How to communicate online about an event? Which hashtag to choose? Which tools to use? How to tweet live? One needs social networking skills to any event promotion.
The promotion of an event nowadays (almost) requires social networks. The instructions for use are delivered in 10 steps.
For many Internet users, social platforms have become the number one medium for real-time information. A media that is also interactive, viral and inexpensive. A great opportunity for event organizers who want to attract a targeted audience! But as always in events, you have to anticipate and organize yourself, even on social networks.
Using Social Networking skills to promote an event tip no 1: Develop an event website
Before you launch yourself all over the place on social networks, keep in mind that these social platforms are only relay media where information remains relatively ephemeral. It is therefore better to develop in advance a mini event website or blog containing all the practical information (location, contact, programme, detailed presentation, communication kit, etc.) that you can update as the content of the event becomes clearer.
Of course, optimize your event site for mobile phones, so that participants can consult it when they travel to the event. And why not create an app? A mobile application dedicated to an event can be useful to locate yourself on the exhibition map, find an exhibitor, consult the programme, follow the latest news or receive an invitation to scan at the entrance.
Create social profiles for the event
Is it always necessary to create social networks dedicated to the event? In fact, it depends on the case:
– If the event is repeated every year (e.g., fair, trade show, festival, etc.), the answer is yes. Create dedicated accounts that you will reuse for the next edition, to build loyalty in your community.
– If the event is exceptional (e. g. seminar, conference, anniversary, etc.) and is organized by a company that already has accounts on social networks, the answer is no. Use the company’s existing accounts to communicate about the event. It would be a shame to develop a community on an event account that is destined to disappear.
Be careful not to position yourself on any social network, at the risk of having your pages, accounts and hubs deserted. First think about your target audience and their browsing habits, as well as the theme of your event.
For the general public, favour a page and/or event on Facebook. If your target audience is looking for relevant news on an expert theme, also open an account on Twitter and/or LinkedIn. For a younger audience, think of Snapchat. Of course these networks can be combined with each other and there are others (Instagram, Youtube, etc.).
Choose the #hashtag of the event
The choice of hashtag is strategic for the success of the event on social networks.
The hashtag must be easily memorable and unique to avoid confusion. Check that your hashtag idea is not already being used somewhere in the world, especially if it has English terms. Many organizers choose hashtags in the form of the event acronym followed by the year. Which is not necessarily a good idea because the acronyms are not always obvious to remember and, each year, the hashtag must change….
This hashtag must be defined as early as possible before the event so that it can be printed on all communication media (posters, invitations, badges, advertisements, programmes, etc.), posted on the website, distributed on social networks and on the signage of the event location (kakemonos, panels, event map, etc.).
Define an editorial publication schedule
The feedback from the organiser to the community manager is often a problem in an e-event strategy, especially if the community management is outsourced. Social networks require a lot of information about the event to be published, long before everything is decided and organized.
So make sure you are in touch with the right people who know everything about organizing the event. Explain your role and your specific needs in terms of information, visuals, links, files, etc. Regularly review the event’s organization, program, activities, partnerships, etc.
Create a shared editorial schedule on Google Drive or Trello to exchange with the organization, not to forget any information and to schedule posts on social networks. Use the time you have before the event to prepare cold posts that you will post later.
Gradually increase the frequency of publication
Don’t wait until the day of your event to communicate on social networks: start publishing at least 2 or 3 months before the event, depending on its importance. This gives time to wake up the community, broadcast “save the date” or D-30, relay the opening of the ticket office, attract exhibitors, focus on each detail of the program, etc.
Organize special actions on social networks
It is not a question of repeating the same thing on social networks as on your other traditional communication media (press releases, advertisements, etc.). The members of your community must be the first to know, to feel privileged. Always try to be ahead of official communication to tease: arouse curiosity with exclusive elements.
For example, Internet users really appreciate following the backstage of the organization: the poster is printed, such and such a personality has confirmed his arrival, the caterer is chosen, there are no more places left, etc.
Other tracks: create a video presenting the event, organize a mini-competition by offering free invitations or goodies (tee-shirts, stickers, etc.) only accessible via social networks.
Advertise on social networks
Social networks are also great advertising boards. On Facebook, you have several advertising formats to promote your event:
– Advertising generating traffic to the event’s website or e-bill
– Highlighting post presenting particularly important information
– Highlighted competitions to win invitations
– Facebook event sponsorship
– Form-to-form advertising to collect contacts from potential exhibitors
Facebook users can be targeted by geography, age, interests, professions, etc. They are relatively easy to set up for small budgets (50 € is more than enough to promote an event to a local target group).
