Social media has been around for less than 15 years but it is quickly changing the way we all gather news, information, and communicate with each other, particularly with attending events. Have you noticed the increased usage of hashtags for industry conferences, sporting events, fashion shows, and other types of events? It is quickly becoming a new way to engage and interact with your audience on a deeper level. Sharing information in a real-time format is becoming not only relevant to your audience but becoming expected from your brand.
No longer does your audience who can’t attend have to feel left out for missing an event or not being able to watch the big game, now they can easily follow along using the specific hashtag. Twitter’s new search integration with Google will make following and discovering event hashtags even easier. Sports fans and fashionistas alike will be able to follow along quickly as the biggest plays are made or the hottest new trend hits the runway.
Here we will break down the five ways you can drive event buzz in social media conversations. Go deeper than using just online event listings, registration social sharing, and contests to engage with your event audience before, during, and after your event.
1. Create Event Buzz Using a Hashtag
During the planning stages of your event start thinking about a hashtag to use for promotions, live engagement, and sharing. Your hashtag will be used throughout the full lifecycle of your event. Keep in mind if your event is annual that the hashtag will be used year after year, so consider using a hashtag that adds the last two digits of the year. For example, Social Media Marketing World uses #SMMW15 instead of just #SMMW.
2. Find Brand Ambassadors
Monitor the use of your hashtag throughout the lifecycle of your event to discover potential brand ambassadors. Listen to who is using your hashtag, how they interact with your brand and discover if they fit your brand ambassador profile. Don’t forget to start with your employees as brand ambassadors for your event.
3. Share Event-Relevant Content
Event attendees and non-attendees will continually check your hashtag and use it to interact with other attendees before, during, and after the event. Use that captive audience to share event-relevant content such as Twitter lists that curate event speakers or attendees leading up to the event. After the event, use the hashtag to distribute speaker presentations, video or photos from the event, and blog recaps.
4. Increase Overall Brand Engagement
Which translates into sharable ROI for your marketing team. Use your reporting metrics to track engagement with your hashtag and your overall brand during the promotion of the event, the event day, and the week following the event. Use this opportunity to share with your team what your audience is saying about your brand, increases in sales or purchases, and other relevant reporting metrics your brand uses. Tip: Share screenshots of popular social posts with stakeholders.
5. Hashtag Will Always be Searchable
When you are preparing for your next event search the hashtag for the previous year’s engagement to get a sense of what people are talking about now. Use your event hashtag as a resource to entice new sponsorships or show your board why the event matters. Whatever the case may be your event hashtag will live on forever and will be a source of information. Don’t forget to use the hashtag long after the event is over to share relevant content.
As social media continues to flourish it is important to continually be where your audience is and that includes events. Use an event as an opportunity to continue your brand’s conversation outside of the typical 9-5 schedule.