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How to hack Social Media in the events industry

Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

Social Media

Some of us love it and some of us hate it, but like it or not we live in a world where social media is well and truly here to stay. ! Can’t beat them? Join them!

Social media is among the most influential tool of communication when it comes to online marketing. With this in mind, it can act as the perfect platform to promote your event or presence at other business events and really help boost sales. Just don’t forget to be best friends with your digital data collection and analysis. Plus, who doesn’t love a high ROI!? So, read on to find out our top 10 tips and tricks on how to harness the power of social  media for your next event.

  1. Choose the right Social Media Platform

    With so many options to choose from, selecting the correct platform or combination of platforms that is right for your target audience, can be difficult. But with the necessity of social media as your motivation and our know-how, you’ll be tapping into the right network in no time.

    When choosing the correct platform you have to think about two things: who is attending your event and what type of social media  are they using and how are they using it?

    So, lets take a look at the different social media platforms that are available and what they are best at.

    Facebook – When it comes to the number of overall users, Facebook is King. With 2billion people logging in every month, it would seem that it would be the perfect place to let the world know what you were up to and how they could get involved. However, a few things need to be considered first. Facebook works using a (LATER) which means you need to be friends with people first before they are able to see your posts. However, paid advertising on Facebook is probably one of the best offered by any of the social media platforms. You are able to target users based on current location, age, gender, interests, connections, relationship status, languages, education and workplaces. Impressive, eh? However, it’s not for every business. People use Facebook to connect with their friends, not to buy products. So, if you are going to use paid advertising, make sure that you use a link which will captivate the Facebook user. Once you have their attention you can give them more in-depth details of your event and detail any potential costs, at a later date.

    LinkedIn – The purpose of LinkedIn is for business to business marketing and making personal business connections. LinkedIn offers  a variety of different ways you can promote events, such as getting into the inbox of every person that comes under your audience description. By sending information directly to an individuals inbox, it hikes up the likelihood of that individual seeing the information, making for one very effective information distributor. For businesses that are keen to attract the attention of professional audiences, LinkedIn is probably one of the best social media platforms. Providing that those you wish to contact are on LinkedIn, of course. It’s also worth bearing in mind that reaching out to individuals via your own account on LinkedIn, as opposed to the overarching business account has the best success rate overall.  

    Twitter – The demographic for Twitter users, in regards to personal or business users, is a blend between Facebook and Twitter. Many businesses and professionals have profiles which they use to create relationships and promote their services, as well as those using Twitter for personal use. Twitter has a limit of 240 characters, so it is very good for short bursts of information. You can upload gifs, images and links into your tweet too, to catch the eye of users and to give them useful calls to action. You can have public and private conversations, as well as sending tweets directly to users, so building positive relationships with current/potential clients and event attendees is made easy. The use of the hashtag is the most effective on twitter as opposed to the other social media platforms, enabling you to tag onto current trending hashtags, or, with enough momentum, you can start a trend of your own. Using a hashtag for an event is brilliant to keep your attendees and clients abreast of what is happening in the run up to your event and as event is happening.

    Instagram – Instagram is the image led social media platform and its popularity is on the rise. It is more commonly used for personal use; however it can be a great platform to showcase events, especially any aesthetically pleasing stands, drinks receptions or exciting celebrity attendees. Hashtags are a great way of attracting attention and to get your images noticed by a wider audience other than just those who follow your account.

    Snapchat – Probably one of the most difficult platforms to create connections due to the need to know people’s user name. However, Snapchat has proven very effective whilst at an event as you can upload videos and images to the 24hr snapchat story tool, allowing your followers to see what you are getting up to whilst at the show. Snapchat is perhaps most well-known for its filters and it is possible to get your own personal snapchat filter on to the app at a cost, so that people attending your show can use it and spread the word to their friends.

    Pinterest - Pinterest is image heavy and often used by people for inspiration, so if you are marketing you event by showcasing your style then Pinterest is for you.  It is has predominantly been utilised for the leisure market, as opposed to building business relationships, however Pinterest  has started its own business advertisement option. With a keen and receptive audience, it is one of the most effective platforms for advertising products.

