Beyond the Hashtag – Social Event Promotion

Andrew Birkitt

Lead Technical Engineer
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Reading Time: 5 minutes

As was discussed in my previous post many of us go to live events, conferences and trade shows these days but there are some of us who are now starting to create their own events such as the fabulous Mercury Expo and LUL360 that I mentioned before. Using live events to connect with your target audience is also a great way to leave a positive and lasting brand Expo Exchangeimpression of your business.
Unlike using Social Media to cover an event you are attending I wouldn’t recommend covering your own event ‘on your own’, it can be done, but it is often better to have a team dedicated to running the social event promotion.
Covering an event when it’s this important to a business involves covering more aspects than we previously mentioned, you generally will need someone to be taking pictures of the event and getting these to the various Social Media platforms throughout the day. Posting to Facebook and Twitter and answering questions on these platforms and engaging with your followers is another vital role. Finally and this may depend on the scale of the event you may need team members to perform interviews and assist with audio and video.
Using Social Media can also be used well in advance of the event for the organisation and promotion and it can then be of value when used to enhance the live experience and even extend the life and value of an event once its finished.
Before the Event
No one these days should be underestimating the power of Social Media, although there are still many cynics and sceptics out there,  somewhere in the region of 84% of organisers use Facebook and its Events Calendar to promote with some 61% utilising Twitter.
So what sort of things can be done to assist with the organisation?
Only the other day we heard at a local event how the organiser had met, networked with and engaged with the majority of the Speakers through Twitter in the first instance. Building this rapport enabled them to get some top name speakers at their event.
If you have a good following already then you can often engage your users by asking their opinion on what the event should involve and even who or what the speakers or subjects of the talks should be around. We recently surveyed a select number of our followers and clients to see what sort of subject matter they thought would be beneficial to them as a small business and the result of this was our own event #LabLive which will have its first session this week with other events of a similar fashion to follow.
Many of these events now utilise platforms such as Eventbrite to coordinate and organise tickets and as such organisers can monitor numbers that are going to be attending. Social Media can be used to great advantage in getting the message out there and leading your followers and your target audience to your booking platform.
If you are utilising a platform such as this then it is always a good idea to encourage to encourage users to share the fact that they have registered through social media, a little free promotion is always a good thing and people are always more inclined to sign up for things if it is recommended to them.
Finally make sure that you have decided upon and have promoted the #hashtag for the event well before the event goes live and even before promotion. We have already mentioned in the previous post how the #hashtag can lift an event to the next level. It’s a great way of getting the word out before the event and creating some social activity whereby prospective users can interact and learn about the event long before they get there.
During the Event
#LabLive GiveawaysWe have already discussed many of the ways of enhancing and maximising the event experience once it is running in a previous blog post see here but I would like to discuss a couple of other ways that this can be improved when it is your own event.
We keep discussing the importance of the #hashtag and we are going to come back to it here, it is estimated that tweets that contain the #hashtag will almost double the amount of interaction they receive than those that don’t so making sure that your team are available and monitoring the one for your event is paramount to its success. Make sure that your team are prepared to engage with other Tweeters and get the conversation rolling, there is nothing worse than having this setup and then just letting everyone else run with it.
Effective use of the #hashtag will ensure that you can get the maximum reach around your event as it allows others to join in the conversation even if they are not able to attend the event in person.
Another great way of promoting things during the event is by running competitions, they don’t have to be extravagant either, we recently saw this put to great use at the Content Marketing Show in a couple of simple ways.
One of which was to get people to tweet for sweets, a simple premise where the visitors where asked to send a tweet utilising a hashtag in return for some free sweets and it proved a very popular area. Of course there are many other ways you can use this but we will leave that to your imagination.
After the Event
So you have had a fantastic event, but what can you do to extend the life a little after all of the hard work has been done and everyone has gone home.
We have discussed this a little in the other post as well, but one good way of extending the event is to write a takeaways blog post, detail what you have taken from the event, if you have had several speakers then encourage them to share their slide decks with you and others, include these in your blog post.
Share this and the slide decks through your social media channels and don’t forget to utilise the all important #hashtag. If you have photographs then make sure that they are shared as well, utilising Pinterest or Flickr is a great way to share anything in this area.
Videos of the event are another popular medium to prolong the lifetime and value of an event and if it becomes a regular occurrence or annual event this entire media collection is a great catalogue for promoting the next one.
Most of all keep engaging with the relationships you build throughout this process as this is one of the goals after all.

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