Running the social media for a live event is all about enhancing the experience for those involved, whether that’s visitors and delegates or exhibitors and sponsors. If you’re holding an event and putting together a social media plan, you need to think about all the reasons why people are coming along and use social media to make these reasons even more compelling.
Working on the social media for a workshop or conference doesn’t mean simply turning up on the day and sending a few tweets, however, I often spend weeks - sometimes months - ahead of an event creating the social media content and building a community online. But for the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to share some of the things I do on the day of an event like Janet Murray’s Your Year in PR (YYIPR), which takes place this week in London, to show you three reasons why it’s worth investing in social media support for your events by hiring someone like me.
If you’re not outsourcing your event social media, you can simply schedule a lot of posts in advance. But when people engage with your content and you’re too busy to answer them, you will be missing out on potential opportunities to have conversations with new connections and raise the profile of your events. And scheduling everything in advance means you won’t be able to add value to delegates by responding to what is actually happening at the event.
If one of the speakers at YYIPR mentions, for example, using media enquiry services, I will be able to post a quote from the speaker, along with links to examples of media enquiry services, as well as Janet’s blog and podcast on this subject. This adds value to delegates at the event but also gets the content in front of a wider audience who aren’t at the event. And you just can’t schedule this type of content in advance.
Even something as simple as responding to frantic messages from a delegate held up by public transport can really help how people will think of your event once it’s finished. I can also monitor the event’s hashtag (#YYIPR17) and answer people’s questions by sharing relevant blogs and podcasts from Janet’s archive, or simply sharing the most interesting posts from the day.
2.Creating FOMO (fear of missing out)
My primary job at live events is enhancing the experience for those who are there, making sure everyone is getting the most out of their attendance. But by sharing highlights from the day and giving a sense of the buzz and excitement at the event on social media, I am also creating a certain level of envy for those who didn’t make it along as delegates, or even as sponsors or exhibitors.
There’s no mystery involved in this, but it is a pretty full-on job to create and share a flow of great content for the relevant social media feeds - usually Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram - to give a flavour of the event to anyone who isn’t there. In essence, to show them what they are missing out on so they don’t miss out next time.
One of the reasons people come along to conferences, trade shows and workshops is because they want to meet people with similar interests, and social media can really capture the buzz and help build on this sense of community that people really want to be part of, meaning they are more likely to book up for your next event.
3. Sticking to the plan
If you’re the event organiser trying to run the social media too, you might think all you need is a plan and all will be well. I know from experience that events have a way of throwing up surprises, meaning your plans to broadcast live on Facebook or monitor the hashtag use on Twitter suddenly get forgotten as you deal with something more urgent. All you need is a missing speaker or a piano that needs moving (yes, I really did have to move a piano at one event) and you have nobody to run the social media accounts while you are otherwise occupied. Some of my clients, including Janet Murray, give me a detailed brief of what they want me to cover at an event, which could include pictures they want me to take and posts they want me to publish at specific times. Others leave it up to me to come up with the plan for the day (which I will then make sure they are happy with in advance). Whatever approach is taken, running these accounts is my sole focus for the duration of the event, so the brief will be followed to the letter. Leaving you free to introduce speakers, get to know the delegates or, if necessary, track down any runaway pianos.