Using Social Media to Engage Attendees
Maintaining a social media presence as a means of connecting with event attendees is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement. Social media can be used to increase awareness (before, during, and after an event), to inform attendees about special hashtags associated with the event, and to facilitate interaction.
Which Social Media Platforms Should I Use?
ExpoVention recommends using Twitter and LinkedIn social media platforms. These two platforms are quite different, but each can play an important role in connecting with attendees, improving engagement, and marketing your events.
Twitter is ideal for promoting your event and leveraging user-generated content to further increase your brand’s visibility. By offering a dedicated hashtag for attendees to use, they can post pictures, share quotes from panel discussions, and connect with other attendees. Brands can participate and engage with attendees, as well as monitor the hashtag to quickly respond to questions or address issues that might arise. A Twitter presence can have a positive impact by increasing awareness of the conference and events, as well as highlighting your posters, booth, and presentations.
Because of the professional networking nature of LinkedIn, it is an essential platform for every company. Not only can you connect with attendees, you can also do the bulk of your conference marketing on your company page through LinkedIn posts that are shared by the principals in your organization across their own LinkedIn networks. Be sure to share registration links, event hashtags, agendas, and featured speakers in posts leading up to the event.
Social Media Guide for Events
When you’re choosing to incorporate social media into your event marketing, planning, and execution, there are several factors to keep in mind:
To build an authentic relationship with your followers, follow these guidelines:
Share thoughtful, inclusive, honest, and informative content.
Be sure to reply to people who ask questions about your services or upcoming events.
Monitor mentions of your company and hashtags so that you can engage effectively.
If you’re participating as a sponsor of an event, be sure to support the other sponsors by sharing their posts.
Avoid promoting just your own brand; promote the event as a whole and the event host.
If you are hosting the event, your active and engaging social media platform can be an attraction for potential sponsors and advertisers.
The level of frequency is different for each platform.
Tweet and retweet frequently (4-6 times per day on average).
Maintain an active presence but make sure that your posts are about more than the event.
Retweet other people, whether they are attendees or speakers or co-sponsors, to improve engagement and visibility.
Post 3-5 times per week
Not every post should be centered around your event.
Be sure to share industry news and other thought-leadership commentary relevant to your brand, company, and industry.
Use images with your posts to get more visibility.
Things to Consider When Engaging on Social Media
Using social media can be a great way to increase visibility and engagement, but there are precautions of which you should be aware.
Be Cautious about Image Use and Other IP
Regardless of how much you like an image that you find on Google or one that is used on someone else’s website, you can be fined for using images for which you do not have a license. To avoid such fines, you typically have the option of purchasing a license for the images. Alternatively, you may use images that are licensed under creative commons or are royalty free. You can find a list of free image sources here. If you use someone else’s ideas, words, or content, link back to the original post and give credit to the author.
On LinkedIn, you can quickly and easily edit a post if you discover a typo. However, there remains no edit option on Twitter. Take an extra moment to read what you plan to send and make sure that there are no typos or grammatical errors.
Your company social media pages are never the place to express personal, political, or religious views. However, as a brand, you may feel compelled to take a stand on certain events or social issues. This may invite negative comments or reactions to your social media. If this happens, it’s important to remain firm in your stance without attacking or berating detractors. Abusive commenters can be banned and have their comments deleted, but healthy discourse can actually provide you with a platform to help your customers better understand your position. Whenever possible, remain focused on your business messaging and leave political and social activism to your personal accounts.
The idea of treating others the way you would like to be treated extends to social media. Be kind, polite, professional, and informative. Don’t harass others or over-post about your company. Work to create genuine conversations with people.
Social media is a powerful tool for increasing visibility and engagement for your conferences, tradeshows, webinars, and other events. By focusing on your attendees’ experiences, even on social media, you can create another avenue of connection.