Building and Keeping A Social Media Audience
Consistent engagement and interaction with your event’s target audience is critical during all stages of your event marketing strategy. In this three-part series, we will cover ways to leverage social media that generate interest and excitement before, during and after your event.
CAN YOU HEAR IT? You can build it.
Social media is a great channel to create pre-event buzz. It enables you to actively prompt discussions by asking questions, crowdsourcing thoughts and ideas, and sharing details about the event to really create a meaningful connection with your audience that drives attendance. Here are some factors to consider prior to your event when leveraging social media, and tactics to drive conversation that will fill seats at your upcoming event.
HASHTAG IT. WE MEAN #HASHTAGIT
The right hashtag (using the # in front of a word or phrase) is crucial for driving online conversations about your event. This is how your the event audience searches for and stays connected with your channels before, during and after the event. Consider these guidelines:
Make It Short: With only 140 characters to play with in your tweet copy, you will want to keep your event hashtag short to allow space for your messaging. Using initials and numbers is a proven method generate a solid hashtag that people will use, as well as making it memorable. While keeping it close to the brand is not always necessary, for events tying your hashtag to your brand will make it easily recognizable for those interested in attending.
Make It Different, But Make It Relevant: Make sure to research that your hashtag is not already in use with a high volume of impressions or mentions. You want to be careful to not mix with another brand or person’s conversation that could potentially confuse your audience. And you obviously want to ensure that it has obvious ties to your event.
Make It Visible: Announce your hashtag officially to your audience through every appropriate means. Don’t assume that your audience will find it or know it already. Place the hashtag on your event website, social media profiles, collateral, email signatures and anywhere else. And most importantly; start tagging your tweets with it frequently so that it stays top of mind and encourages your audience to use it.
LISTEN, LEARN & USE IT
Now that you have a hashtag, you can start listening to the conversation. Social listening should be a key piece of your overall strategy that will help you identify trends, understand your audience’s likes and dislikes, and ultimately position your event for success. Creating a community around your event starts with listening and participating in the discussion. By listening, you will understand the expectations of your audience more clearly and be able to implement actionable changes that could drive high overall attendance.
Everyone has an opinion, embrace that. Involving your community in decision making for the event is a proven way to drive engagement. You can ask your audience a variety of questions, such as:
- • their topics of interest
- • who they’d like to hear as a keynote
- • industry-related questions that can help steer presentations
- • favorite speakers
- • locations and venues
- • types of sessions, e.g. panels, forums, workshops, breakouts
Aside from event content, use social media to poll your audience about fun things like on-site food, entertainment, games and other ideas that will really boost and complete the overall experience of your event. This gives your followers even more to talk about and to share about.
GET THEM TOGETHER
People attend events for information, but also to meet new people. Encourage your audience to connect with each other. Engage with and introduce your influencers and thought leaders to your audience and encourage people to connect with them. Twitter chats (fantastic insight from the Social Media Examiner here) are a great way to facilitate these interactions. You already know that in following you there is a shared passion among your audience. Encouraging them to network and connect prior will boost your buzz and event attendance.
Creating buzz and spreading the word about your event can be challenging. While social media gives brands the opportunity to find their audience, getting and keeping their attention leading up to the event lies in really creating value for followers. Diversify your mix of content and actively participate in the conversation to create buzz that drives attendance.
If you have questions on how to take your event to the next level leveraging the power of social media, we would love to chat with you!Let's Chat
And of course, follow us on twitter! #obviously (An example of how not to use a hashtag.)Wilson Advertising Twitter