From my experience of going to events and running events when done right social media can be a fantastic tool for events. Not only can it help you spread word about the event (and increase the numbers going to it as a result) but also create a buzz during the event itself that goes far beyond where it is being hosted. At the same time it is important for event organisers not to forget about after the event, depending on what kind of event it is you’re doing (especially if it’s a networking event) this can be the difference between success and failure. Using 3 examples I will show just how useful social media can be for an event. These three events are:
Fail to plan for an event, plan to fail
As with many things in business planning is crucial in order to harness social media in the right way. It is important to sit down as early as possible and go through:
- The goals of the event – Is it solely for network or is there a financial objective?
- Who are the key stakeholders – Getting the key stakeholders involved can be a great way to create a group of advocates who will interact with and spread word about the event.
- What social media tools to use – With there being so many social media channels it is important to select the right networks so that max use can be made of the time and resources that you have. The key is to find the networks that potential attendees are on.
After my experience of running events there is no such thing as getting ready for the event too early. Nothing is worse than starting too late and having to play catch up. By having an active presence on social media from weeks (or even months) out you can create a buzz and excitement around it. At the same time never follow the tactic of just sell, sell, sell. If you’re only pushing out this kind of content then people will get bored real quickly. You want to mix things up and most importantly create a personality for your event.
Startup Weekend – Innovation, new ideas and a community
While the goal for this event was attendees through the content it sent out it helped to create a more rounded image. This was an image of innovation and being involved in all things that had to do with the startup scene in Ireland. This in turn help to create a community feel to the event as key stake holders also interacted with the various accounts on social media.
Daytripper Waterford – Music + Fun + A Local Twist
Daytripper was a music festival held at the start of July in Waterford and for its social profiles while once again people going to the concerts was the key the social media campaign was more rounded.
It included key stakeholders from local businesses and groups to the acts playing at the event. This helped to create a group of key advocates to spread word locally, nationally and internationally. With it being a music festival they added a fun and easy going image to the campaign as well. Whether it was jokes about the weather or how Waterford you were the accounts to had some fun and humour.
— Daytripper Waterford (@daytripper_fest) June 8, 2015
Wasup – A combination of two sectors Startups + Tourism Wasup short for Wild Atlantic StartUp is a play on the Wild Atlantic Way that brings together some of Irelands leading entrepreneurs, innovators and investors. In the build it to its event held in Institute of Technology Tralee the key goal was once again the numbers of attendees. What was interesting about this campaign in comparision to StartUp Weekend was the Wild Atlantic Way twist. This helped to create a distinct and unique image that people recognised and interacted with. The content sent out was a nice combination of tourist content related to the Wild Atlantic Way and the Startup life. For me it is the buzz created by the combination of both types of content that stood out for this campaign. BlueChief Tips for Pre-Event:
- Decide on the image you want to put across from your profile text and images to the content you send out
- Develop a core group of advocates/stakeholders who will interact and spread the word about your event
- Dont just use a sell sell sell tactic, people will lose interest.
Now at this stage I will highlight a mistake that many event organisers make. Very often they assume that the social media end of the event is finished once the event starts. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
During the event social media IS vital
This is something I learned from events where there was hardly any social media activity and ones where the social media activity was very extensive. As far as Im concerned there is no such thing as using social media too much during the event. If you’re not constantly putting ontent out from the event then you’re not doing it right. StartUp Weekend – The hashtag war. StartUp Weekend had one of the benefits that several events were on nationwide at the same time and a hashtag war broke out between the different events. As a result the Twitter accounts of the event and the people who atteneded (many of whom we’re active on social media) went into overdrive. This Tweet below from yours truly showed just how extensively social media was used throughout the weekend. Honestly I was sick of the sight of my phone by Monday.
DayTripper Fest Live Music = Social Media Gold
With music festivals the biggest benefit you don’t have to go out and find content for social media, the content will come to you. From recording bands getting ready to perform to the different stalls in the area you can start sending out content (and creating an online buzz) even before the first act is one stage. People love taking pictures and videos at concerts and very often these will be posted up online. Not only did Daytripper have a lot of content sent to them by people at the concerts but by having a specific hashtag you can monitor a wide variety of content.
Once again having a core group of advocates can help multiple your online efforts. From the bands playing to local businesses to local radio stations all these helped to spread the virtual word about the festival. As well as this some pretty great content such as the drone footage below was used to help give people a taste of what it was like to be at the event.
— Colin Shanahan (@DigiColMedia) July 9, 2015
Wasup – Networking and learning from some top people Of the 3 Wasup was the closest to a networking event that takes place all around the country. Here again the account was active for the entire time and key stakeholders interacted with and spread the word about it online. From pictures of the key speakers to those of the attendees mingling and networking Wasup focused on these key areas that all events must utilise to make max use of their social media channels during the event. What I found really interesting was that Wasup put together an image for each speaker with the main takeaways people could get from their talks. The mix of speakers when put together with the online campaign meant that people could follow the events in real time. This is one of the biggest strengths of social media and Wasup was able to harness this. BlueChief Tips for during an event:
- Be constantly sending out content
- Do a mix of formal and informal content was as well as interacting with people online
- There no such thing as too much
The event’s over so that means the social media is finished right? Wrong!!!
Depending on the event you’re running this could be the make or break of the whole thing. From a networking point of view you want to follow up and contact people who are interested in your business (or could be potential clients). Not following up can result in lost opportunities.
StartUp Weekend Limerick – Continue to build the StartUp community in Limerick Once StartUp weekend was over things didn’t stop there. There has been constant engagement with other accounts and content being put out. Its clear the goal of the account wasn’t only to promote the event but to help build up the StartUp scene in the area. A reunion was organised a few months after and this again focused peoples minds (and accounts) onto a specific topic and interest. Accounts like this show that social media is a marathon not a sprint and by using it right tools like Twitter can be great to help develop communities offline.
Daytripper – A recap of a terrific few days With music festivals their approach to social media can often be different as the focus of all the activity online is over (for a few months at least). After an event it is a great time to go through all the content and harness this to portray just how great the concert was. Daytripper sent out a nice mix of pictures and videos from behind the scenes as well as from fans who attended the festival. By using this tactic they showed how much fun people had.
Wasup – Thank you, thank you oh and thank you Social media can be a great way to thank people who attended (or give a talk) at an event. The personalised nature of the tools means you can tailor it to each individual rather than just sending out a generic “Thanks to everyone who attended”. By working on the networking you do during the event you can add to and develop in the conversations had during the event both online and offline.
BlueChief tips for post event
- Depending on the event keep being active and build on it
- Share with people what it was like to be at the event
- Thank people individually for attending
Social Media at Events, there really isn’t enough you can do
Events can be a lot of work. From the organising of them to making sure they go off without a hitch (mostly) a lot of planning, time and energy is required to have a great event. By using social media the right way pre event, during the event and after it you can give yourself a terrific opportunity to not only get people to go to it but also to talk about and endorse your event long after it is done. If you have any questions or want to know how BlueChief Social can help your event please contact us.