this article will provide you with some ideas on how you can harness the power of social media to enhance your events. 

Social Media

Why use social media?

Firstly, for those of you who aren’t sure whether to use social media at all, let’s look at some statistics about current social media use:

  • Facebook’s monthly active users now total nearly 850 million
  • There are over 465 million twitter accounts
  • 175 million tweets are posted a day
  • YouTube is the 3rd most visited website
  • Google+ is gaining 625,000 users per day
  • The average LinkedIn user is on the site for 7.3 minutes per day.

With figures like that, it’s hard to ignore the potential for reaching prospective delegates.  But if you’re still not convinced, why not carry out a trial, use it for your next event and then decide whether or not it’s for you.

It’s also worth highlighting that social media marketing is very low cost – the only costs involved are your time, the device you use to post from (which you’ll most definitely have anyway) and, potentially, any costs involved with your internet connection.  So there’s no financial reasons not to give it a whirl.

4 ideas for you to try at your event

So, how and when can you use social media for your events? Here’s some ideas that I’ve put together, taken from our own experience managing training, seminars, corporate events and awards ceremonies.

  • Create a buzz.  You can use social media to publicise your event and create a bit of a buzz about it before bookings or registrations have even started.  Start talking about the event well in advance, updating people on new developments like the selected venue, speaker bookings, topics that will be covered or award categories and sponsorship packages.  Unlike advertisements and press articles, social media provides your audience with short, sharp bursts of information, meaning there’s less chance of information overload and more opportunities for promotion.

Social -media -buzz

  • Social advertising. You can also supplement your posts with paid advertising on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.  Unlike traditional advertising, you can tailor your adverts so that they’re only shown to people fitting certain demographic criteria, or who are introduced in certain topics.  Plus, you only pay when someone clicks on your advert.
  • Virtual networking.  If you’re holding an event where delegates don’t know each other, then social media is a great platform to introduce people to each other before the event. Decide on a hashtag (e.g. #retailawards or #RA2014) for your event and then use it every time you post about it.  People will adopt the hashtag and use it in their posts, which will allow delegates to identify each other and connect.  This is particularly useful for events that have networking potential as it means that delegates aren’t starting from scratch and are able to target the people they’d like to speak to most.Tip - did you know that hashtags aren’t just for Twitter?  Many social media sites use them to highlight popular topics – more here.

Hashtag

  • Real-time promotion. Social media allows you to supply information about what’s going on at the event, as it happens.  Things you can do include:
    • Take photographs of the event and the attendees on your smartphone and post them immediately.
    • Announce award winners at the same time they’re announced on stage. There’s always people that can’t attend the event but want to know the winners – by providing this information, you’ll be attracting new followers/connections and potential attendees for your next event.
    • Summarise key points from speakers, highlighting the topics that are being covered and tantalising your connections with what they’re missing out on by not being there!

So you’ve hopefully picked up some ideas about using social media for event management.  For us, it’s become one of our most successful marketing tools for a wide variety of corporate and community events. So get tweeting, connecting and sharing and find out if it could be for you too!

We’d love to hear any other ideas and tips you have about using social media for events, so please leave them in the comment box below.

 



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