Social media plays a significant role in conferencing today, and those events integrating it most creatively often see the highest levels of audience engagement. Here are ten ways to get the most out of social media at your event
1. Connectivity is key
At the most basic level, reliable Wi-Fi is required to allow attendees to connect and engage throughout the event. Speak to the venue in the lead up to your event about available Wi-Fi levels. Can the venue’s Wi-Fi handle online activity from all attendees simultaneously? Will the standard Wi-Fi level need to be boosted? On the day of the event, make sure it is really clear how your delegates get online by making the Wi-Fi connection details visible on presentation slides and venue signage. The key is to make it easy for users. Don’t deter them with complicated logging in pages or force them to create profiles – get them online fast so they can start sharing.
2. Integrate social media into registration
Place social media at the forefront of attendees’ minds before they even arrive at your event. Put social media icons and share buttons on registration forms and direct users to your social platforms for event updates. Encourage attendees to share the event once they have registered. This is effectively free advertising for you and exposes your company to your attendees’ peer groups. This can pay dividends when it comes to attendance.
"According to HubSpot, people are 71% more likely to purchase something that has been referred to them via social media."
3. Invite influencers
Social media influencers now play a major role in consumer opinion. Find influencers who target the same demographic or audience as you and invite them to your event. While some influencers may charge a fee, it can often prove extremely cost effective in terms of marketing, as your company will be exposed to their large and, crucially, relevant followings.
4. Incentivise attendees
Encourage attendees to use social media to broadcast their experiences by offering attractive prizes. Incentives can range from promising attendees that their posts will be retweeted or liked, to rewarding the best social media engagement with vouchers or tickets to future events. This is an effective technique for gathering feedback, too. According to the Event Marketing Institute, 92% of attendees are willing to give feedback at events if it is tied to an incentive.
Event hashtags connect you to your attendee’s own social networks, promoting your event to a wider group. They also provide a method of indexing all the tweets or posts from your event so that they can be reviewed later. According to Adweek, tweets that use hashtags earn twice as much engagement as those that don’t. Make sure your branded hashtag is visible on all conferencing material, from registration to signage.
6. Offer irresistible social opportunities
It is a well-known fact that hashtags are an easy way to socially engage attendees at an event. However, attendees will be more inclined to share their attendance at your event if the opportunities are fun and creative. Activities like branded photo booths or geo-filters on Snapchat are great examples of activities that encourage group involvement.
A livestream allows those that can’t attend your event be part of the action, while also recording it for others to watch for days to come. Contrary to popular belief, livestreaming is not expensive. From Facebook Live to Instagram TV, there are many free livestreaming options that are easy to use on social media. This activity can also prove to be a good return on investment. According to Unruly, enjoyment of recorded video still increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.
8. Provide fast delegate support
Attendees will be quick to flag up technical issues such as Wi-Fi problems or schedule inconsistencies via social. Manage the questions by putting someone in charge of social media who can mitigate issues – technical or otherwise – quickly before they gain traction and lead to any negative coverage.
9. Share photography and video highlights
Utilise event photography keep attendees engaged long after the event. Publish galleries on Facebook and share video highlight reels on Twitter. Attendees who see themselves or their friends will be encouraged to share these on their network and help attract more attendees for next year. On that note, event photography can be used on social media all year round in order to continue to promote upcoming conferences. It’s evergreen content for your social media channels.
10. Get feedback fast
Once your event is done, make sure you follow up with attendees. This information is vital and informs the content and structure of future events. Ask attendees for feedback straight away while the event is still fresh in their minds. Use social media during the event to remind attendees to give feedback. Consider incentivising the completion of surveys with prizes. All of this information is extremely important and also provides vital contact information about attendees in the future.
The EICC has hosted thousands of conferences that have leveraged social media in creative ways to engage attendees. Here are some of our highlights
TURING FEST’S HIGHLIGHT REEL AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Turing Fest brings together some of the brightest minds in the digital community to discuss some of the future’s most promising technology. The organising team record speakers’ talks and put together highlight reels. To date, this shareable content has been viewed over 43,000 times on Facebook alone and helps find new attendees for next year.
THE SCOTTISH APPRENTICESHIP SHOW’S COMPETITION
The Scottish Apprenticeship Show offers students the opportunity to network and receive tips from future employers. In order to incentivise attendance, the Scottish Apprenticeship Show launched a competition giving students the chance to win editorial control on one full page of their local paper. To enter, students simply had to register their attendance at The Scottish Apprenticeship Show, thus incentivising attendance to the show.
PPA SCOTLAND MAGAZINE AWARDS 2017’S PHOTO BOOTH
The photo booth is a time-honoured tradition at events, providing delegates with photo souvenirs to remember events. Last year, however, PPA Scotland turned their booth into a social media tool. The branded photo booth created GIFs that were then placed on a photo-sharing site. Attendees were able to download them and post them on social media. While providing a sustainable alternative to the traditional printed photography, they also encouraged attendees to share their attendance at the event.
NFL LIVE UK’S SOCIAL MEDIA ROUNDUP
When football players and pundits from the National Football League toured the UK they stopped off at the EICC to provide game insights, exclusive insider information and answer fan questions. From their tour they collected a wealth of social media content along the way and months later this content still proved to useful. By posting a round-up blog of the social media highlights of the tour, the NFL could sweat their assets and use their already cultivated content to attract even more users and future attendees.