There’s a whole new element in the world of event planning, and if you’re not using it effectively you’re falling behind.
Social media is an integral part of corporate event success. You can use social media to enhance the experience for event attendees, handle PR problems that may arise and boost attendance.
Here are some essential strategies for using social media at your next corporate event – big or small:
Create and Promote an Official Hashtag
People are going to be talking about your event on Twitter – so why not make sure they’re doing it all in the same place? Having an official hashtag (#) for the event can bring everyone together in a virtual environment. They can share information with their followers, find other event attendees on Twitter to meet, ask questions live during presentations and spread your presentation content to others.
Claim and promote your hashtag well in advance. Select something that is short, memorable and won’t take up too many characters on Twitter. You can use it on the official sign up website for your event, your paper invitations, your event reminders and other social sites. You can even run contests on services like Rafflecopter to entice people to tweet their signup or attendance to your event (inserting your hastag) – in return they are entered to win event swag or larger prizes. This will help build up buzz and can encourage people to attend that may have been on the fence.
Use a service like TWUBS to easily register and monitor the chatter on the chosen hashtag.
Go Beyond Twitter
Twitter gets a lot of attention in event planning due to the hashtag feature, but there are several other social media channels where you can promote your corporate event. LinkedIN and Facebook are the other two big names that come to mind, but even Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr can offer promotional and buzz building opportunities.
No matter which platforms you choose, make sure to tailor your message and approach to each channel. For example, on Pinterest, you can create a board of fun things to do and see in the area where the event is being held. You can use your hashtag on this platform as well as hosting all the information and pictures on your events blog so the click-through from Pinterest comes to more branding of your event, while providing fun information.
Invite Attendees Directly Through Social Media
In addition to promoting the event to your followers and friends on social media, you can actually create events through social media channels to give a central location for conversations and event details.
Facebook and Google+ both offer event scheduling capabilities that can help you centralize your promotion efforts. With Google+, your event will automatically be added invitees Google Calendars. All three platforms let you send event reminders, post updates on the event and reach out to the community at large.
Create Conversation on Twitter During the Event
If you’ve got a speaker or series of workshops at your corporate event, social media can be a terrific tool to get everyone engaged. You can allow attendees to ask the speakers questions live during the event. Assign a team member to curate the questions and deliver the best ones to the speaker. It will help your attendees feel like they’re a bigger part of the event and it’s a relatively easy service to offer.
Assign Someone to Monitor Social Media During the Event
The day of the live event is where social media and event planning can really come together. Being responsive on social media shows that your company cares and can create a great experience for all of your attendees. One of your event planning team members should be in charge of monitoring the hashtag, responding to requests and putting out any fires that may come up.
In addition to the official hashtag and monitoring large social sites, your team member should also search common keywords related to your event and your company name to catch any attendees who may not use the hashtag. Google Alerts/Google Reader is also a good, free way to monitor Google chatter.
No matter what an event attendee may be saying, you and your team need to be responsive and answer questions. You may encounter nothing more than some general requests or basic feedback, but it’s important to keep your eye on the conversation nonetheless.
Adding social media to your event promotion and customer service mix will help you take your corporate event to the next level. Use these tips to bring your live event into the virtual world and make deeper connections with attendees.