How to make your event even more social network friendly – guest post by 26 Stars

According to Alison Smith Jenks, marketing senior vice president at FreemanXP, every event has three types of audiences:

  • Live audience
  • Viral audience
  • Virtual audience

Those audiences are interconnected and have a certain dependency with each other. The live audience promotes, shares, talks and basically creates buzz around your event, which transfers to the virtual one. When enough engagement (both online and offline) is collected, the two audiences together create a “Wow, I wish I was there” feeling for the viral audience.

Social media presence represents much more than just being a PR or advertising tool for event planners. According to FreemanXP & Event Marketing Institute, about 88% of US marketers use social media to increase awareness and engagement for their events before they occur.

However, this isn’t the only important thing. If you stop using social media when the event actually starts, you will cut the conversations too soon and miss an important community building chance.

Using social media smartly opens up lots of opportunities for event planners. To put it simply, social media is your best weapon to leverage your event to the next level. Here are some reasons why social is important for your events:

  1. Social media increases engagement: according to Socialbakers, an average Facebook page (0-9999 likes) has about 28 interactions per post.
  2. Those who didn’t attend the event can follow it online: for example, according to Fortune, this year, on average 1.4 million people were streaming the Super Bowl online.
  3. Keeps the conversation going and creates buzz around your event.

In case you are interested, here are a few more reasons that highlight the importance of social media usage at events and how it can be exploited smartly. Now, when we know why social media is important for events, let’s move on and discuss several ways to make your event even more social friendly.

Ensure good WiFi connectivity

This is the first step you should take. If your guests are not connected, nothing social can happen. Regardless of where your event takes place (conference hall, famous hotel, somebody’s backyard or even your living room) you need to make sure that there is WiFi available and it’s stable. No WiFi means no social media and no social media means no pictures, videos or tweets, which in one word means a disaster.

To ensure you have a good WiFi coverage, you need two things:

  1. Estimate how many people will be attending your event
  2. How active are they on social media.

According to Jeff Kear, founder of Planning Pod, you need to have 8-12 Mbps per 100 users for heavy user groups and 2-3 Mbps per 100 users for light usage groups. In addition, make sure that all attendees know exactly how to access the WiFi. Have the password and instructions on how to get connected displayed in a few easy to spot places like a big screen or brochures on the tables.

Have charging stations. Ok, if you want your guests to share relevant content like status updates, tweets, photos and videos during the event, you will have to take good care not only about them, but also their smartphones. On average, an iPhone 5S’s battery lasts about 4-5 hours on active usage. After those hours run out, it’s going to be dead silence online. That’s where I’m heading this conversation: make sure there are enough chargers (in case people forget their chargers at home) and charging stations around the venue to solve the battery issues. Additionally, try to have as many different chargers as you can. This will help every attendee with a different smartphone operating system.

Always use a unique hashtag for your event

Creating and promoting your event hashtag has many benefits. Trending hashtags on Twitter will make it easy to spread the word about your event and help reach a wider audience. Also, it’s important to promote the hashtag not only before the event, but also during and after it’s over. This will help non attendees get a glimpse of what they missed and boost engagement rates.

Some interesting facts about #hashtags:

  • 123,995 users contributed to 280,443 tweets in the 5 days prior to SxSW (South by Southwest) 2013. (see infographics by OurSocialTimes)
  • Tweets containing hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those that don’t.
  • Using more than 2 hashtags drop the engagement by an average of 17% (The Ultimate Guide to #Hashtags –  AdWeek)

If you’d like to know more, here is an infographic by HubSpot “A Simple Guide to Using Hashtags on Twitter” you should check out.

Promote your event yourself

You are doing everything to make it easy and comfortable for your guests to share content about your event. Well, why aren’t you doing it as well? To begin the engagement process, you need to share some interesting tweets, photos and videos. We all know that tweets/posts with rich media are more interactive and effective. According to KissMetrics, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without images.

Moreover, when people find themselves in your photos/videos, it’s more than likely that these posts will get higher engagement.

Have a dedicated person to monitor social activities

You need to have a team member who will be fully dedicating to managing and monitoring social media activity and presence during your event. The person needs to keep a sharp eye on hashtag mentions and retweet/like the best/most relevant ones. Plus, he or she will also be responsible for live tweets during the event. Engaging with your guests on social media contributes to you earning social proof, which is the best way to show that you care for your audience’s experience, both online and live.

To help you out, here is a great guide by Social Media Examiner on how to correctly live-tweet an event. Social media and face to face interactions have a lot in common. They are both aimed at increasing your audience, and the more people you can reach, the better for your next event. In order to be social friendly and show that you really care about your guests’ experience, you need to make it less about you and more about the common interaction. If people feel that you really care, they will respond. This is how powerful engagement starts.

About 26 Stars

26stars

26 Stars is a NYC based company specialized in creating fantastic event experiences. Our custom designed outfits, amazing live performers and entertainers have taken the events and parties of numerous stars and companies to the next level. If you are interested in events for businesses, check out What Event Marketing Means For Businesses infographics by us. Find out more about our company on our website and visit our blog for interesting articles and resources about the event planning industry.

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