Social Media

A New Look at Social Media for Event Marketers

by Abbi Boose

We all know social platforms are a critical part of the marketing mix, but are you leveraging them to their fullest capabilities? Social platforms are rapidly evolving to remain relevant and they’ve added several new features. Here’s what you need to know about the big four and how to integrate them into your social media mix.

Facebook

The most underutilized new feature for event marketers is Facebook Live, which allows you to create a quality livestream experience for viewers—right from your phone.

Video is the preferred method of media by consumers and, as such, Facebook prioritizes video over other content on its platform. Adding Facebook Live to your social strategy can help expand the reach of your content, boost awareness and increase engagement. Consider creating pre-show teasers, interviewing executives or conducting on-site product reviews and highlights. This same priority is also given to Facebook Events. Events posted by brands and individuals alike receive support to improve reach by way of event suggestions or social shares when a Facebook friend selects “going” or “interested” in an event post. Facebook events are free to post and can be boosted to expand reach.

Instagram

Instagram is all about visual storytelling–cultivating a spirit of awe and love of the industry. If you’re a food show, share beautifully prepared dishes; if you’re an event in unmanned systems, share drone photography. By following your event stakeholders, you can look for potential content to share and engage them by tagging their handle in the photo credits. Instagram is a heavily hashtag-driven platform. Identifying the most appropriate hashtags and “hashtag loading” posts will ensure that your photos are discovered organically. To leverage the popularity of video, the Instagram Live feature can be utilized on-site to create buzz and “FOMO” (fear of missing out) among folks not in attendance. In the lead up to shows, it can be used to tease new content, hide promo codes, etc.

Twitter

Two important objectives for your Twitter account are PR and ROI. The public relations element allows your event or association to appropriately control the image it puts forth online. Return on investment (ROI) from organic social media activity comes in the form of conversion to some off-property goal—whether it’s event registration, blog consumption, website visitors, membership sign-up, magazine subscriptions, etc. While Twitter still adheres to strict character limits in tweets, photos and videos no longer impact tweet length as they once did and are highly encouraged. Develop strategic posting calendars, schedules and content mixes, such as live-tweeting of sessions, tagging key stakeholders and sharing breaking news. And post often: It‘s been said that the half-life of a tweet is 16 minutes.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn groups are typically organized around a profession, industry or topic, making them prime targets for B2B communications. While the platform is social in nature, conversations that take place on LinkedIn are strictly professional. The ultimate aim of the LinkedIn group is to create an exclusive environment where professionals can gain knowledge and share ideas. Event marketers should approach this platform using a value-first strategy—sharing insights, teasing content, responding to questions and soliciting feedback. Adding more value than you attempt to extract is important on LinkedIn and will prime group members for later cultivation to registrations, membership or purchases.

BONUS TIP:

It’s important to begin a social media campaign with a strategy that considers the purpose of all channels and how they will work together to reach and engage desired audiences to tell an event’s story and ultimately increase attendance and loyalty.

Remember why people go to their social media apps: to check in with their friends and family and to be social. Nobody logs into Facebook hoping to see a ton of ads.

Social media marketing is most effective when it is engaging and non-interruptive. Add to the social media experience; don’t distract from it.