Social media and event marketing has become one of the all-time great double acts, and any event that doesn’t utilise social media as part of its marketing toolkit is, in my mind, not an event worth attending.
Pre-social media, events would launch through industry rags or traditional media, tickets would go on sale and, if you gave the organisers your email address, in the week leading up to the event you may get a reminder or an ‘information email’. Social media however has completely revolutionised this system and has become the ultimate medium to not only promote an upcoming event (to a much bigger audience), but also create a community and continual buzz leading into the event and maintain the hype once the last marquee has been taken down and the seats returned to the hire company.
If you already have a social media presence, one of the simplest ways to integrate social media into your event marketing strategy is through event-specific hashtags and handles. Both of these tools will work toward boosting brand and event awareness, searchability and conversation around your event, leading into it, on the day and after the event.
Here are 5 tips to help you effectively use handles and hashtag to support your event.
- Create your hashtag and handle early – Actually, get them out there and use them the minute you start promoting the event. From event launch to ticket sales and sponsor or entertainment announcements, the handle and hashtag will help you generate awareness from the get-go. Make sure you make the hashtag easy to remember, relevant and importantly not too long. There have been some epic hashtag fails, #susanalbumparty anyone?
- Tell everyone – Make sure you communicate it to all event participants, such as exhibitors, entertainment, celebrity attendees, guest speakers and presenters that the hashtag is there to be used. Include it on your websites, collateral, attendee communication – everything.
- Use it often – Use it as much as you can, particularly if you are selling tickets or announcing new acts or sponsors that will excite your target market. On the day of the event, use it around the event schedule to announce the next act, speaker, demonstration or competition on the day. Make sure you encourage all event attendees to use it, try integrating live feeds into presentations or run social media promotions at the event.
- Use it after the event – Keep the momentum going and the community engaged by using the hashtag and handle to release any follow up content from the event such as video footage or blog posts or competition winners, announce the next event or to take followers to another conversion point such as newsletter sign up or website.
- Measure your activity – It’s no good doing all that hard work if you don’t know how it worked. Take the time after the event to analyse the activity your hashtags and handles delivered, and use these insights to help you build a deeper understanding of your events success (or failures). For example, assess whether or not your hashtag started trending, and if so around what topic. Find out if there was any negativity around the event, or better still if something was overwhelmingly positive. Identify if there were any issues that you need to follow up, and what the overall reach and engagement levels were across social media.
No matter how big or small your next event is, don’t overlook the power of social media to not only help you market it but also to help you gain valuable insights from your target market at every key event moment leading into it, on the day and imporantly, after wards. You never, know your social media activity may give you insights that help you take your event to the next level.