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Social media is the place for event organizers to drive excitement around their event. It will help you to better understand your target audience, engage attendees and make those lasting connections. All of those points will make your interactions pre, during and post event that much more meaningful.

The first thing that you need to do is come up with a strategy. You will use social media in different ways pre, during and post event so you need to have a game plan.

Who are you trying to reach? Once you have that figured out, you need to find where they live. If you are hosting a medical congress, maybe they love to surf the groups on LinkedIn related to associations they are a part of. However if you are hosting an international tradeshow, Twitter is a great way to reach audiences in different parts of the world. Do your research, your audience will thank you for putting time in to understand their needs.

What tools work for you? Please, please don’t be that person that still manually monitors and uploads posts to social media. It can make you go crazy! Start using tools to automate the process and monitor it, but make sure you are using the right ones for your needs. If you have a big team, use a collaborative tool like Sprout Social to monitor your mentions and automate posts within your team. If you found that your audience is mainly on Twitter, TweetDeck is a great tool to follow hashtags, schedule posts and monitor industry influencers.

What are you going to post? Don’t flood your audience and attendees with information only about your event. They will get bored and start to stray away from visiting your page. Give them valuable information that they can actually use. Share posts from thought leaders, give them industry knowledge and tips, etc. By not just trying to sell your event to them, they will start to gain trust in you and realize that you care about giving them the tools to succeed in the industry.

What happens to social media during your event? You need to make sure you have someone manning the social media platforms during your event. They can answer questions, keep your attendees up to date on the latest changes and happenings, and even monitor the negative chatter (remember, be transparent – their comments can help you make your event even better next year). This will be when your social media is most active, so try to increase engagement even more by hosting a competition. Maybe post the best picture with your event logo on Instagram or host a virtual scavenger hunt. Something to keep people interested.

How do you keep people engaged post event? By keeping your event content alive. Now, some of this happens during your event because you should be taking photos, videos, catching interviews with big names, etc. All of these things will help you share your content post event with the people who couldn’t come and those who did and want to share their knowledge with the rest of their team! You can even use a tool like Social Dynamite to curate posts written about your event content.

How do you measure your results? Look at your analytics! What is the point of all this if you aren’t seeing what your ROI is? Check the analytics on all the social tools that you used: your follower growth, shares, mentions, engagement rates and influencers (Klout score). With all this information under your belt you can make your social media strategy even better for next year’s event!

Bottom line, do your research and come up with a plan. Nothing is worse than sloppy social media that isn’t relevant to your audience. So jump in, get involved and do social media the right way!

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This is a guest post by Kristen Carvalho, content and social media manager at etouches. etouches offers event management software that covers every major function in the event planning lifecycle. Organizations large and small use our 15 module platform to organize, streamline and execute world-class events around the globe. The multilingual, multicurrency software offers budgeting, project management, scheduling, registration, speaker/exhibitor/sponsor management, event websites, seating, surveying, email marketing, venue selection & social networking. Robust, user-friendly and easily customizable, the platform offers complete solutions for pre, during and post events. etouches is sold in quad and pro packages with plus+ add-on options.

“Image source – Flickr , usage under Creative Commons license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)”
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