Organisational events, conferences and seminars have changed for the better thanks to social media. With a variety of social media messaging tools, organisers can level up the engagement of their audience leading up to, during and even after these events.
Social media sparks interest for the event
Signing the registration sheet, getting a name tag and sitting down in a sea of hundreds to listen to industry experts: This is the common experience of participants in seminars and conferences. They may take in some insights, make a number of new connections, possibly even a few leads and then it’s back to work the following day after the event ends. For those who didn’t attend the event, they may hear a summary from a colleague who attended or read about it on a blog. However, with social media, marketing and running an event has opened up a door to many opportunities.
Organisers can spread the word about their events or conferences through social media, revealing more and more detail as they get closer to the event dates. The scope of information can go beyond the stage, the booth displays or event break-out sessions.
To build hype for the event even before it begins, organisers need to narrow down their target audience. After this, they need to pinpoint the social media channels they use to serve as tools for participant registration and for sending out reminders about the event. They could even ask for the opinions of attendees over the topics to be covered, and the speakers invited to present. Through this approach, communication about the event would not have a sales-oriented approach; instead, it would elevate the involvement of the participants before it actually begins.
Participant input, as well as the details of the event, can be put together in a video presentation and uploaded to social media websites to have a wider reach. This can add excitement to the event if viewers ‘like’ the video and share it out to their network, increasing the likelihood of further attendee registrations.
Social media keeps the fire burning
Social media can also ramp up audience engagement during the day of the event through the use of hashtags. Organisers are encouraged promoting a particular event-related hashtag that allows users to easily add to their tweets in an effort to generate an aggregated digital conversation. Participants can tweet their feedback about the event in real-time allowing non-attendees insight into the day’s proceedings as well as providing organisers an opportunity to respond to any compliments or complaints. To take this to the next level, a Twitter wall could be set up at the venue to show the thread of tweets, encouraging participants to engage digitally.
This digital interaction could be further improved through gamification. Participants whose comments are highly relevant to the event could be recognized through a visual leader board. They could be given small prizes as a reward for their contribution. Moreover, organisers can also the use the Twitter wall for speakers to interact with the audience even after their keynote sessions. Speakers can send out relevant or witty comments in real-time to boost engagement.
The principle of gamification can also be applied to encourage “check-ins” throughout the event venue. Small prizes can be given away for participants who checked in at the different booths and displays in the venue. In doing so, audience engagement would be spread not only on the content of the event itself, but also on the displays or the exhibits set up during the assembly.
Social media maintains warmth even after the end
After the event, participants should be connected to via social media platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn. Organisers can promote content from the event via blogs, presentations slides and other media, providing follow up materials for those who attended and sparking the interest of those who didn’t – eventually converting them into attendees!
Exhibitors and participants should be invited to create blog posts about their event experience. In addition to this, 30-second videos about the exhibitors could be created and uploaded to Youtube or the event website to be shared to a wider audience. External blogs and comments do not only add buzz post-event, they can also be used as tools for feedback that would help organisers improve future events.
Social media should also be used to extend appreciation to all who made the event possible. An expression of gratitude given to participants and sponsors would help ensure that they would support the next event.
These benefits of social media can be realized in your next event with Curate Bee’s management of the ShowGizmo app. The platform can be customised to feature the salient attributes of your company and your event, and it can manage participant engagement from the start to the finish, even beyond. Furthermore, your event could gain a wider exposure on social media channels through Curate Bee’s approach with the application.
Written by Sandra D’Souza of Curate Bee (www.curatebee.com)