If you’re running an event like a conference, social media provides the perfect venue to help you communicate with attendees, promote your event, and collect important feedback. So how can you take advantage of all that social has to offer, while making sure you’re getting what you need from it?
Here are our four ways you can make your next conference a success across social media.
1. Build community.
Focus on helping everyone involved with your conference connect so they will recognize one another when it begins and be able to forge deeper connections and have more meaningful conversations than would otherwise be possible. Work to keep the connections going after it ends, too!
- Highlight speakers and attendees: Share pictures of speakers along with highlights of their upcoming sessions. See a great tweet from an attendee? Turn it into a visual to share on Instagram and Facebook, and tag them in it. Consider creating Facebook groups speakers, attendees and staff that contain all the relevant information that they’ll need for the event.
- Share relevant content: If speakers have published on interesting content relevant to the conference, share it on social media. It’s a great way to get conversation started in advance, and allows other speakers and attendees to leave their own thoughts and start a dialogue.
- Consider hosting a conference-specific chat: Content Marketing Institute hosts #CMWorld every week on Twitter, and they don’t hesitate to let attendees know that their conference is the place for content marketers to be. If you don’t host a regular chat, consider hosting a short series leading up to your conference to let attendees and speakers connect and discuss conference topics ahead of time.
- Follow attendees: Be sure you’re following anyone who tweets or posts about the conference in advance. Spend some time following speakers and attendees from the official conference account.
— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) January 29, 2016
Remember, starting these connections before the conference allows attendees to connect more easily in person, building a stronger community that will want to support your conference in the future.
2. Share conference culture.
You worked hard on this event, so show it off! Make sure you’re posting about the fun cultural aspects of your conference, as well as the content and attendees.
- Show off conference perks: Share pictures and updates on all the cool stuff you’ve organized for your conference. This can be snacks, swag, facilities, and so much more. By promoting the full experience, you’ll get attendees excited about more than just the content.
- Have fun with TBTs: Throwback Thursday is a great way to share moments from past years that highlight great learning moments, networking and fun. It’ll remind attendees of their favorite memories and inspire new attendees to connect.
- Share the hard work of those behind the scenes: Highlight the contributions of the people who make the conference possible, giving attendees and speakers even more faces to recognize during the event.
3. Be accessible.
Making aspects of your conference available to external audiences can not only drive up interest, but also allow those who might not be able to attend physically to still be part of the action.
- Shoot video before the conference: Make the most of video content before your conference begins. Give a tour of the venue and nearby parts of the city to help attendees get around, or conduct interviews with speakers or organizers for some behind-the-scenes information. Video works well to share tips and tricks around event navigation, registration, session previews and more.
- Live-stream during the conference: Share sessions or parts of sessions with those attending virtually. This will show the value of your conference content, encouraging future attendance, and also allow those at home to join in via Twitter and other platforms of their choice.
- Make sure someone is monitoring your social accounts: If attendees have questions or feedback during the event, be sure there’s someone there to see it and respond if necessary. You might learn that one room is too cold, or you’re out of water in another.
- Provide event recaps: When it’s all over, post session reviews, daily summaries and event highlights. Be sure to thank everyone who joined in from afar.
4. Don’t forget the simple things.
- Use a short, unique single hashtag: Be sure attendees and speakers know which hashtag to use and that they remember to use it everywhere. Physical signage and regular social reminders help with this. Be sure you mention your presence across social media, so attendees can follow you and join in on the fun.
- Find the right channel for your content: It’s always a good idea to use Facebook as your main information hub; that’s where many people go first on social to look for information around brands and events. For real-time updates during the event, post regularly to Twitter.
- Engage! Be sure you’re interacting with interesting content speakers and attendees tag with the official hashtag throughout the event. Engage with attendees on social media, as well as in person. Nothing fosters community better than that.
And when it’s all over? You’ll need to measure your social results. We can help with that. Good luck making the most of social media for conferences!