Engaging corporate customers at a creative vendor fair, or inspiring employees after a motivating off-site sales seminar, is an ongoing work-in-progress, rather than a one-time effort. The lasting personal connection that comes from hosting a live event should be enhanced by continuing the conversation started at the event through social media. After all, social networks are our best platforms for communication and should be part of every company’s marketing strategy.
Live events are hosted for a variety of reasons, including increasing brand awareness, building customer loyalty, improving employee morale, and capturing media attention. Integrating social media into business conferences and events will help support those goals and improve the long term ROI. A few of the things to consider when planning for the next event are listed below:
- Start with an agenda: establish a clear schedule for presentations, breakout sessions, Q&A and networking
- Consider timing for communication: don’t just focus on how to advertise prior to the event date – determine what follow-up communication tools will play a part after the event
- Communication should come from all forms of media: tools like email, mailings, webinars, flyers, Facebook and Twitter should all be part of the strategy
- Understand your audience: determine what your customers or employees are hoping to gain from the event, and build your strategy around meeting those expectations
- Embrace the unfamiliar: if you aren’t comfortable tweeting live during an event, or you don’t have many Facebook followers, prepare early with social media training sessions and employ others who can help get the word out
- Share your best stuff: go beyond the written script and share the best things that are happening in the moment to help build excitement around the event
- Consider all senses: when deciding on what communication vehicles will carry your content, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, Pinterest images and Facebook posts will work together to reach a broader audience
The above suggestions represent only a few of the many considerations the event planning team must tackle before, during and after a live event. So the best suggestion of all remains – START EARLY!
Oh yes, and don’t forget to have fun while keeping that conversation going!