7 Steps to Nail Social Media Marketing At Your Next Event

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX (Unsplash)

Hosting a big event or conference is no easy task. There are so many little details that take place behind the scenes for the event to run smoothly. Once the event takes place though, it’s almost as if all those sleepless nights and takeout dinners were actually worth it. The power that events and conferences have is that they create an emotive experience for those attending. This experience in most cases leads to this infectious, professional momentum that propels people forward. As the business owner of the event, it’s important that you find ways to capitalize on the buzz, attention, and exposure that comes with the full live experience.

There are a couple different ways to capitalize on the attention at an event, but none are as effective as a robust social media strategy. In an effort to keep things simple, I’ve outlined 7 simple steps for you and your team to nail the social media marketing at your next event:

1). Pick a hashtag and stick with it — The hashtag is the linchpin to the entire digital footprint of your event or conference. Having a single memorable hashtag allows you to funnel the entire social media conversation into a stream that can be used build momentum on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s important that the hashtag be simple enough that people can spell it correctly, yet memorable in that it has top-mind awareness for all the conference attendees. This associated hashtag should be pulled through not only the digital content being published, but also any print material or signage at the event site.

2). Implement a tailored social media blitz — Leading up to the first day of a conference, you should be leveraging your marketing channels with the conference hashtag encouraging attendees to participate in the social media conversation. This pre-event social media push also gives attendees the opportunity to network and meet people before they even travel to the event.

3). Post content that can be reshared — There two ways to pull this off. First, the conference marketing team should develop effective content ahead of time with the knowledge that certain types of content perform best on specific sites. For instance, Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets. When you have sharable content paired with a conference hashtag, you’ve essentially placed your brand in an optimal position to gain the most amount of exposure or even go viral. Second, it is also important to publish content that is specific to the event itself using the conference hashtag. This is where a really talented photographer can be of great value.

4). Get keynotes to interact with your digital audience — It’s hard to underestimate the perceived value that a quality keynote speaker can bring to an event. This is why it’s so important that this value be showcased not only on stage, but also on your social media accounts. It’s becoming more and more common for speakers, celebrities, athletes, etc. to take over a brand’s social media account or do a live segment. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter actually incentivize users to utilize this “live” feature by organically pushing that content further than they would for normal published content. Consider having your keynote presenter or entertainment interactive with your social media following in a live manner.

5). Be responsive throughout the event — The easiest way to accomplish this is to assign a social media manager(s) for the event. The nice part about having a dedicated social media manager throughout the entire duration of a conference is that it allows your brand to appear nimble and responsive. With so much detail and information being shared at every keynote and breakout session, the people in the audience are bound to have questions. Answer these questions in a swift and concise way so that others who follow you can benefit from the answers. Make sure that all dialogue that takes place on social media features the conference hashtag. Using the hashtag consistently, gives the conference an opportunity to start “trending” and thus bring a massive amount of exposure for your brand or initiative.

6). Follow up afterwards — I know there’s a tendency to give into the “conference hangover” but you need to push through the haze and get this last step implemented. It’s critical that you capture the momentum from the event and engage with those people who have attended. It’s more than likely that you’ve sent the audience home with a number of tasks or action items. Following up with them 24–48hrs after the event gives you to reinforce the messaging that you’ve worked so hard to drive home in the first place.

7). Create a summary of your event’s social media exposure — One of the key differences between an amateur and a pro when it comes to social media is that pros are data driven and measure the effectiveness of their efforts. At the conclusion of your event, it’s important that you do a post mortem on the event and develop a basic summary of the results. Use this summary to compare results for all future events so you implement an environment of continuous improvement for all your digital marketing efforts.

Big events or conferences are a great way to energize your team and jumpstart your business. Sometimes the change of pace or scenery is just what the doctor ordered for your organization to get through a rough patch. The awareness alone from a big conference is something that can be leveraged for future marketing campaigns. An easy way to leverage that awareness is to use an integrated social media plan. Be sure to record the important social media data points for reporting purposes so you can measure the growth of your social media footprint. Then, once the event has finished and all the marketing pieces have wrapped up, the best thing you can do for yourself is probably take a nap and eat a salad.