Did an event really happen if no one posted pictures or commentary on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Part of the fun in attending events happens in the digital world, where we share our thoughts, feelings, and moments with social networks. It means we’ve taken the time—and space on our social media presence—to appreciate what’s going on around us.
With that in mind, how can event organizers tap into the digital community to make events worthwhile, not only in real time, but on our social media feeds, as well?
1. Make it visible at the event
Social media centers in the lobby, signage in the most (and least) exciting parts of the event space, stages, displays—make your event’s hashtag and social content inescapable. There tend to be a lot going on at conferences- make your event’s hashtag and social info as clear and out in the open as possible!
2. Have a social media guru, always
You want someone who gets it, who can act fast in a moment of calamity, and who can respond to people who are doing it right (and wrong) on social media. If someone mentions your event, they should have a response within an hour or so—no exceptions. Having someone dedicated to this will help you stay connected with your community and keep the engagement poppin’.
3. Address the bad, address the good
Remember that time your schedule pointed to the wrong room for a lecture? Mistakes happen, but to have them perpetuated on social media—that’s the real mistake. If you have a social media guru (c’mon, didn’t we convince you in the last bullet point?), he or she should always make sure your attendees’ questions are being answered. Own your mistakes—and do it quickly!
4. Whatever you do—don’t spam!
“Please, like this!” “Here’s a viral meme—you liked it before, here’s your chance to like it again!” “Hey, RT this if U R awesome.” When these start to fill up attendees’ newsfeeds, that’s when unfriending/unfollowing occurs. Every time, remember quality over quantity. Having 200 people “like” your photo because either they felt bad or obligated, that’s not the same as having 70 people genuinely like your tweet enough to respond to it.
5. Curate your live Tweets
Imagine: the moment you check your Twitter feed to get the low-down on an event when, all of a sudden, you’re inundated with tweets replicating every word the speaker says. Even if you provide your audience with a live stream, the live tweets are bound to show up. Consider an “official” event Twitter stream (maybe this is where your social media guru shows his/her expertise!).
6. Set the bar beforehand
If you’re providing the program, supplying the speaker, and setting up the social media, then yes: you’re allowed to have expectations, too. Educate your audience and set the standard for the user-generated content you expect to see on social media – and start by doing this yourself. Before the event, tweet the stuff you’d like to see on your Twitter feed, and your attendees will follow suit. Incentivize those with funny or creative tweets; these will show up on social media displays and stages, or will be retweeted by your curated “official” Twitter account. It’s worth it. We promise.
7. Promote your speakers
Your speaker—your lovely, passionate, celebrated presenter—deserves your utmost respect and acceptance. They’re taking their time to write a speech, put together some slides, and pack their bags to attend your event (no matter how truly awesome it is!). Instead of asking them to constantly tweet about your event, promote them with a few tweets of your own. No doubt they will amplify your message to their own impressive social followings- truly a win-win.
8. Use those creative juices
How about a photobooth? An “official” photographer? Some goofy table conversation cards with hashtags? Use entertainment to your advantage: the more creative and fun stuff you offer, the more your attendees will want to rave about it on social media.