How to maximise the social media value of your event

Melanie Bowman, Account Director, Communications, Ovato

Organising an event is a great way to showcase your business, products and services, and offers the chance to engage your target audience in a meaningful and personal way.

Making sure the event is successful in terms of engaging, informing and entertaining guests is critical to attracting the right kind of attention on social media. Getting the venue right, nailing the entertainment and serving delicious food and drink are all part and parcel of running a great event and ensuring the people attending leave raving about it.

But running the event itself is only part of the puzzle. Even if your guests have the best night of their lives, you want the word to get out, do the rounds and make an impact beyond the event. You want people talking about your brand before, during and afterwards.

Here’s what you should be doing to get the maximum social media value out of your events.

Before: Content plans, social media and hashtags, oh my!

Firstly, establish if an event is the right tactic for your objectives. Do you have a new product to showcase? Is your goal to build better relationships with existing customers, or are you hoping to woo new ones?

Once you’ve developed the strategy, you’ll want to create a content plan detailing what you want to say before, during and after the event. This will allow you to coordinate what you’re saying on each platform to get a consistent message out to your audience and build awareness of the event.

As part of the content plan, decide which social media platforms are most relevant to your audience, so you can tailor the content to the right platform. Don’t forget to create a hashtag for your event, so that people who can’t attend can come along for the ride, while attendees can track updates and share their own experiences on the day. The use of a hashtag can also lead to your event trending on social media.

Finally, having a media/influencer strategy in place will ensure the contacts you invite and work with are properly aligned with the message and the audience for your event. If you have the right people for the right product, you’re likely to get the right result.

During: Post, post, post!

The big day is here, and your event is in full swing. People are enjoying themselves, and the good times are rolling! But there’s still plenty to do.

Keep getting your message out on your chosen platforms. Fresh content posted regularly - be it video, photos or text - will let people check in on what’s happening and extends the reach of your event beyond the four walls of the conference centre or bar. Remember, tailor the content to the platform you’re using. Consider taking advantage of more spontaneous channels like Instagram and Facebook Stories to create a narrative from the highlights throughout the entire event.

You shouldn’t just be posting on your own, however. Encourage your attendees to post photos and updates about what they’re seeing and doing using your hashtag – displayed at the event on signage so they know what hashtag to use on what social media channel - and give journalists and influencers hands on time with products or exclusive interviews with experts, speakers and VIPs. Of course, it’s important to do something that’s share-worthy. This is where gifts, new product reveals, competitions, or a unique photo opportunity can drive interest from your audience, both those at the event and those following your social channels.

After: Keep the good times rolling

After the last guest leaves and the clean-up is complete, congratulate yourself on an event well done!

The first thing you should do post-event is reach out to your guests, invited journalists and influencers. You’ll want to know what they thought of the event, and to find out what was (or wasn’t) interesting to them.

Retweeting and sharing posts and content from the event in the aftermath is also a great way to keep the conversation going. Retrospective style “How awesome was …” or “What were you doing when …” posts and tweets can have real value as a way of engaging with your customers and showing that your brand is genuinely immersed in the conversation.

Work smart and reap the rewards

Whether your event is large or small, you can gain incredible reach and value by putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and making sure all content, experiences and interactions are tailored to them. When you understand what your customers, media contacts and influencers are looking for, you can generate buzz that will continue long after the event is over.

Reach out to see how Ovato can help you get the most social media value from your events.