In 2012, we saw Google, the dominant search engine; make some radical changes to its indexing and ranking policies. The focus has shifted, once and for all, from quantity to quality. What event marketers say about a given brand has become less important than how consumers respond to that brand’s presence online. This emphasis on target audience driven social engagement will further strengthen in 2013.
How often users share your content on social media sites, comment on it, review it and return to it will carry more weight than it has ever before. The number of times a link is tweeted or posted on Facebook, the number of people who like or follow your organization, or the number of people in your Google+ circle, these and similar parameters will become critical to the ranking and visibility of your online content. To succeed in this changed environment, event managers will need to research their audiences’ digital and social media behavior, and then engage them in spaces where they spend most of their time.
Here are some practical tips for aligning your content with your audiences’ expectations in 2013.
Tie content to entertainment and reward.
Entertainment content helps excite fans and followers, and keeps them motivated to check-in regularly. Build social games, surveys and interactive contests to engage your audience. Reward participants for playing and endorsing your content. Organizations like Coca Cola, Starbucks and Disney are popular on Facebook because they incentivize people to interact with their bands through promotional offers, viral storytelling and open engagement.
Customize content for shorter attention spans.
In a study conducted in 2009, Google found that slowing search results by just 4/10ths of a second would reduce the number of searches by eight million a day! As more and more online content competes for our attention, customizing content for shorter attention spans and smaller screens will be the key to a successful e-marketing strategy. Chunk copy and edit ruthlessly to drop the non-essential details and make skimming easier. Use storytelling as a content marketing device to make your content relevant to the reader. Add short videos, slideshows, charts, infographics and pictures to add depth and interest to the content.
Make your content SoLoMo – Social, Local and Mobile.
Tune into breaking news and issues that are close to your followers’ hearts and tie in your story with these. Reward event participants for downloading and using the official mobile app for your event. Enable your exhibitors to connect with attendees by sharing their content, brands and press releases on your online assets. Enable attendees to personalize content based on their location and preferences. Implement marketing automation techniques to analyze user behavior and implement highly targeted, context-rich marketing campaigns accordingly.
Curate content from partners, industry leaders and loyal customers.
Follow key organizations and social media influencers in your industry, and work with them to curate content of interest to your event participants. Reach out to thought leaders in your space to endorse your event, survey results, research studies and user generated content in their blog posts. Encourage regular event participants to respond to online surveys, ask questions, and share your content with their friends on social media sites.
Publish content in multiple places.
Create content once, and post it in multiple places, that’s the new mantra. Utilize tools that facilitate the creation of highly adaptable modular content, that can be tweaked and posted in different places automatically, or with very little effort.