Our recent post ‘Event Marketing: 5 Ways to Promote Your Next Event or Conference‘ received some great feedback. So this week, we delve deeper into what it is to market an event or conference, this time focusing on how to use social media in event marketing in 10 ways:
1) Make the Most of Your Hashtag
We talked about using Twitter to get bums on seats in our last post. So now you’re convinced of the value of event hashtags, you should be making the most of that hashtag by choosing the term you use wisely.
Let’s say your event is called the Leicester Business Event. So you come up with the hashtag #LBE13 because your event happens in 2013 and you don’t expect people to type #LeicesterBusinessEvent2013 every time they reference your conference!
You spend weeks, months even, promoting your hashtag and using it during your event, building up a strong following and spreading brand awareness. Fantastic! Now what happens next year when your event is, logically, #LBE14? By changing the hashtag associated with your event, you’ve lost all of that fantastic work you did the previous year to build up the conversations and share your great content.
Choosing an evergreen hashtag means selecting something which is not time specific and which people can use throughout the year and through multiple events.
If you’re working for a business which holds events but where that isn’t the sole purpose of the business, think about how your event hashtag can be used for different purposes too. For example, we recently spoke at a LATI event where the company name is LATI and the corresponding hashtag we used was #LATI. That same company uses the same hashtag throughout the year to share their updates and converse on matters relevant to them and their audience. This means they’re making the most of their hashtag because it’s picking up traction all year long.
2) Promote Your Event Hashtag
There’s no value in a hashtag if no one uses it so spread the word! Promote your hashtag on your event website, on your marketing materials, in your videos, in your press releases, across your social media don’t be afraid to share your hashtag everywhere. This will help it to gain traction amongst delegates, speakers, prospects and more.
Have you considered the people who perhaps can’t attend your event but will still be interested? For example, the World Travel Market is a huge event aimed at providing valuable information for the travel and tourism industry. Thousands of people will attend, but there will likely be thousands more who can’t perhaps location stops them, perhaps they haven’t got the budget, or perhaps their business isn’t actually ‘travel’ related but they feel there are lessons that could be learned from the travel industry that would help them.
For these people, you can still share the hashtag and let them know you will be posting useful advice and updates throughout the day using that hashtag.
3) Ask People to Use Your Event Hashtag
This is particularly important during the event itself. If you have people speaking at your event, make sure they share the hashtag in their presentations and in their own marketing of the event. Get them to mention it at the beginning and end of their presentation you could even have them ask everyone in the room to tweet that they’re at your event, too.
Make sure your on-site marketing shows the hashtag too. In posters, on TV screens, in your announcements, in exhibitor packs display it everywhere so people know that is the hashtag they can use and that they can use it to get involved in conversations relevant to the event.
4) Make Your Content Widely Relevant
I mentioned the people who perhaps can’t attend your event earlier in this post. Just because people can’t physically be at your event, doesn’t mean you can’t reach them with your fantastic content. Social media is a fantastic platform to do this.
You should be talking about your event across your social media on Google Plus, on Facebook, via Twitter, through LinkedIn, in your blog In all of this, remember the people who might not be at your event or for whom the event is not specifically targeted, but who could learn from it. For example:
“At this event, we’ll be discussing this if you can’t come, here’s a brief synopsis video and we’ll be sharing tips on the day.”
You’ll create a lot of great content over the course of your event, from videos to blog posts to tweets and more, so make the most of it by using it and making it widely relevant, beyond the event. Post-event marketing can be just as valuable, if not more so, than the event itself (as I’ll mention further on in this post).
5) Manage Your Event Marketing On The Day
On-the-day marketing is a key part of event marketing and using social media for this is so valuable because the potential reach is so wide. It’s a good idea to assign a specific person to managing your event’s social media on the day.
Here’s a few things that person can do on the day:
- Take photos of delegates and of speakers and share them through Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram.
- Share quotes from speakers and testimonials from delegates through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn.
- Post blogs about the day as it’s happening who’s in attendance, a talk that’s just been delivered, a case study from a delegate speaking about what they’ve learned from the day so far.
- Share real time updates using your Twitter hashtag.
- Create videos of the event and share them on YouTube or your own website.
This person will be really busy but it’s worth it their work will be so important to your event’s online success so make sure the person you select is well equipped to handle the job.
6) Consider Live Streaming
Why not film your event and live stream to a wider audience? You’ve paid for the venue, you’ve worked hard to gather high quality speakers, your marketing has attracted a good number of delegates so making your event even more widely available seems like a no brainer!
Set up cameras in your auditorium/speaker areas and film the presentations as they happen, streaming it live through your website or even using Google Plus Hangouts. You could even have a dedicated person who walks around with a camera and microphone and speaks to delegates and speakers, sharing those videos as soon as they’re filmed.
These videos will make great evergreen content after the event too
Another live streaming method is to have a Tweet Wall at your event an area that displays live tweets using your hashtag. This is a great way to show attendees what’s happening and allow exhibitors and delegates alike to get involved in the conversation.
You might even choose to replicate this on your website so people can follow it remotely or better still, show your tweet wall in one of your live streaming camera shots!
7) Make Sure There’s Internet Access
Seems simple, but your digital marketing on the day of the event will hinge on the availability of internet access. We recently attended an event that didn’t have this and the organisers missed out because it meant we were less able to tweets and share content from the event on the day.
It’s not just about you being able to share your own content either. Those people attending your event will be keen to share their own content too so make sure the internet is available for them to use easily. If you need to password protect your network, make sure the network name and password is provided to every single person who comes to the event consider printing it for them on a small piece of paper and making the details easily available once inside the event too.
8) Provide a Place to Take Photos
Think ‘celebrity awards shows’. Photos of celebs against a branded backdrop are pretty common place, and there’s no reason you can’t emulate the same for your event. Consider creating a branded area for people to take photos; creating good lighting and plenty of space, with lots of branding on the wall. You can take photos of people as part of your marketing, and encourage others to take photos of themselves too.
You’ll find businesses will be keen to take photos of themselves at the event and this will be the ideal place to do that. You can bet that approximately 100% of those photos taken will be shared on social media, so making sure the photos bear your brand is a great brand awareness strategy.
9) Make a time lapse video
To give people a sense of the event size and who attended, consider creating a time lapse video of the event.
Walk around with a small camera like a Go Pro or get hold of a more professional level camera for optimal results. Walk slowly around the stalls, poke your camera into presentations, encourage people to acknowledge the camera as you walk past. This is a simple way to create a cool video that lets people get the feel of your event something which can help them decide whether they will attend/exhibit next time.
Make other videos too. I’ve already mentioned live streaming presentations, but you can also ask your delegates/speakers to provide interviews talking about how great your event is. TIP let them mention their own brand in the video and they’ll see this as a brand awareness exercise for their own business too, and will be more likely to do it.
10) Keep It Up
Keep on marketing afterwards, share the amazing content you’ve created. Having a solid post-event strategy is so important in ensuring you make the most of your event and that you promote your business and event well for the next time around.
Make sure you post a blog about the event, summarising the day. Hint mention your speakers and how great they were they’ll be likely to share your blog post with their own networks if you do. You should also encourage exhibitors and speakers to do the same as part of their post-event marketing strategy.
Ensure those people you’ve met and spoken to receive a ‘follow’ from you on social media, be it Twitter or otherwise, and that you keep in touch with them. We like to personally contact those people who attend our events to thank them and to provide them something of value either letting them know about more events they might be interested in or, like us, sharing a useful infographic or post-event ‘gift’.
Author: Laura Hampton