Mary Caldiero is the Digital Marketing Manager of SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals. She is responsible for leading the company’s digital marketing strategy, including social media, content, email, search engine marketing and optimization strategies.
Boost Social Media Engagement with Proven Tactics and Event Technologies
For conference organizers and exhibitors alike, an event is a great opportunity to drive more engagement through social media channels and capture more followers. In fact, industry surveys demonstrate that event planners are actively using social media to engage their attendees.
A recent survey conducted by EventMB found that 89.3% of event planners use social media for pre-event engagement, 49.4% for engaging attendees during the event, and 37.7% for capturing feedback. Planners reported being active on Facebook (88.1%), LinkedIn (80.1%), Twitter (60.4%) and Instagram (58.4%), with some also reporting lower activity on Pinterest, Google+ and Snapchat.
While posting and streaming from the exposition floor is useful, the real key to boosting social media engagement at an event is deploying strategic tactics in combination with today’s leading-edge event technologies. Here’s how.
Top Trade Show Tactics for Social Engagement
Create a cool hashtag associated with the event. Event planners can use the name of the event in their hashtag such as: #CelebrateAIAutomation2019, #Good4UOrganicFoodExpo2019, or #BankonItFinancialLeadersSummit. Use before, during and even after the event in follow-up posts.
Actively engage your followers…especially the “influencers.” Be aware of the followers who are actively posting about the event on your channels and keep them engaged with “Likes,” comments to and shares of their posts. It is also a good idea to delegate some team members to serve as influencers, charged with posting high-engagement content such as powerful graphic images, provocative statements followed by a question or a photo from the venue that captures a particularly humane moment (perhaps someone helping an event attendee with a disability, an exhibitor greeting a past colleague with a bear hug, a crowded food court, etc.).
Keep blogging. Short posts are the staple of effective social media, but longer content such as blogs also have a role and can be valuable for conveying more detailed information, educating an audience, and/or sharing an opinion. Blogs should be created during the event and posted on appropriate social channels such as LinkedIn.
Surveys. Using polls to engage your current followers and build new followers is another effective way to boost conference-related engagement. Poll results can also be posted on social and/or be the subject of related tweets.
Event Technologies That Drive Social
Mobile Apps. In addition to streamlining registration processes, capturing leads, pushing out event notifications and directing event traffic to certain booths or areas of the exposition floor, mobile apps can be used to engage attendees on social. This can be achieved in various ways such as using a survey and then posting the results on social media; asking attendees to check your Facebook page for the winners of a booth raffle drawing, or providing an interactive map on the app and asking users to post about the exhibits or sessions they are going to attend.
Charging Stations. While attendees use an event charging station to charge their mobile devices, leverage the interactive aspects of this event technology and its capabilities for live feeds, streaming of breakout sessions, and/or conducting a poll. Encourage those waiting for their device to charge to post on your Facebook page about what they are viewing or their reply to your poll.
Digital Touch Screen Kiosks. These kiosks, which are now available in sleek, space-saving designs, have a built-in PC and 10-pt touch options with high definition displays that allow content to be delivered in a clear, impactful way. They are a great tool for gaining engagement on social channels.
Giant iTab/SmartPhone. Functioning just like a smartphone, only super-sized, this event technology is ideal for presenting videos, games and other digital content, as well as for driving social media engagement.
Social Media Interactive Video Walls. One of the most dynamic ways to boost social media engagement from a trade show/conference floor is to create a social media wall. Twitter Walls are especially popular and allow an event planner or exhibitor to display tweets on a video wall or large monitor. These Walls can be used to create an engaging experience along with capturing valuable market intelligence and can be customized to feature the tweets of popular tweeters, high profile individuals, high impact tweets and regular contributors, among others.
The back-end of a Twitter Wall features analytics that enable event planners and exhibitors to monitor their Twitter stream to delete potentially offensive tweets. The analytics also can be applied to gain real-time information and marketing insights drawn from the most popular re-tweeters, highest impact tweets, number of tweets per contributor, languages used, sources and other metrics.
In the EventMB survey, 50% of the event planners polled indicated investing in social media advertising for their events. Incorporating proven tactics, backed by leading-edge event technologies, enables event planners and exhibitors to increase engagement on their social media platforms and gain a higher return on their advertising investment.