We all know that social media is a great tool for generating awareness around your meeting. Social gateways provide an effective outlet for empowering attendees to share their thoughts in such a way that magnifies the scope, reach and impact of your event before it even takes place. Similarly, you can use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to drive engagement during and after your function, helping squeeze out the most value from your efforts.
Successful marketing depends on a complex customer experience integrated across several channels, including leveraging social media to your advantage. So, how can you maximize your meeting marketing efforts? There are a number of ways you can improve event engagement via social. Most importantly, these tactics can provide you with critical numbers that prove positive ROI for your meetings and events.
Using Social Media to Drive Meeting Engagement
Prior to the Meeting
Identify the Right Social Networks for Your Meeting
Where do your target attendees spend their time on the web? Where do they post and share content? Where do you have an already-developed online community? Take the time to answer these questions and identify the most beneficial social networks for your event promotion.
- Twitter: Fast-paced, news-driven, used for updating.
- Facebook: Currently retains the highest engagement rate of any social media outlet.
- Instagram: "Breakout" social outlet has more than 150 million users and growing.
Create a Social Media Content Plan
When it comes to implementing event-driven social media, you'll first want to create a content plan specific to your event. This should include planning and scheduling content that educates attendees and followers on key topics, relevant industry news, scheduled speakers, the event's sponsors and other related information.
Any and all social media pushed out across your channels should drive traffic back to the specific meeting's website and/or registration page.
Involve Speakers and Sponsors
Connect with the individuals scheduled to speak, present and/or sponsor your meeting. Brief all parties on specific messaging and images that can be shared with their followings. Similarly, create content about individual speakers, tagging them and any sponsors in your posts and encourage them to further share via their profiles.
Create an Industry-Relevant Hashtag
Believe it or not, hashtags still play a crucial role in developing interest in your social accounts. Including a hashtag with your post helps to categorize content for your audience.
"Use something simple like the acronym of your event name followed by the year," says MICE digital marketer Frank Waechter. "Include the hashtag on all your branding online and on the day/weekend of the conference. This way, when delegates attend, they will utilize the hashtag when posting."
Keep up to date with the conversations your target audience is engaged in and join the dialogue. Offer value in your responses and you will get the right engagement.
Just as you drive social media users back to the web, use email to drive established website visitors to meeting social media. Send your email list updates with content, updated agenda items and calls to follow your event on social. Email marketing supplements your social media efforts, and remains essential in the engagement process.
Social Media During the Meeting
Update Social Channels During the Event
Social efforts should not stop once your meeting is underway. Use Twitter to live tweet and interact with attendees (here's where your meeting hashtag again comes into play).
Tweet quotes from speakers and share video and image content, tagging relevant individuals, locations and information whenever possible.
Social Media Stations
If you're unsure how tech-savvy your attendees are, why not help them promote?
"Consider setting up a branded social media station at your event," says social media consultant Dhariana Lozano. "Take the time to engage with visitors, letting them know about the social campaigns happening around your event."
Other tactics to examine? Take photos of attendees and tag their handles in published social content. During presentations, you can also increase engagement by announcing that audience questions will be curated from Twitter. The designated social media representative at the event can also tweet out short-version answers for virtual followers to see.
Keep things "clean" by posting content in a way that will get noticed on each network. Consider the frequency the user prefers on each platform and the shelf life of posts. You wouldn’t post on Facebook every minute of the event like you might for Twitter, would you?
You want to appear on your followers’ newsfeed, but you also need to be respectful by not monopolizing it. Implement this cautious posting strategy throughout the meeting to remain respectfully present and not pesky.
Social Media After the Meeting
Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram Stories have poll and survey tools that allow you to interact with meeting attendees and get insight into their experiences.
Post questions ranging from hard-hitting to playful, such as "What was your favorite takeaway from John Doe's deep dive into the possibilities of incentives?" or "Did you prefer signature drink one or two during the cocktail hour?".
Give Out Gratitude
Gratitude goes a long way, and it's worth thanking speakers and attendees after the fact via social to give them that extra admiration, which can help build stronger community bonds.
Start the Cycle Over
Use all the content that you’ve collected during the meeting to create even more social media notice. Schedule out posting to start building that buzz for next year’s event.
You have all the materials out there, and hopefully positive sentiment around your meeting -- share testimonials, quotes, images, etc. and mold them into the perfect start of social promotion for your next event.