We recently discussed 3 dos and don’ts for running a campaign across platforms, but what about marketing a conference or similar event across platforms? Successfully marketing an event requires tailoring your message for each platform, just as with any successful campaign. We’ll break down some of the specific uses for each platform here, playing to their individual strengths and making note of what to keep in mind based on how each works and interacts with the others.
We’ve covered 16 ways to use Twitter to improve your next conference and 7 tips to maximize your conference attendance using Twitter, so what’s different when you’re adding other platforms to the mix?
When building your communication plan for your conference you want to keep in mind the strengths of each platform to plan which content you’re going to disseminate where; Twitter’s strength lies in it being the ultimate real-time tool. Use Twitter to broadcast quick updates and reminders throughout your event, such as:
- Remind everyone of the official hashtag
- Make announcements and reminders of keynotes, session start times, and any other events like a cocktail hour or party
- Let everyone know if a session, talk, or cocktail hour has been delayed, canceled or moved to a different location
- Make suggestions about where attendees can head for meals or drinks offsite, tagging the handles of those businesses where applicable
- Introduce speakers by their handles
- Thank speakers, organizers, and any companies that have provided staff for catering or bars (and be sure to mention their handles too)
- Answer any questions from attendees, and resolve any problems they bring to light quickly
Also be sure to prominently and consistently use and track the official hashtag you’ve created for your conference, which will tell you everything that went well and everything you can improve for the next time.
Instagram is new territory for many marketers, which is why we’ve written a series for those new to the platform over on our Union Metrics Tumblr. Specifically for events you’ll want to check out how to effectively use hashtags, the nuances of sharing to other platforms via Instagram, and even the different moves personal brands should make there (in case you’re an event attendee in the future, wanting to promote yourself and connect with other attendees and organizers).
So whether you’re established on Instagram when you decide to market your event there, or you’ve decided to make the conference the official launch of your Instagram presence, there are a few things to keep in mind. Instagram’s purely visual nature is a strength for any brand looking to tell a succinct story in photographic terms. However, the single-track feed on mobile means that too many posts can easily overwhelm your followers, so established brands with a large following who know only a portion of that following will be present at an event will want to consider setting up a side account if you plan on frequent event updates.
With that in mind, some of the ways to use Instagram at a conference include:
- To show off the conference venue, including what the weather in the host city is like
- Share photos of sites to see around the host city
- Tap into other big communities on Instagram by showing off the #food available on and offsite of your conference (be sure to tag any offsite restaurants and bars that have an Instagram presence, and follow their accounts)
- Post reminders about meetups in other cities leading up to the conference, or after it, like this one from SXSW V2V
- Share engaging photo reminders of deadlines for submitting speaker applications, getting a discount on event passes, and more
- Post photos of keynote speakers, tagging their Instagram accounts with permission so that attendees can get a better idea of who they are
- Post photos to highlight your event organizers, staff, and even regular attendees to give a behind-the-scenes look at everything that goes into the work of organizing and executing a conference (and tag their accounts too, where appropriate, or at least follow them)
Bonus: If you’re short on resources, use the snappy photo reminders around deadlines as a starting point to share the same reminder across platforms, tweaking the message for each. For example, hashtags don’t seem to increase engagement on Facebook, so if you’re going to use the sharing buttons native to Instagram, wait to post all of your hashtags in the first comment. They’ll work the same way for categorization and discovery across Instagram as when you put them in your initial photo caption, but they won’t clutter your post across platforms.
More and more brands have been experimenting with marketing on Tumblr and seeing some fantastic results. The built-in social aspect allows for amplification of announcements and photo recaps of any event or conference in a way that’s not possible with traditional blogging platforms. A brand hosting an event on Tumblr might use the platform to:
- Go into more detail about deadlines and what’s required on applications for speakers, but be sure to put it all behind a cut and underneath a snappy visual (maybe a version of the same one you used on Instagram!)
- Use the photo post-type collage option to show off the mood of the event, the venue, official accommodations, shots of the host city, past event parties and attendees, speakers and more (Tumblr automatically builds a collage as you upload multiple photos in one post)
- Do a series using each of the ideas above, or pull a few of each type into one post for a photo overview. Pull these from Instagram or post a mix of Instagram photos and those from other sources
- Use embedded video posts to show clips from the speakers you’re featuring, or a video summary of a past event; even a video tour of the host city
- Video post types will also host SlideShares of presentations using their embed codes, perfect for recaps and previews of sessions and topics from speakers
- Link to articles or blog posts from event speakers, or quote things past speakers have said using the quote post-type
- If past event attendees have written up their experiences, link to those as well, or quote excerpts from what they had to say
Remember that Tumblr’s reblogging feature is what makes it so powerful; be sure to reblog anything appropriate or related to your conference from the Tumblrs of your upcoming or past speakers, regular attendees, organizers and more. Doing so will only encourage them to reblog you, amplifying your message to their audiences and possibly tapping new audience members.
Example of a post from a speaker that SXSW V2V could reblog– if they had a Tumblr.
After all, if they follow your speakers and attendees, it’s likely that they’re interested in the type of event you’re putting on.
The bottom line
Play to each platform’s strengths, and put in the work ahead of time to figure out where your attendees spend the most time. If you have limited resources, put your work into those places. Anything else after that will be a bonus.
Oh, and one more bonus tip: All of these platforms use hashtags, so search each one for any hashtags you can think of that are related to your conference or event to see how people are already talking about it in each place. Keep that tone and style in mind as you plan your approach, or use it to tailor and rethink your approach if you already have a presence there.
Got any questions, or have any ideas or examples of great conference execution across platforms that we’ve missed? Leave it in the comments!