Managing social media activities onsite
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Social media can be one of the strongest tools event professionals can use to promote their event and create a community. Social media can help you sell tickets, boost overall satisfaction rates from attendees and exhibitors, and improve your overall brand recognition and loyalty.
But how do you use social media effectively to promote your event?
Part 1 of this series addressed building a social media strategy. Part 2, below, is a checklist of ways to manage your social media efforts during the live event.
The perks of using social media are countless. In addition, social media allows you to reach a larger audience and generate a sense of community like never before. Here are 10 tips to help you integrate social media into your live event program.
1. Dedicated manpower
Probably the most important — yet often overlooked — step is to make sure you have a dedicated person (or team) to manage your social media activities in real time during the event.
If you think you can oversee the registration desk and manage social media onsite, think again. We all know how busy it gets on show site. So, make sure you dedicate the social media activities to a person (or a team) and make it their sole responsibility.
2. Focused content plan
Things get super busy once the doors open to your event. Your social media team should have a focused content plan built prior to the event.
This includes the schedule for live blog updates and an editorial calendar of updates to go out via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Use the event agenda to help determine the updates you want to send out — for example, a photo from the keynote session.
3. Engage speakers and sponsors
Some of your biggest fans are your program speakers and sponsors. Get them involved in the social media action.
Encourage speakers to promote their sessions to their followers with the event hashtag. Sponsors can use social media as a way to invite attendees to their booth for information sessions, demos, or drawings.
4. Establish a command center
I've seen some events with the social media command center located right in the middle of action. There, attendees can view the activity in real-time, and it can be an impressive sight to behold — especially for larger events.
Regardless of where your command center is located, make sure you have a solid internet connection and adequate power supply. You'll want workstations where your team can update the live blogs, send out tweets and manage the outbound messaging throughout the event.
5. Be authentic
It is important to define the voice of your event for all of our communications, but especially for your social media activities. In some cases, there are multiple people involved in the social media activities during an event, but it is important you have a consistent voice throughout.
Whatever tone you decide to take — corporate, inspirational or funny — be authentic. Avoid sounding like a boring institution. Reply to tweets or comments by using the person's name.
Keep the dialogue going by responding quickly (less than an hour) — this is especially important when it comes to criticism. Don't be afraid to sound like a real person.
6. Make a Plan B
No matter how well event details are planned, unexpected snafus can happen. Before the event, talk through some possible issues (power outages, bad weather, spotty WiFi), and craft responses ahead of time.
If you encounter criticism, take the high road. Avoid being defensive or trying to be right. Whatever you do, do not delete negative comments.
7. Twitter comes first
In my experience, Twitter is intricately tied to customer service feedback, especially when an event is unfolding in real time.
Tweets are the language of the real-time social media conversation. Don't neglect Facebook, Instagram or your other social media platforms, but Twitter should get your attention first.
8. Seeing is believing
Show off all the real-time conversations and photos from the event by setting up a social media wall. You can use a service to display tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook updates using your event hashtag.
The displays can be set up in different places throughout the event and generate more exposure.
9. Open WiFi
Let's face it, we all love free WiFi. Discuss the wireless infrastructure with the venue and your IT/networking team in advance to make sure your event WiFi network will sustain the number of attendees.
Keep the WiFi network open — no passwords! Nothing kills the social media buzz faster than a closed network.
10. Post event updates
You have a ton of great content from the event — photos, presentation slides, videos, etc. Make sure you share this valuable content on all your platforms after your event.
Work with your web team to get videos and presentations uploaded as fast as possible after the event. Then, you can link to the content in your post-event social media updates.
Our final installment takes on the question of social media measurement: Part 3.
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