It is undeniable that people are engaged by social media. At events, it is an awesome way to share information, promote sessions, inspire and connect attendees!
The first step in creating social media plans for conferences is to decide what you can post ahead of time, and where you want the posts to appear. In my experience Twitter is a logical choice for posting in real time. Scheduling posts to hit the timeline at strategic times during the event will engage attendees. Facebook Live broadcasts in the moment. Memes attract attention, and these shareable images with quotes can be used to highlight presenters’ sessions. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms because of its visual format, and continues to grow in popularity. Creating images and memes that depict the conference experience and posting them on Instagram will spark engagement that rockets your event to trending status.
5 Strategies You Can Use
Consider using these 5 strategies when you plan your social media marketing strategy:
1. Convenience Is there something that you can plan ahead of time that will help guests navigate an experience faster?
In a study by University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications, researchers found that 43% of respondents were willing to accept a supermarket discount offer even if they knew that the supermarket would analyze their purchase history and make assumptions about them. Why would they be willing to have their personal information invaded? Convenience! The easier you make the experience for an attendee the more they will rave about how great the event is!
The process of registration, navigating an experience or venue can be frustrating. Review your surveys from previous events to determine what the attendees’ pain points were, and use social media to help. In a 2015 ranking of the best conference registration tools, Eventbrite tops the list. One reason it ranks so highly is because of its app, which provides an easy and fast registration process. Attendee information is pre-populated in the app, and it’s a simple process to scan the app screen at check-in. From within the app, event producers can create a wait-time notifications (how many minutes until…) and venue maps using GPS navigation.
2. Sessions How can you share what your attendees will experience at your event?
Conference sessions are big draws for most attendees. You have stacked the deck with awesome speakers. So how does an attendee choose? As a public speaker I know that the most engaging thing you can do is provide experiential activities during sessions, fold in video or use crowdsourcing tools like PollEverywhere to have the message really resonate. Speakers can create a quick video where they will share what they will cover. How about creating a survey about the subject matter and tweet responses during the session? Or have someone go live just before a session begins with a behind the scenes reveal! One of the most effective things I’ve seen speakers do is to pre-plan posts on their pages to give away freebies during their session. I’ve used Twitter with my presentation to get people to engage and share using hashtags. The person with the most tweets using my hashtags receives a free book. We track hashtags and total them during the Q&A, and announce the winner at the end.
3. Be Visual What can you show in a video or image to walk people through a conference experience?
Video drives engagement. Plan ahead to get apps developed and videos produced. Create a video channel on Vimeo, You Tube, Periscope or Facebook Live. Display a welcome video where attendees can watch highlights of the conference offerings while standing in line to take their minds off the wait!
Create a library of videos to help your attendees navigate the experience. Alert attendees that the portal is available for them to view in advance of the conference so that they may know there are resources available. Sharing behind-the-scenes happenings creates buzz around your event as well so be sure to shoot the set-up before the event and the tear-down after the event with a juicy deal to sign-up for next year!
Memes and infographics can be created in advance of the conference to share countdowns or stats that are pertinent to a session or the industry as a whole. Just make sure you brand them with your event logo.
4. Food How can you help people find food choices during and after conference hours?
People have very specific dietary preferences and needs. and enjoy food images and how-tos popping up in their social media feeds. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, take shots of the offerings with a great motivational quote appropriate for the meal time. Post about standard and specialized menu offerings. Provide a PDF listing nearby restaurants in the area appealing to any taste bud or wallet in attendance. This can be shared in a post during meal times as well!
5. Parties Don’t forget to promote event parties! Share live streams of the band tuning up for the night and the kind of music it will play. Highlight sponsors in posts so that attendees will get to know them! Create networking games. Share the ambiance of the venue, bar, food tables and go live just before the doors open and when the party is really jumping. Be respectful of what you post, though. Put a sign at the entrance that clearly states that appropriate pictures may be shared on your internet properties or in promotional materials.
1) Decide On Your Best Platforms You do not need to be on every social media platform. Select 2-3 platforms where your attendees hang out online. For most, those are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Of your top 3, select one as your primary focus. The other 2 will be supporting players.
2) Use a Scheduler Create a spreadsheet, online scheduler, or a paper calendar to lay out all the things you want to do. Designate when the content will post — before, during and after the event.
Online schedulers enable you to pre-plan all your posts across all your networks. My favorite is HootSuite. It allows you to have a team work on the posts and gives you the final authorization for posting the content. Popular schedulers to check out:
3) Create the content Assign team members to create the content you will need for each platform.
4) Post content based on the schedule you created. Be sure to respond to questions and comments from followers and fans.
I hope these 5 ways to plan your social posts helps you to see more engaged attendees, which translates into highly successful events.