  2. Use images and videos

    Hopefully it’s now clear as to why it is important to be noticed and engage with users on social media. With this in mind, it’s important to try and capture as many as your target audience as possible and ensure that  people don’t just scroll past your posts. One of the best ways to do this is using  the type of terminology that which will immediately catch  your audiences’ attention, such as ‘You are invited’, ‘Exclusive Invitation’, ‘Prize Draw’ and ‘Inspirational Speaker’. This creates a pre-event hype, which will interest users, developing a buzz around your event that they will ultimately  share with friends, growing your audience organically and developing the buzz further.

    The use of images, videos and gif’s are one of the easiest and most powerful ways of grabbing peoples attention. The media you use must be relevant, so include images of past events, your invitation, prizes that can be won on a prize draw.  Good ideas of videos can be short, exciting or informative clips of past events, sponsors or celebrity engagements talking about your event, or even showing your audience what’s going on behind the scenes.

  3. Include humour

    Be sure to use humour! Social media users look through their timeline and will see no end of serious posts, so use a little bit of light hearted humour to engage with your audience and stand out. They may even share your post if it tickles them, spreading the word and also associating your event with entertainment value, meaning they are much more likely to remember it and to sign-in up. Make sure you keep in line with your brand when using humour, but feel free to experiment a little!

  4. Grow your audience with advertisement

    Almost every social media channel has the option to advertise your posts or profile and it has been proven that targeted advertising on social media is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to reach your ideal audience.

    Different social media networks have different advertisement options; however all have the same aim. It is down to you to make your advertisement a success, so be sure to filter down your target audience to ensure you aren’t over spending and you are only reaching those who would make your event a success. Also make sure you include information of your event on the advertisement and don’t forget the registration link… how else will they know where to sign up?

    Once your advertisement is over make sure to always use the analytics tool to ensure it was successful, this will then help with future events and promotions and hone your future paid advertising campaigns.

  5. Share on more than one platform

    Don’t just promote your event on your favourite platform or the one which works best for you, promote it on all social media platforms this in turn gives you a much higher audience reach, as it only takes one person to like or retweet and you could have a post that has just gone viral! But referring back to point one, make sure you invest the most time and money on the one which works best for your company.

  6. Create a catchy hashtag

    Hashtags are used on pretty much every social media channel now, so be sure to create a catchy one for your event which attendees and exhibitors can use in the run up and during the event. Hashtags are a great way to get everyone interested in the event involved and to spread the message further afield, capturing potential clients.  . Before creating the hashtag you must check no one else is using it as you don’t want your message to be diluted with another company’s brand. Also… make sure you don’t misspell it and keep it short!

  7. Be active!

    Social media does not stop, even when you do and one of the most important rules of a successful social media account is to be active! Do not post here and there or only in the run up to your event, you need to be posting almost every day. Activity equals followers and friends as the more active you are, the more people will like, tweet and retweet posts, leading to consistent followers and a larger reach. Make sure you are also interactive with your followers. Start conversations with them, like and comment on posts, retweet posts that are relevant to your offering and always respond to messages, like your life depends on it!

  8. Competition time

    There is nothing that encourages people to get on social media more than a good competition!
    Prior to the show, make sure you let people know via social media what great prizes you have up for grabs. Share pictures of what they can win, whilst making them aware that the way to win is to register for and attend your up and coming event. Once at the event, take a photo of yourself at a specific point at the venue, post it to your specified social media network, using hashtags and, if possible, tagging the venue/event organisers. Then, out of all of the people who have attended, announce the winner! This will increase your event sign up and will also give your event free marketing on the day from those who are getting involved in the competition.
    Tip – make sure you have a worthy prize and you announce the winner on social media so people see the credibility in your competition.

  9. Get tagging

    Once you have composed your post, , be sure to tag relevant people, such as businesses exhibiting at your event, appropriate magazines, colleagues etc. This way they will get a notification that you have tagged them in a post and they are more likely to re-tweet, re-post or share your post. This extra retweet will maximise your audience reach for free!

  10. Be careful!

    When posting on social media, a lot of networks do not let you edit a post, so once it is gone there is no way to change or edit the post. It isn’t a complete disaster though – it is possible to delete it and start again, but it all depends on how quickly you notice the error, as to how many people have seen it. So, to avoid any embarrassing slip-ups, be sure to check your post and check it again.

    To keep your number of followers in tip top condition, keep up to date with what your followers want to see, ensuring that your posts are relevant, engaging, informative and/or attractive!