What sets your trade show, product launch, or conference apart from all the others? If you said, “Not much,” chances are, you’re doing it wrong. Your attendees (and potential attendees) are on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest – why not shake things up a bit and launch a stellar campaign to promote your event using social media? Not sure where to start? We have you covered; this handy guide will help by introducing 5 brilliant ways to build attendee engagement before, during, and after your event.
Create a campaign calendar and develop your social media strategy
Planning a social media campaign for your event allows you to develop a framework for your strategy, create buzz, and plan milestone notices such as announcing your scheduled speakers. Leave some room for flexibility though so you can make announcements as they happen to keep your audience engaged and excited.
Tools: Use a service like HootSuite to schedule your social media posts across several platforms. They have a free version with some great features including scheduling your posts so that they go live at peak viewing times.
Pro Tip: Posts with photos get a lot more engagement than posts without photos. In fact, one small study showed that tweets with pictures were retweeted 150% more than tweets without.
Bonus: Include some pictures of people, specifically, smiling people. Take a lesson from American Airlines. Their Twitter feed features numerous pictures of happy people and smiling babies – plus their engagement rate is through the roof.
Create a branded event hashtag
A great event hashtag is memorable, simple, and buzzworthy, and a must for promoting your event using social media. If you don’t use the event name, use something easily connected to the event. Make sure it appears on all things connected to your event: printed material, communication, the event website, visual content, and promotional emails.
Tool: The Hashtagify tool manages your hashtags and analyzes their performance so you get the most out of them.
Pro Tip: Capitalize your hashtags so they’re easier to read and understand. Susan Boyle’s PR team learned this the hard way. Who can forget the hashtag heard round the world: #susanalbumparty. In case you can’t make it out, it should be #SusanAlbumParty. Yikes.
Bonus: Perfect length for a hashtag is 40 characters on Facebook – shorter for Twitter (about 5-9).
Start early and build anticipation right up to the event start
Start promoting your event on social media well before the event day. One site crunched some data and found that up to 42% of total event posts were made prior to the event!
Tool: See what’s trending on social media with SocialMention. Type in a word or phrase and see just how hot – or not – it is.
Pro Tip: Start early and keep the build-up going with teasers and hints that lead up to “the day”. Include contests and polls to help create excitement when announcing speakers or other aspects of your event.
Bonus: Take some notes from Taylor Swift’s playbook when she released her 1989 album. Social media gold.
You don’t have to put a ring on it, just get your followers and fans talking! Respond to comments on your social posts quickly. If you need a little social media engagement inspiration, take a stroll through Zappo’s Facebook page and see what brand/customer relationships are all about.
Tool: HubSpot’s social media tool has several features to help boost your engagement, including monitoring interactions with customers and prospects and even linking those interactions back to the appropriate contacts in your database.
Pro Tip: Don’t just answer the posts, comments, and tweets on your social media channels, have a conversation! This is why monitoring your social media is so important. Thank those who share your posts, maybe even offer an incentive like a discount. If someone mentions you or your event hashtag on their posts, share it and give them a shout out.
Bonus: If you’re fresh out of great ideas, check out these brands on Forbes’ list of social media greats. Wowsers.
Live tweet throughout the event
On the event day, have someone (or several someones) live tweeting, especially during the event. Encourage your attendees to do the same – using your branded hashtag of course. Quote speakers, share videos and photos, and answer attendee questions.
Tool: Use Facebook Live to give your followers behind the scenes glimpses of the event.
Pro Tip: Be prepared for anything. Remember when the power went out at the Super Bowl in 2013? Maybe not, but you probably remember how Oreo won the internet with their quick-thinking tweet.
Bonus: Have a few clever boilerplate tweets lined up, but be ready for anything!
When using a social media strategy to promote your corporate event, engagement and monitoring are key.
Snag your free copy of How to Monitor Social Media in 10 Minutes a Day and make your next product launch or trade show a huge success! We can help you get there — call us to find out more.