Your attendees are your event’s best marketers. But despite your best efforts, it can be difficult to get attendees posting in the heat of the moment — and even harder to get them to tag your event if they do.

Luckily, there’s an easy investment you can make to encourage attendees to share their experience online: a social media wall for your event. Here’s all you need to know to get started with social media walls for events.

What is a social media or Twitter wall?

A social media wall is one or multiple screens at your event that display posts and photos that are tagged with your event’s hashtag on social networks like Twitter. Most social media walls display new posts in real time, but if you’re concerned about any tweet getting on the big screen, you can moderate which posts are shown or highlight your favorite tweets.

Events usually use social media walls on screens behind or to the sides of the stage, in the lobby as guests enter, or around the venue itself. They’re a great way to display questions for speakers and reactions or highlights from the event in real-time. Plus, they encourage attendees to post so that everyone who’s not at the event knows what they’re missing.

How to properly showcase a social media wall at your event

Attendees love to see themselves on the big screen, and a social media wall is great encouragement to post in real-time. (That’s good news for you, since the more people who are posting your event at once, the better your shot at trending.)

The only catch? The social media wall will only display posts and pictures tagged with your event’s hashtag — which less than half of attendees usually remember to use when posting at an event.

That means your number one priority should be to have very visible and fun signage around the event that includes your branded hashtag (and ideally your social media handles too). First of all, the hashtag should be catchy and prominent throughout the event. It’s a reminder for attendees to post, and to include your brand if they were already planning on using social media.

You likely already have a team member or volunteer at the event updating your official feed, so ensure they use your event’s hashtag in every single post as well. This is also a great way for sponsors to get more facetime with attendees, so be sure to encourage them to use your hashtag as well.

Which social media wall platform is right for you?

There is a huge range of platforms to will help you collect and display tweets about your event in real time. Some platforms are free and some cost money. Keep in mind that each platform has a different visual display style for posts. And the more professional the platform, the more likely you will be able to pull posts from multiple social networks, and see engagement analytics after the event.

Here are some of the most popular social media wall vendors:

  • Hootfeed by Hootsuite: If you already use Hootsuite to manage your social media, it likely makes sense to use their social media wall product, Hootfeed. This displays tweets in real time, and also lets you capture audience questions over Twitter.
  • Everwall: One of the first social media walls, Everwall (formerly Tweetwall) gets posts on displays less than a second after they’re posted. They also have extensive moderation and advertising options.
  • Tagboard: Tagboard is a great tool to use before your event as well, since it helps you collect all social posts about your event.
  • Sprinklr (formerly Postano): One of the most popular social media wall suppliers, Postano lets you aggregate, moderate, and analyze engagement with posts.
  • Tint: More than just a social media wall, Tint also lets you aggregate social media posts for display not just at the event, but also on your website or in online ads.
  • Eventifier: This social media wall collects content from all the top social networks, and makes it easy to use that content for reuse after the event.

To figure out which platform is best for you, experiment on their websites. Try entering the hashtag of a different event happening while you’re doing research, and see if the results look like what you’re imagining.

Also, don’t rule out alternatives to a social media wall like Instagram photo booths. These are another great way to get attendees posting at the event, on Instagram specifically. You can either have a physical photobooth that uploads photos directly to attendees’ Instagrams (complete with your branding in the caption, of course), or have a Polaroid-style printer that prints all shots uploaded to Instagram with your hashtag. Both will delight attendees and get your brand far and wide online.

No matter which platform you choose, social media walls are just one aspect of a full social media event marketing strategy. Promote your event like a pro with our free guide, 9 Simple Steps to Master Social Media for Events.