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Differentiating Your Event: Utilizing Social Media To Boost Attendee Value

How to Utilize Social Media to Optimize Your Meetings

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Whether it’s staying connected with your favorite celebrities, broadcasting your latest vacation, or keeping tabs on old friends, social media is a huge part of our everyday lives.  But did you know it can also be a  powerful tool for making your event stand out in a competitive landscape?  While social media can promote your event and build anticipation among your attendees, it can also create a buzz around your brand long after your event has ended and even attract attendees to your next event!  By utilizing advanced social media tactics and incorporating photography into your event strategy, you can showcase your event in a way that captures attention and leaves a lasting impression on attendees and digital on-lookers alike.  Below, we will explore how to leverage social media and create captivating photo ops to help differentiate your event and make it truly unforgettable. Whether you're an event planner looking to wow your clients or a social media manager seeking to make an impact, this guide is for you!

Building anticipation and generating buzz for an event is essential to ensure high RSVP numbers and excited attendees. Social media channels are the spot where we gather daily to interact with each other and discuss and discover the latest trends; they are the ideal platforms for getting the buzz started.

  1. Create Engaging Teasers: Kick off your event with a bang before it even happens! Instead of the usual event announcement, create a series of teaser videos or graphics that build excitement. Incorporate suspenseful storytelling, intriguing visuals, and a touch of mystery to keep your audience on the edge of their seats and as eager as ever to attend your meeting.  Don’t forget to promote your speakers and their expertise! Share their profiles, previous work, and what attendees can expect to learn from them.
  2. Find Your Audience: Consider utilizing targeted ads on your social media platforms if budget permits. Analyze when your target audience is most active on social media and schedule posts accordingly. Tools like Hootsuite or Buffer can help with this.  By strategically selecting your target audience based on demographics, interests, and location, you can effectively promote your event and attract the right attendees.
  3. Find Your Platform: Going hand-in-hand with finding the right audience is finding the best platform for your efforts.  Select the social media platforms that align with your target audience. LinkedIn is ideal for professional events, but platforms like X, Facebook, and Instagram can also be useful depending on your audience.
  4. Behind-the-Scenes Sneak Peeks: Don’t hesitate to take your followers behind the curtain. Share glimpses of the event preparation, introduce your hardworking team, and let guests in on exclusive behind-the-scenes moments. This humanizes your event and creates a connection that goes beyond the main stage.
  5. Be Accessible: The concept of DEI, or Diversity, Equity, and, Inclusion has become a priority for planners over the last few years.  This concept isn’t limited to just on-site accommodations either.  Ensure that your social media content is accessible to all attendees, including those with disabilities. Use alt text for images and provide captions for videos.
  6. Interactive Contests: Help cultivate engagement by running contests that require participation. For example, ask attendees to submit their event-related artwork, creative slogans, or even short videos. Feature the best entries on your social media channels and offer exciting prizes. This generates buzz and involves your audience in the event's narrative.  
  7. Create Customized Hashtags:  Give your marketing efforts some extra reach with a unique or catchy hashtag.  Encourage attendees, speakers, and sponsors to use it on their social media platforms. This consolidates the event conversation and creates a sense of community. Consider displaying a live hashtag feed at the event to showcase the online buzz.
  8. Influencer Collaborations: Partner with influencers relevant to your industry or niche. Whether it's a local celebrity, industry expert, or a social media influencer, their endorsement can significantly boost your event's credibility and visibility. They can also provide a fresh perspective through takeovers or live Q&A sessions.
  9. Gather Analytics:  Encourage your attendees to share their expectations and interests.  This drives post engagement to help your social media efforts combat the sometimes pesky algorithm and provides valuable insights that can be used to tailor the event content to the attendees' needs. By understanding what the attendees are looking for, event planners can ensure that the event delivers value and meets their expectations.
  10. Expand Your Reach:  While pages and apps like Facebook and Instagram are typically what we think of when it comes to social media, websites like Reddit and LinkedIn are also great platforms to employ your social media tactics as well.  Look for and leverage these types of online communities and forums related to the industry to help generate hype for your event. By actively participating in these communities, you can showcase your expertise, share valuable insights, and create a community around the event!

So your pre-event marketing efforts were a success, and the big day is finally here, but that doesn’t mean your social media efforts need to end!  Chances are your attendees will be checking their phones throughout the day and, as a result, are still quite plugged into the social media world.  Here are some clever ways to utilize social media on-site to streamline your event and add additional value to your attendees!

