How to Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Event

June 27, 2019

Amy Kelley

Amy Kelley is the Global Digital Content Marketing Editor at GES. With a strong background in content marketing, social media and communications, she is a passionate writer and self-confessed word geek. Amy is also the founder of a non-profit and a health and wellness online community.

If you want to have a successful event, you must include a social media campaign. Start with a focused strategy that targets who you want to come to your event, who is actually going to your event, and who wishes they came and will attend next time. One thing you can be certain of – everyone has a phone.

Make sure they are all talking about your event. Get started by breaking down your social media event strategy into three parts: before, during and after.

Before the event

Build anticipation to get everyone excited about your event. Tease them with sneak peeks. Hold “reveals” for key speakers or special attendees, panels or guests. Create a calendar for teasers and reveals - each one progressively getting bigger and more unforgettable as the event date approaches.

You want the public to engage early with the event by sharing the next cool image, video or event update. This is a great way to get your potential attendees to boost the reach of your posts, and it’s also a way to get more of their friends and followers informed and excited in advance.

During the event

Once you’ve created strong anticipation for your event on social media, keep the momentum going when the big day arrives. A successful social media campaign includes a strategy and some pre-planned live event tie-ins.

Consider a live Q & A on social media with some vendors, special guests or speakers.Tie this online experience into a live panel of events or educational sessions. Take questions from social media for the speaker to answer live. And of course, make sure the moderator reviews the questions on social media to ask the speaker on behalf of the audience.

Use social media to drive attendees to special affairs, secret giveaways or product demos throughout the day. Run a hashtag contest with some vendors on their social media in conjunction with yours. This gives you the opportunity to increase brand/event awareness for you both and extend the reach of the event’s influence and engagement.

A live event is a great place to discover and share user-generated content. Share content widely and often throughout the day. Showcase real-time sentiment and highlight positive and engaging attendee experiences. This adds real social value to attendees at the event and to fans/followers that are following along elsewhere.

Make sure you are monitoring the conversations about your event. If someone tags the brand, a vendor, a speaker or the venue, be ready to engage, answer questions or assist with critiques or questions. You won’t be able to interact with every attendee in person but on social media you can virtually engage with everyone.

After the event

The event might be over but don’t let the social buzz end. Now is the time to take advantage of the audience engagment and recap all the great moments that people may have missed during their busy day(s). Thank your special guests or speakers, and share some of their best moments. 

Always tag or @mention them in your posts so they will have the opportunity to share your posts and extend the reach of your social media campaign.

When planning your social media strategy for your next event, remember the three key parts of the plan: before, during and after. And after you’ve done all the work to prepare, just phone it in.


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