Boost Social Media Engagement with Proven Tactics and Event Technologies

May 7, 2019

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.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.