These days, event planners who aren’t integrating social media into their events are falling farther and farther behind. They have more trouble engaging their attendees and driving interest in their events. Some even question whether social media is a fad and something that will go away by the time they learn it. I highly suggest that we break out of this mindset. Social media is here to stay. It’s the way people have learned to communicate, and they aren’t going back. The tools may come and go, but the method by which they are connecting is here to stay. Mark my words.
So the next question is, how do you integrate social media in a way that is manageable, effective and engaging? Here are a few suggestions.
First, have a purpose
Most people begin with the tool in mind. Everyone seems to be using Twitter, so they wonder what they can do on Twitter to make their events better. There are problems with this approach. Most importantly, you will never know if you are successful if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve.
Before even thinking about a social media campaign, take these two steps.
- Identify ongoing challenges. What are the challenges that your organization faces time and time again? Not enough branding? Low turnout? You need to identify room for improvement and focus on exactly what you want to achieve.
- Know your audience. Ask your current or target audience what social networks they use, what they use them for, how often they interact on them and whether they even like engaging with brands. This is important to know because every audience is different.
Secondly, find the right tools
Once you know who your target audience is and how they use social media, you can begin to learn the culture of each social network. That’s right — every network has its own culture. The ideal number of times to post on Twitter is drastically higher than on LinkedIn. The way that people share pictures on Facebook is not the same as those on Twitter.
How do you know these things? You have to use the tools yourself and make them part of your behavior. This is the only way you will know how to use them and how you can leverage them for your events.
Finally, implement and measure
People often feel that social media cannot be measured, but that is simply not true. While engagement may be harder to measure, you can tell whether your campaigns are working, especially if you have first identified consistent challenges and laid out strategy behind reaching your goals.
As you implement new tools, remember that you must always tweak and change to reach your goals, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a viral video on your first try!
Whatever social media outlet you use, I wish you the best of luck. These products provide some amazing opportunities for you to brand yourself and make sure that your events stand out among the crowd.