Any good strategy begins with smart thinking. And a social media strategy is no exception. Though it may seem like a no-brainer to promote your meeting or event and keep the conversation going with social media, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it intentionally to get the most out of it. There’s a lot of noise on the internet, and to avoid becoming part of that noise, you’ll have to make sure both your message resonates and your methods help you reach your desired audience.
With the help of a Meetings and Conventions webinar, we’ve compiled a checklist of important action items to help you execute your social media strategy before, during, and after the event. You may use some and not others, but laying out your strategy and understanding your audience ahead of time will help you prioritize based on need and budget.
The amount of public attention you want to draw to your meeting or event varies greatly depending on many factors. A consumer-facing event, for example, will largely want to take advantage of social media marketing, while it’s an unnecessary tactic for meetings such as pharmaceutical advisory boards. For situations like this, a completely private, but equally engaging opportunity, would be to implement a mobile event app. Many have “social” streams that can only be seen by invited members.
Before getting started, you’ll want to gain insight into how your audience uses social media (what channels, how often, etc.) and fully wrap your head around the overall objective social media is helping you accomplish. Are you trying to generate demand? Are you trying to connect like-minded people to help foster conversation? You’ll have to craft different pieces of content as they relate to each goal.
Curious about what social media platforms are most popular at events? A survey by Successful Meetings found that:
- 87% said Facebook
- 76% said Twitter
- 53% said LinkedIn
- 41% said Instagram
- 33% said YouTube
- 15% said Snapchat
- 8% said Pinterest
Once you’ve got your strategy in place, you’re ready to dive into action. It’s likely your internal team can handle much of the social media work, but you’ll want to make sure you bring in experts to ensure quality in some places. The ($) sign represents suggestions that those elements typically cost money.
Before Your Event
- Designate tactical team members to monitor and engage with your social channels.
- Assign or hire a photographer. ($)
- Create a list of anticipated topics and questions that might come in through social channels.
- Customer Service
- Consider apps; including gamification and crowdsourcing. ($)
- Create a hashtag (make sure it’s original and see it through both digital and printed signage, pamphlets, materials, etc.) Try to use a hashtag that can be used year after year (don’t make it year-specific).
- Share the event hashtag and social media links with influencers and speakers.
- Make sure you create instructions on how to post and to use the hashtag.
- Create visually interesting content that people will want to share on social media and get people excited about the event.
- Add the hashtag to your videos before the event.
- Update your social media cover photo and profile picture to the event date, place, time, etc.
- Let social media followers know if it will be streaming live.
- Live broadcast some or all of your events.
- Your AV partner can create professional, high-quality videos and smartphones can be used for short videos. ($)
- Determine what you want the video to do to decide whether or not to use funds for professional video or not ($)
- If doing it yourself, you can storyboard in advance. Make sure you’re close enough and the video is not shaky.
- Create an event website with speaker info and link to it on social before/during/after the event. ($)
- Set up Google Analytics for your website well before the event so you can track any increase in web traffic after the event.
- Think about influencers in your niche community. Engage them by inviting them to the event and encourage them to tweet/post throughout.
- Link back to your event website or your information hub as often as possible.
- Use social media ads to promote your event (Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Post highlights from past events (videos, photos, other visuals).
- Design a geofilter on Snapchat. ($)
- Post behind the scenes preparations.
- Create individual images featuring each guest speaker.
- Offer a discount to early-bird registrants.
- Create a poll on Facebook to engage with followers.
- Share teaser slides from event presentations.
During Your Event
- Create a command center.
- Designate and empower social media monitors to respond in real-time.
- Prepare to answer questions or act on requests. Participants may try to contact the event organizer via social media (What time is the bus leaving?) so make sure the channels are monitored and moderated.
- Post online calls-to-action (take a photo with a new member, quote a speaker, meet a sponsor).
- Tag companies, repost/retweet tags.
- Project your social media feeds live on a screen at the event (many event apps have an option to do this too).
- Decide if you want your stream to be instantaneous or moderated. There are pros and cons to both. Your A/V team or tool provider can “blacklist” words so they automatically do not show.
- Create an online group for people to be able to share ideas and continue the conversation after the event is overusing Facebook, LinkedIn, or another forum.
- Interview attendees, customers, speakers, influencers for future blogs, and social content.
After Your Event
- Re-purpose content from the event to ensure it sticks with your audience and gives them a tool to share what they learned with others.
- Drive people back to your social channels to see event photos and videos.
- Send e-blast reminders to drive people to the website and/or social.
- Repost photos from the event and ask people to share theirs.
- Promote the survey link.
- Report on the value created, lessons learned, and next steps
- Web Traffic
- Link Clicks
- Followers or Fans
According to the destination management company (DMC) AlliedPRA, “on average, an attendee stays engaged in a meeting’s objective for two days after the event concludes.” But you’ll want to use your event as a catalyst to foster meaningful relationships well into the future.
You might have noticed that the majority of the list appears in the “before” section. Along with creating a solid strategy, proper planning will make your event go smoothly and help you keep the momentum going long after your event ends.
Download the Checklist: Social Media Checklist for Events