In the early days of social media, event promotion consisted primarily of posting teasers and links online that led followers to an event landing page. As anyone who has ever used social media successfully will tell you, that old-school approach can tarnish your company’s reputation and repel the types of attendees you hoping to attract.
Today event planners use social media to better understand the needs of their target audience, engage registered attendees, and foster connections so that live interactions can be more meaningful. Here are some recommendations on how to best use social media on the most popular channels.
On your website, in your email newsletters and upon registration, lead attendees to your Facebook event page so you can engage them with content such as:
- A short poll to gather opinions on specific aspects of the event.
- Pictures from past events to give them a better sense of what to expect.
- Contests to create excitement and buzz leading up to the event.
- Provocative questions that spark discussions and help attendees create connections.
- Create an event hashtag and include it in all email and social media communications to attendees.
- Assign a staff member(s) to live tweet during the event. This includes posting relevant news, responding to tweets, and adding insightful comments when re-tweeting posts from attendees.
- Post-event, comb through the tweets to gather feedback and generate ideas for the future.
As the top online destination for professionals, LinkedIn can be very helpful in event planning and generating awareness.
The discussion forums are a great way to better understand trends and issues affecting your target audience. Use this information to develop event tracks and identify potential speakers. When the time comes to generate awareness for your event, join relevant discussions and point group members to a specific session that speaks directly to the topic.
Google+ competes head-to-head with Facebook and is becoming more popular. It’s worth your time to create a presence and check out the Google+ Events page where you can post news, create a hangout for attendees, take advantage of real time event photo streaming, and integrate with mobile devices that let attendees instantly post updates and photos from the event.
This site is all about visual storytelling, so use rich images to depict the tone of your event. This can range from great locations and eye-popping invitations to more abstract images that reflect the tone of the event and the interests of your audience.
While Meetup isn’t typically geared toward corporate events, don’t overlook its power if you’re hosting regular events aimed at a specific target audience. The members are already segmented and searching for events to attend. Just be sure you disclose your affiliation with an organization.
As with any social media forum, get familiar with the guidelines established by the community before you post. Then you’ll be aligned with the needs of your audience and won’t jeopardize your participation on the site.