  1. Live Updates: Keep your audience in the loop by providing real-time updates on social media. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, advertise upcoming breakouts or speakers, and post live updates about the event and schedule. This creates a sense of immediacy and excitement for both on-site attendees and those following online.
  2. Live Streaming: Utilize live streaming features on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or X to broadcast important sessions, interviews, or event activities. This allows virtual attendees to participate in real-time and provides a dynamic experience for those on-site.
  3. Interactive Polls and Q&A Sessions: Engage your audience through interactive polls and Q&A sessions on platforms like Instagram and X . Polls can be used to gather opinions on specific topics, while Q&A sessions allow attendees to ask questions to speakers or organizers, fostering a sense of participation as well as providing value to your guests by having their exact pain points addressed during your on-site content.
  4. Incorporate Your Branding:  Chances are part of your branding is for on-site signage.  While these items are great for thanking sponsors or helping guide the way for your guests, they can also play a huge role in your social media presence.  Put your hashtag on your event signage so that photos of your event, whether your own or attendees' on-site photos, help drive your marketing efforts and keep your hashtag relevant!  Be sure to check out our Differentiating Your Event with Visual Branding blog for some creative ideas on how to optimize your on-site branding efforts!
  5. Make Space for Photo Opps:  While candid photos are great for adding a fun element to your event, it’s important to make room for more deliberate photos, too!  Create a space for these types of pictures, like a selfie station with props for attendees to use.  Alternatively, use a step and repeat with your company branding to create a backdrop for the perfect photo booth.  This not only encourages attendees to snap some photos at your event but also helps your branding permeate to channels you don’t have direct access to when your attendees post them on their personal accounts.  You can bring value to your sponsors by having them support these types of installations with their branding.  For some ideas on how to execute this and other sponsor value adds, check out our Boosting Sponsor value blog!
  6. Event Hashtags and Geotags: If you followed the pre-event steps, you probably already have an awesome hashtag for your event.  Encourage attendees to use this hashtag and geotag when posting on social media. This helps consolidate the event-related content and also allows those on-site to see and connect with each other's posts. Display a live hashtag feed at the event to showcase the online conversation (as well as drive participation).
  7. Contests and Challenges: Host on-site contests or challenges that encourage attendees to actively participate on social media. For example, challenge them to share creative photos, participate in a scavenger hunt, or post their favorite speakers' quotes. As with all gamification efforts, offer prizes to boost engagement!
  8. Visual Storytelling: Tell a visual story of the event by creating a sequence of Instagram or Facebook Stories. Share short, engaging snippets of different aspects of the event, from registration to the closing ceremony. This format is perfect for capturing the essence of the event in a fun and digestible way.
  9. Emergency Communication: In case of any unexpected changes or emergencies, use social media to communicate with attendees promptly. This ensures everyone is informed in real-time and can adjust their plans accordingly.
  10. Interactive Installations: Design interactive installations or experiences that beg to be shared on social media. Whether it's a visually stunning photo booth, a thought-provoking art installation, or a gamified networking zone, these shareable moments become free promotions as attendees share their experiences online.

Post Event
So your event is over, and it’s finally time for a much-needed break, right?  Well, not quite.  You can use social media to extend the lifespan of your event's impact, maintain engagement with attendees, and lay the groundwork for future successes.  Here are some tips to employ post-event to ensure your event’s success continues long after the last attendee has left!

  1. Post-Event Surveys and Feedback:  In conjunction with the typical email follow-up, you can use your social media platforms to share post-event surveys and gather feedback from attendees. These platforms allow for the use of tools like easy-to-use polls that help facilitate participation.  While this is a great way to keep your hashtag trending a little longer, it also provides insights for future improvements.
  2. Highlight Reel and Photo Albums: Compile a visually appealing highlight reel or photo album from the event. Share snippets of memorable moments, keynote speakers, and candid shots of attendees enjoying the experience. Encourage attendees to tag themselves and share their favorite moments, which can help drive engagement while simultaneously creating a sense of nostalgia and keeping your event at the forefront of your guests’ minds.
  3. Exclusive Content Releases: Keep the post-event momentum going by releasing exclusive content on social media platforms. This could include behind-the-scenes interviews, bonus clips from presentations, or post-event interviews with speakers. These posts add to your event’s overall content and provide attendees with even more value once they're back in their own homes!  Don’t forget to check out our Differentiating Your Event with Content blog for more ways to add content on-site, as well as before and after your event, to boost your attendee experience!
  4. User-Generated Content Showcase: Celebrate the creativity of your attendees by showcasing user-generated content. Share and repost photos (bonus points if you have content from your photo booths), videos, and testimonials from attendees on your social media channels. Create a dedicated space to acknowledge and appreciate their contributions.
  5. Interactive Q&A Sessions: Host a live Q&A session on social media featuring key speakers or organizers. This provides attendees with an opportunity to ask burning questions, share their experiences, and continue the conversation. This can be done through live video sessions on Instagram and Facebook or scheduled X chats.  This provides a great networking opportunity for both attendees and those who couldn’t attend in person.  Be sure to check out the Differentiating Your Event with Networking blog for some additional tips and tricks you can employ on-site to maximize your guests' networking capacity!
  6. Contest Winners and Prizes: If you hosted contests or challenges during the event, announce and celebrate the winners on social media. Feature their submissions, congratulate them, and perhaps even offer special recognition or prizes. This not only engages participants but also encourages future participation.
  7. Countdown to the Next Event: If your next event is on the horizon, start a countdown!  Build anticipation by sharing teaser content, early bird registration announcements, or sneak peeks into what attendees can expect. This keeps your audience engaged and eager for what's to come.
  8. Engagement Challenges: Keep the community you’ve cultivated active by initiating post-event engagement challenges. Encourage attendees to share their key takeaways, implement something they learned, or propose ideas for the next event. You can even host digital roundtables post-event to discuss these types of ideas!  Recognize and reward participants to foster that sense of community and encourage participation.
  9. Express Gratitude: Finally, don’t forget to say “thanks”!  Use social media as a platform to express gratitude to your attendees, sponsors, and speakers. Craft personalized thank-you messages, share testimonials, and highlight the collective success of the event. This not only reinforces positive sentiments but also strengthens relationships for future collaborations.

Incorporating creative social media strategies and eye-catching photo ops into your event planning can bring a lot of extra value to your event and help your event stand out from the crowd. Social media efforts can leave a lasting impression on attendees, from utilizing social media to build anticipation and generate buzz, to showcasing your event through fun selfies and photos during and after your meeting.  If you’re looking for some creative branding ideas on-site to help boost your social media photos, don’t hesitate to contact us Together, we can get creative and make your event a trending success that people will post about long after it's over!

Zack Malpass
Written by Zack Malpass

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