LIFESTYLE

Why No Event Should Be Planned Without a Social Media Strategy

Planning an event requires attendees and copious amounts of people to ensure the smooth running of the event. This is not revolutionary information for event planners by any means, but going back to the basics may help you utilise the available tools which may be rather innovative for the entire running and planning of your event. In 2016, these tools are predominantly online, and we need to embrace how powerful online targeting tools can be for advertising, marketing and organisational tools.

In 2014, Ofcom revealed that Brits spend more time communicating online than sleeping. On average, 8 hours and 21 minutes is spent each day sleeping, in comparison to the 8 hours and 41 minutes a day spent on media devices. The 16-24 age bracket spend more time than anyone on social media and communication devices with a grand total of 11 hours’ worth of media use each day squeezed into 9 hours and 8 minutes, as a result of multi-tasking.With these facts and figures in mind, it would be almost sacrilegious to not use social media in every step of your event planning.Social media has been embraced in most other industries under the sun in one way or another, so why not event planning?

Social media is a sure fire way of catching peoples’ attention and communicating with busy people of the digital age. Email open rates are on the decline, and social media engagements are on the up. According to Sprout Social, in 2016, 67% more leads will be generated by companies with an active blog and social media account. So it is now more important than ever to ensure your efforts on social media are on point.Short and snappy posts are the way to address your target market in the most effective way.

Pre-Event
In order to assure you make those all-important numbers on the big day, you need to create a buzz. You need to get your name out there. Depending on the size of your company or brand, you may need to start from scratch and build up those contacts up from almost nothing. Social media can be an easier way of doing this. Depending on your budget, you can create a paid campaign in order to put your event in front of your target audience and your ideal demographic. For example, you can create a sponsored campaign on Facebook, in which you target people working in journalism, from the ages of 21-35, all of whom live in the East of England. This way, you won’t be putting your advert out into the void hoping for the best. Only the most relevant people will be able to see your event and share it with their similarly aged friends, etc.  Alternatively, you don’t necessarily need to spend money to get your event seen by the right people.  Creating a very unified and strong brand can help build intrigue. Founding your own hashtag for the event, and releasing related visual material as the big date gets closer and closer can be one way of getting people to start talking about your event and sharing it with their friends.

Social media can also be a way for the event planning team to communicate and discuss ideas when physical meetings can’t be held. Emails can be clunky and harder to access when you are on the go; private groups and messages on Facebook for example can be accessed easily on the go.

The Event
Just because the big day has arrived, doesn’t mean it is time to get old-school . You can still encourage your guests to use your hashtags, and you can even set up a micro-blog to collate all the social media interactions into one space to document everyone’s’ experience of the day. Don’t forget your hashtags! People like to feel like they are part of something so using hashtags will allow guests to see what else people at the same event are up to. For instance, central London venue Banking Hall, recently hosted an awards event for Agrow News, and the hashtag #AgrowAwards was adopted, which kept all tweets and photos posted online consistent, and as a result created more of an impact. This uniform online presence no doubt created a buzz, but acted as a great branding tool for both the product company (Agrow News) and the venue (Banking Hall).

Assigning a ‘social media officer’ for the event will help the conversation flow, as you can have someone live streaming, or live blogging the whole event. Setting up a competition like a mini-photo competition on the day will encourage interaction online and in real life. This sort of visual content online will double up as free marketing for your next event too.

Post-Event
If you want to use your event for marketing, your social media efforts should not stop when your last guest walks out of the door. Using social media the day and week after your actual event can extend its longevity and keep the conversation around your event going long after the last glass of bubbly is consumed. Other ways to extend the buzz of your event is to share presentations which were given at the event itself through Slideshare or on various relevant sharing platforms. Also, utilise the email addresses you collected during the invitation process to get feedback and save the names for a guest list for your next event.

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