The Intersection of Events and Social: Grab the Attention of Your Guests

grab the attention of attendees

Social media is one of the reasons why 25% of all marketing budgets are now dedicated to events.

Incorporating a social media strategy and creating key social moments have become an integral part of the planning process.

In their #ElevateNYC workshop, “The Intersection of Events and Social: Grab the Attention of Your Guests” BizBash C.E.O. and founder, David Adler, along with Mallorie Rosenbluth from Likeable Media, Jeff Ramos from MKG and Andre Stevens from We Came In Peace shared their top tips for what gets the attention of guests, and how that influences social media sharing.

Mallorie Rosenbluth @LikeableMedia

Split your event into three stages, Pre-Event, At-Event and Post-Event, then target your social activities at each stage.

Pre-event: To start getting early engagement before your event, even months before it, you can start by crowd-sourcing content ideas like SXSW do.  As well as coming up with topic ideas, you can also do a call out to new speakers, those without big social followings or an established track record.  If can be risk, but there’s also a huge upside for finding talented new speakers who can bring a fresh perspective to your event.

Once you have your speakers confirmed, then work with them to spread the buzz.  Provide them with pre-written tweets so its less effort on their part; and let them give something back to their networks with special discount codes too.

There’s also a role for special giveaways such as VIP passes, so long as it’s done in moderation.

At-event: The cardinal rule for social media at events is to promote only one hashtag (and make absolutely sure it’s unique and not been used before).  With that hastag in place, and displayed prominently everywhere, repeated again and again, you can use it as the main hook for engagement.

Frequent incentives work well, when relevant to the brand tweeting, so for example Logitech won a lot of attention and engagement at CES 2013, despite having no new products launching there, by creating an hourly competition with the hashtag #lookforlogitech, where delegates were invited to find examples of Logitech products in use around the event, and tweet them in for prizes.

It’s also important to set goals at events when it comes to social interactions, so these may be number of shares, new followers, likes or to get a trending hashtag – whatever the goal, it gives you something to aim for and helps you judge the success of your social media strategy at an event.

Post-event:  Key to social media engagement after an event is simply continuing the conversation, using the same hashtag.  There’s loads of ways you can do this, from favoriting things and retweeting them, to creating lists out of the most responsive / engaged twitter accounts, to collecting and sharing user generated content for future marketing collateral which hopefully creates a ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO)!

Jeff Ramos @thisismkg

When we create events we think about three key areas:

  • What’s the event lifecycle
  • How to build engagement for those there & those who aren’t
  • Connect social and In Real Life (IRL) interactions

Similar to Mallorie, an event’s lifecycle is typically broken to to before, during & after the event.

Before the event – The key to creating pre-event buzz is giving fans a reason to care and be involved.  Make sure you’re offering an authentic exchange, where they’re passionate about what you’re talking about and vice-versa.  With a genuine exchange going on, the buzz will build its own momentum.

During the event – The key is to listen, engage and make connections when you’re at the event.  It also helps to show there’s already social momentum, and it doesn’t feel like an ‘empty room’ online, so for example you might want to pre-populate a Twitter wall with the content from a hashtag campaign that’s been running before the live event took place.

After the event – It’s important to collect, share and remix content & experiences, but also to do it in a unique and authentic way.  Give your take on the event, let your brand’s personality shine through, and people will respond much more positively.

When it comes to keeping excitement and relevant for those who aren’t there, as well as those who are, it’s a great idea to keep sharing visual aspects of the show and real experiences people are having.

Then, when it comes to connecting the online social and IRL interactions, it’s really important to let people actually represent your brand at an event, not just tweet from a corner.  Show people there’s a face behind the handle.  Ultimately great community managers are great at connecting the dots and meeting people.

Andrew Stevens @WeCameInPeace

Taking a slightly different tack to the other speakers, Andrew explains how We Came In Peace create conversation pieces.  They’re masters of coming up with concepts and creating content pieces that actually spark the social engagement many brands and events are looking for.

First comes the big idea, the show-stopper, the centerpiece, and then people are inspired to share.  This is what they call ‘Dialogue by design’ and if done well, it can easily keep people talking long after the event has ended.

To see a few examples of them the way they reimagine the ordinary to spark of social interactions online click through the presentation (conversation starters begin at slide #26)

We hope you’re as suitably inspired as we are!  If so, keep the conversation going with hashtag #ElevateNYC and let us know your challenges or experiences with the intersection of social and events.