Social media is a godsend to any event organizer but it needs to be handled with professionalism, skill and sensitivity. Use these top ten tips to give your event that critical social media boost:
- Conduct a social media presence audit. Check out all of your social media profiles and presences on a variety of browsers and mobile operating systems to ensure that you are portraying the same consistent event image to everyone in the audience. If there is any requirement for updating incorrect or outdated information, now is the time to jump on this.
- Conduct a social media personnel audit. Once you have your online content correct and consistent across platforms it’s time to turn your attention to your team. Do they have the required skills and expertise to run your social media program in the time leading up to your event, through the event itself, and in the all-important post-event time? If there are any shortcomings will you be able to train them in time?
- Grab a Twitter hashtag fast. You should stake your claim to an effective hashtag as soon as your event is announced, not when you’re about to pack your bags to go to it. Make sure that it makes sense, it’s relevant to your event, and it’s unique. Keep leveraging the hashtag to build the community and keep the engagement going with your audience.
- Get your presenters on social media. It may seem hard to believe but you likely have presenters who don’t even have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Get them up to speed and coax them into participating in the social conversation around your event, and ensure that they include their Twitter handle and the event hashtag in the bottom right hand corner of each slide.
- Provide shareable content. No one wants to read entire speeches verbatim or boiler plate text about how great your event is and how much the attendees are enjoying it. Instead, provide valuable information which is being generated at the conference: news they can use
- Don’t be afraid to censor. No matter what your event it will be pilloried by someone somewhere for no other reason that haters will hate. Although some social media platforms prohibit you from deleting any comments take advantage of moderation opportunities everywhere they are available and keep the nattering nabobs of nihilism at bay.
- Empower your audience. Your attendees want to feel a part of the event and not just a passive mass audience, so provide them the channel for influencing the actual event itself through their social media interaction with your event. You can have a vote on which band will be playing, whether each participant will receive a tote bag or a T-shirt, or even the order of the presenters.
- Give stuff away. No social media strategy is ever as successful as giving stuff for free, so embrace it and do it with gusto. Don’t just give them a 25 cent ballpoint pen with the name of your event printed on it, but reward them with gifts, merchandise, free tickets, valet parking, discount coupons for food and drink, and whatever else you can think of.
- Sell out the priciest ticket. This may seem as borderline-dishonest by some but it’s a great event marketing technique. When you create your levels of tickets, have the most expensive and prestigious level sell out right away. This will communicate to your audience that there is a great deal of anticipation for the event and they should move urgently to secure their tickets before they’re all gone.
- Create a crisis plan. Even when absolutely everything is planned to the nth degree there is always the Great Unknown factor that can derail any event. It could be a weather crisis or a major accident or even a widely-reported faux pas from one of your primary executives. Craft a coherent and comprehensive crisis plan which allows you to salvage whatever you can from the ashes.
Strategically leveraging social media is the best way to ensure your event will be a success!