In the last decade, social media has become perhaps the single most powerful marketing tool at our collective disposal. It is a gift and, oh, how we squander it. Its power to convey an idea quickly and creatively is an incredible thing, especially when it comes to organizing events. If you’ve ever been on the planning end of anything, you know… it gets crazy. And If you’re anything like me, you immediately take to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the word out. But just how useful are these platforms and are you getting the most out of them? The next time you’re thinking about hosting an event, consider the following:
Registration. Whether you are expecting 10 people or 10,000, creating a place online for your event to live keeps people connected and excited about the big day. Get on Facebook and send out those invites. Sign up with Eventbrite and take advantage of their comprehensive analytics. Sites like Paperless Post give hosts the power to send out personal invites and as many updates as needed. For larger events, you may want to give Bizzabo a try. Keeping guests engaged makes them more likely to show up and more excited about the event.
Branding. What separates your conference or festival from the next? How do people connect mentally and emotionally with the marketing? How will they share their enthusiasm for your cause with the online community? In addition to all of the traditional methods of branding an event (theme, colors, dress, etc.), you’ve got to unleash the potential for people to talk about it, especially everyone who didn’t show up. It may seem obvious, but the almighty hashtag still reigns supreme. I know, I know, it seems like #everyoneisoverusinghashtags and it gets super annoying. Still, knowing how and when to use this essential tool can make all the difference. For starters, find a word or slogan that is not only unique but says something about your event. At my wedding, my wife and decided to mash up our names and told all of our guests to tag us with #mathralia in all of their posts. Thanks to that, we now have hundreds of wonderful candid moments to look back on, whenever we like. But getting creative with the hashtag is only the first step. Devising a clever way to remind folks to use it will ensure that you and everyone else gets the full story before, during, and after the event. Just remember to keep it short, sweet and original, and watch your engagement soar through the roof.
For some quick inspiration, a quick search on Pinterest yields great results.
Photos via BizBash
Engagement. Once you’ve successfully started the conversation, you need to keep it going! Actively monitoring and engaging in the discussion up to and during an event ensures that enthusiasm and positivity never take a downward turn. Reward the most relevant, funny, or engaging posts with incentives and keep people focused on the best aspects of the day. A photo contest or a most clever tweet are fun ways to get the crowd interacting. Free tickets or a chance to meet the band will have people jumping to get involved. There are a number of ways to go about this, but the important thing to remember is that rewards should always be unique, exclusive, and engaging. If you’re planning an especially large event, consider hiring someone to monitor conversation and run interference online should anything unexpected happen. A little follow-up goes a long way to preventing a PR disaster.
Obviously, we’re just scratching the surface, but you get the idea. The most important goal: to connect with your attendees and leave them with nothing but fond memories of the event.
Are there any methods that have worked for you? We’d love to hear about your event! Leave us a comment or connect via Facebook or Twitter and tell us how social media saved your big day.