Recruit ambassadors or influencers
Scan your digital landscape, identify the most influential and relevant bloggers, youtubeurs or instamers on your theme. The idea is to involve them in your community management so that they can talk about your event to their own subscriber community, which is often larger than yours.
Contact them to propose influencing partnerships. Be careful, influencers are not journalists or salespeople, but passionate people.
You have to show that you are really interested in them, that you follow them.
Cover the event live on social networks
The live tweet consists in commenting on an event in real time on the social networks Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. The objective is to:
– Broadcast live information to those present at the event
– Allow people who are not present to follow the event remotely and thus increase the geographical audience of the event
– Make people who are still reluctant to travel to the event want to come
– Allow participants (exhibitors, speakers, visitors) to promote themselves, give their opinion, participate in conversations about the event’s hashtag.
If it is a big event over several days, have a team of 2 to 3 full-time community managers to provide social media coverage.
Maintain the community between 2 editions
After your event, continue to post regular news, especially if the event is recurrent, to maintain and retain your community between two editions. Especially if you appear to be a relevant source of information.
Participants will certainly have questions to ask you to find a photo, a presentation, a contact, or even to express their sympathy.
Just before the event, to avoid errors on social networks in real time, we advise you to identify and check all @ participants, exhibitors, partners, funders, etc. But also to prepare some cold posts to be the first to publish the information on the official hashtag.
During the event, the community manager is far from unemployed. It must document the event by producing and distributing as quickly as possible a wide range of multimedia content on social networks: photos, edited videos, live videos, stories, photo albums, links to the event site, etc.
It must also follow conversations on the hashtag, select and post user-generated content (UGC), answer live questions on Facebook Messenger or Twitter, moderate event reviews, etc.
You can also plan specific social network activities during the event
photo contests, questions from the public to the speakers, a hashtag battle, a sharing box, etc.
Some influencers are stars in their niche, who will attract an audience of fans or experts to your event. Plan a budget to invite them on D-Day, offer them a signing session, have them attend conferences, etc. They are also a source of entertainment and visitors during the event.
Let’s say that you have joined several social networking sites and added hundreds of people, out of that majority of them are just random connection whom you don’t even know. They have liked and shared every post that you have put up and you did the same with them. You may still not be great networker.
Meet with a purpose
Simply attending a conference with a motto of meeting people won’t help. You will have to meet with a purpose. It could be as simple as talking to at least five potential suppliers for your business or maybe just getting to know about what your competitors are doing. Try and make such a conversation that the opposite is actually willing to meet you when you call them up for a following up meeting.
Research well before an event
It is always good to research a bit well before any event about the kind of people that would be attending the event and their profiles. If the event has any speaker, study about them from LinkedIn or Google and jot down few points that are relevant for your business as well. It will then become easy for you to filter people to meet and you will have something concrete to start conversations. It is always good to have a brief background of anything.
We network with a purpose of getting some lead for business. But do not make it the sole purpose of networking. Generally people may feel pressurised to commit something or someone at events. Hence just make sure you tell them what you are into and what can you help them with, but do not pitch hard. Because sometimes, people may not be able to help you directly, but they might connect you to someone whom they believe can be of a good resource to you.
Make the most of Social Media
Social media sites like LinkedIn, can prove to be a strong platform for networking. There are so many social groups available for like minded people or of people possessing similar skill set. Join those group and ensure to be active always. But remember being active does not mean you spam the group with not so meaningful messages. It should be purely about sharing of knowledge, ideas, current happenings, trends etc.
Modulate your speech
It is always advisable to practice your speech before interactions. Have a quick revision in your mind on the questions that you would want to talk about before meeting a person. Time is very valuable, and no one would appreciate if you hold onto their time for long. Hence modulate your speech as per the situation, but preferably keep it crisp and clear so that it becomes easy for people to register it in their mind.
After you have met people in any social event and exchanged business cards, make sure you drop in a mail or a message to them after few days. In social gathering people meet so many people that they naturally tend to forget whom they met or who is doing what. A gentle reminder about yourself and your business would be idle for them to recollect you and help them to connect you with the concerned people.
From Web to Face
Try and make your online connections to offline ones. Whenever possible, considering the geographies, meet your online connection in person and take forward your conversations. Remember, a cup of coffee can do wonders with your networking purpose. It helps in building long lasting and strong relationship
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