20 Ways to Amplify Engagement At Your Event
You probably have the basics of your event figured out, from the logistics to the type of content you want to offer. Especially if it’s an annual event, surely you’ve mastered this gig by now. But, that’s not what makes an event successful. Most attendees understand that logistical issues are bound to arise. Attendees also understand that the relevancy of the content offered at events is subjective. However, I can guarantee you that most attendees will remember how engaged they were at the event. It was either, the most amazing event they went to or a boring one. But, you can give attendees a positive impression if you use this guide to implement social media tactics into your event planning formula.
Get to know your audience.
Can you answer the following questions about your audience?
• How emotionally invested is your audience? • What’s in if for them? Why are people attending? • Are you providing a dynamic learning experience for people? • Would attendees want to tell a friend, or recommend the event?
It is important to know the audience demographics before you start implementing new ideas. You need to know who you are talking to, what they like, what they dislike, and the goals they want to achieve by attending the event. If you were attending this event, what would you expect to see?
Create some buzz. Here are 20 ways you can use social media to create some buzz: 1. Start by setting up a website or event page (Eventbrite or Facebook Events). Share a “reveal” image that reveals part of a screenshot image of the website when you’re ready to launch. Add social media share buttons to your website, if you have not already. 2. What’s your hashtag? Don’t have one? Start thinking. Before you go crazy, search platforms like Twitter to make sure no one else is using your hashtag. That would be a major disappointment! 3. Send out a “Save the Date” email and/or postcard. Provide details on your social media accounts with the hashtag. Yes, print is still alive. 4. Promote the event across your company’s social media platforms often. Also, try creating a targeted post, or investing in an ad. 5. Ask presenters to create a brief 2–3 minute promo video that you can post on Youtube. Share the Youtube links on the event website and/or on your company's social media platforms. Keep in mind, Facebook loves to host your videos. Hence, post the videos straight onto Facebook. 6. Send an email reminding attendees to connect with the company’s social media channels. The one account they are not connected to may happen to be the platform they use the most. 7. Find things attendees may want to do while they’re in town for the event. Share articles about restaurants, historic places to visit, and helpful tips. Be sure to use the hashtag for everything. The more you remember, the more attendees will too. 8. Tweet a shout-out to the presenters. Send an email asking them to tweet about the event. Be sure you’re all using that awesome hashtag. 9. Speaking of that hashtag…do not forget to track the conversation taking place. If you expect attendees to take time out of their schedules to engage with you, you must engage back. In case you haven't caught on, the hashtag is really important. 10. If this is a repeat event, do you have access to the post-event survey from the last time you hosted the event? Pull testimonials out of the survey and turn them into a graphic to post on social media. Canva is a great tool for developing quick graphics. Video testimonials are even better. Go buy a mono-pod and make sure you take some time to capture video testimonials for the next event. 11. Post periodic updates about registration numbers, especially when you’re close to selling out. 12. Don’t just write about a Keynote Speaker or some other major announcement. Turn it into a graphic! This post is guaranteed to increase engagement. 13. Every event has sponsors. Ask your sponsors to engage with you on social media. It’s great exposure for them as well. 14. Create a social media contest before the event. Ask your C-suite if you can give away a free event pass. That makes for an awesome prize! Make sure you promote the contest via email too. Example: Ask people to submit a 5-minute video on a specific topic. 15. If you can afford a social media wall for the event, get one! It is not necessary to use a projector so that it’s displayed on an actual wall. You can connect a laptop to a large-screen TV. Set up the TV for display in a common gathering area so that attendees are tempted stop and take notice. 16. Create an on-site social media contest. Develop 3–4 categories you think best fit your audience. This is why I asked you to contemplate about your audience's demographic makeup. Here is an example of a contest category I have used: Best Educational Quote From a Session. I usually print a 5 x 7 postcard with all the information I think attendees need to know, such as contest categories and the golden rule. The only rule is that posts must include the hashtag to qualify for a prize. Prizes can be gift cards that you think your audience would appreciate. 17. About 4 to 5 weeks before the event, release graphics announcing your sponsors. Sponsors love the shout-outs and most likely they will engage back. Attendees may also want to engage with sponsors that interest them. 18. Use social media tracking tools to determine who your influencers are. On #FF (Follow Friday), include them in the tweet. 19. Post photos of event prep! People love going behind the scenes. 20. Remind people to engage, tell them how, and always mention the hashtag. Include the hashtag and social media information inside program books, on promotional items, event signage, presenter PowerPoints, etc. Verbally remind attendees during sessions and main conference events.
Don't let the engagement stop at the event. Thank attendees, sponsors, presenters, and the organizers. Post recap photos of the event, as well as other content posted by attendees. Use the social media traffic that took place at the event to create a Storify article (see example). Most importantly, look into the social media analytics leading up to the event and document the data.
Make the Engagement Count. The social media world is ever-evolving with algorithms changing often. Maintaining steady engagement on your company's social media accounts year-round is important. Stay on top of the best practices for the social media platforms your company is using. It never hurts to try new ideas. You live and you learn, right? But, if the idea doesn’t feel right for your audience, odds are you are right. You know your audience. Use the knowledge you gain from implementing the ideas listed here to improve your overall social media strategy.
Have an event coming up? Want to discuss an idea listed above in more detail? Message me, and I'll be glad to share my thoughts.