I think Matt Pensinger says it best: “The live event is still that focal point for the deepest engagement that you can have, but there are other layers and extensions around it that can also be leveraged.” When I hear this, I get excited for the possibilities industry events create, particularly those that are social.
Whether it’s an intimate meetup or a large-scale conference, planning an event for your industry or business can be quite the task. Traditionally thinking of conferences and conventions might cause the typical person to snore. Today, social enhancements make events more interactive, fun and beneficial for those looking to network and learn from new people. Here are some tips from one of our fantastic Vocus Marketing and Event Managers, Cori Pearce on just how to do so before, during, and even after your event.
- Create and send out a search engine friendly press release promoting your event, that includes links to your agenda and registration site as well as keywords that align with your conference’s theme. If you are able to include a video of your keynote that will also help to improve your release’s social media appeal.
- Boost your event awareness by embedding social sharing widgets on your event website and in all email communications. Making it easy for your attendees to post your event on their social networks is a great way to spread the word.
- Keep your attendees in the know by establishing an event news feed (RSS) to share key event details leading up to the big day. You could also pull in your speaker’s blog posts so the audience can become familiar with them beforehand.
- Utilize a mobile networking tool like Fetchly . It’s an easy way to use a simple text message code to instantly exchange contact details with fellow conference attendees. No more need to carry around that box of business cards!
- Create a hashtag for the event and display a live Twitter feed in a prominent area. People will love to see their tweets up on the big screen. If you do not have the capabilities to develop a custom feed, you can use a free service like Visible Tweets.
- Consider making it a hybrid event by offering a live stream of your general sessions. That way even if people aren’t able to attend the event in person they won’t have to miss out. If you have virtual attendees your event buzz is sure to spread online.
- Be sure to post your presentation decks to SlideShare. Attendees will love that they are able to have some takeaways from the conference and can also go on to share the content with colleagues.
- Use the same Twitter hashtag for Flickr photos. Post your best shots from the conference and invite attendees to tag their personal photos and upload them to the page.
- If you captured your sessions on video, host them for on-demand viewing. Conference attendees might not have been able to attend all the sessions they wished at the live event, so this is a great way to make sure they are able to get the most out of it as possible (and can justify attending again next year!).
Only 5 percent of respondents to a survey describe their organization’s use of social media for events as “extensive” according to Meetings and Conventions. That seems incredibly low in this age of information sharing and virility through social media. Give these tips a try and let us know any we may have missed in the comments section below.
Cori Pearce joined Vocus’ marketing department as an events manager in April 2009. During her time at Vocus she has organized four annual Users Conferences and is looking forward to next year’s. In addition to in-person events, Cori has also managed numerous virtual conferences for the company (and is in the process of planning one now). She also produces the monthly webinar series for both Vocus and PRWeb audiences. Cori earned a BA in marketing from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in 2006.