Social media and event marketing are like macaroni and cheese – they are absolutely fantastic together. And no matter how you choose to create it, social media is all about connections! Whether you are a corporation, small business, or not-for-profit, one sure-fire way to bring your brand into the light and generate some buzz is through using social media during an event.
Regardless of whether you are hosting, sponsoring, or attending as a guest, your real-time social media strategy should take a multi-pronged approach to address the four different audiences you’ll want to engage: new potential customers, opportunities in your sales pipeline, current customers, and business partners.
Here are the keys to ensuring your brand stands out and gets results at your next event:
- Event hashtags – if it’s your event, create an easy to use, well thought-out tag. If you are sponsoring or visiting at an event, be sure to familiarize yourself with theirs to ensure you are on the same engagement stream.
- Hype the event on your website – make sure people know you are hosting/going to be there before it happens. Create excitement for the event and your brand audience.
- Take pictures – Share behind-the-scenes visuals, use fun apps like boomerang and make me a GIF to create eye-catching content in a snap.
- Record video – this includes a testimonial from people who love your brand, as well as fun, simple interviews (why are you here? What’s your connection? What’s your favourite part?). And choose a moment or two to live stream some of the action: capture the potential instant audience who is online while you’re at the event. With a decent-sized following, you can really drive engagement. (pro tip: hold your phone sideways to capture video. Much easier to watch and also makes it editable for any bigger projects later on.)
- Content! Content! Content!
- Venue and surrounding area
- Closest place to “get a good coffee”, “where to stay”, “where to play”
- Event signage and goodie bags
- Pre-schedule some posts (events are busy and unless you have a dedicated member on your team, it’s best to have a few ready to go), but remember: the best engagement happens in real-time.
Bonus: After the event is all wrapped up, be sure to do two more things:
- Follow-up – Remember all those cards you were handed, and emails people sent to you while you were at the event? Be sure to connect to all the new friends you made today.
- Write a post-event blog – people want to know what your brand is up to, so let them know (and cross-promote any other businesses you’d like to support). You will discover this is a fun way to inform and entertain your audience.
All that said, in business and life it’s great to find a way to be of service — and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Events really do have the potential to be some of the best content generating moments for any brand/company. So, even if you are not hosting but are cutting a cheque, why stop there?
Consider the idea of using an event as a corporate retreat: bring your employees out for a great time. After all, when it’s a great event that supports a worthy cause, participants feel good about themselves. And what better time to engage with them and with your team!