5 Ways To Strengthen Your Event’s Social Strategy
If you’re a B2B trade show looking to use social media to close the loop between our increasingly digital world and the genuine power of the face-to-face business experience—congratulations! Your enthusiasm to expand your digital approach will grow your event and keep it relevant, while other change-adverse events will continue to struggle with declining attendance.
The fact that you are focused on evolving your event to enhance today’s attendee experience using social media means you are that much closer to attracting and retaining the attendee of tomorrow. With 75% of B2B buyers using social media to scope out vendors before meeting with them, it’s evident that, even in traditional industries, social media is playing a larger role than ever in the buying process.
The average social B2B buyer is spending $365k per transaction, but not without meeting, trusting and building a relationship with that vendor—that’s where your event comes in. By prioritizing social media, you can leverage that buying power right where social and events dynamically intersect.
Here are 5 ways to better integrate social media into your event to engage your attendees and attract those power buyers:
1. Simplify Your Hashtag
The event hashtag is as important, if not more important, than the name of your event. In today’s event marketing space, your hashtag anchors your event, allows everyone to interact and promotes live tweeting. Even better, monitoring your hashtag allows you to listen to your audience’s feedback in real-time and gain valuable insights into what matters most to your attendees.
Make sure your hashtag is short, unique, memorable and timely. Your event hashtag should be so intuitive that event attendees will logically deduce what it is from the event’s name. Make sure it matches the name of your event, like #SXSW for the SXSW conference and tack on the year to categorize posts year over year (#SXSW17).
It’s not just enough to simply have a hasthag…you have to advertise it! Ensure that your hashtag is HIGHLY visible everywhere! Badges, tickets, websites, programs, carpets, banners, emails, speaker slides, etc. Basically anywhere you’d write your event name, swap it for the hashtag.
2. Promote Social Posting
It’s our job, as event professionals and social media pros, to get the conversation started. Encourage your attendees to use your hashtag and get sharing by leading by example—post valuable content and post it often.
Before each one of his keynotes, marketing tycoon, Guy Kawasaki, asks his audience to use the hashtag and tweet about their live experience at the event. Connect with your speakers before the show and ask them to encourage social sharing during their sessions.
To encourage power users to set the publishing tone, project a leaderboard of top tweeters in a highly-visible area in your event space. This tactic not only recognizes your brand evangelists but also gameifies the experience, encouraging others to join in. Bonus: throw in a giveaway to get the user-generated content ball rolling.
3. Display the Conversation
Great services like slido or Tweetbeam will display your event hashtagged posts on screens around the conference premises. Broadcasting your attendees’ posts and thoughts boosts the interaction and brings exposure to what everyone is talking about. People love seeing their tweet on the big screen! Just make sure you have a social media manager monitoring tweets to eliminate any self-promoting trolls.
4. Construct Photo Walls
Step and repeat photo walls are not just for celebrity awards shows anymore—give your attendees a dedicated place where they can take pictures (complete with your visible hashtag, of course!). Including relevant props or industry celebrities will have an even bigger impact. Also, consider incentivizing sharing by announcing that the uploads with the highest engagement will win a prize.
5. Speakers Are Stars
Leverage your speakers! Your speaker lineup is typically one of the main reasons why people spend time and money to attend your event. Use teaser preview interviews to drive interest in registering early, republish content from their social channels, and lean on their influence by asking them to promote on their own platforms.
On-site, tap into attendee excitement around seeing and hearing industry leaders in person. Since selfies are now the new autograph, set up a place where audience members can grab a photo with top speakers. Set up a second screen experience so that the Q&A runs smoothly and the message is perfectly tailored. Maximizing your speakers is a great way to get the social media engagement ball rolling.