Social media seems to change by the month, and what worked at your last event won’t necessarily work at the next one. Still, there’s plenty of opportunity to unlock attendee sharing, increase your message’s reach, and generate plenty of FOMO – beyond a generic hashtag and a social wall.
Engage Your Audience With Instagram Stories
The stories format that Snapchat pioneered and Instagram (and Instagram parent company Facebook) followed has taken the social world by storm. In fact, Facebook has gone as far to suggest that the stories format may subsume the entire News Feed some day. The bottom line: Stories are important – you no longer have to share in-feed for a post to be seen, reducing both the friction of sharing and the polish required.
Instagram has introduced a few ways to engage with and survey your audience in real-time in stories:
- Polls (up to two choices)
- Emoji slider (a slider you drag along a bar, showing how much you agree or disagree with something)
- Questions (a way to receive and answer questions from your audience.) A
At their best, stories aren’t just another channel for you to push content to, but a way to spark conversations and gauge audience sentiment.
Snapchat Isn’t Dead – Use Custom Geofilters
Rumors of Snapchat’s demise have been greatly exaggerated – at least when it comes to young people. While it’s true that many people in their 30s and older stick to Instagram and Facebook, Snapchat remains a key channel among the younger set. If your event is largely comprised of younger attendees, invest in a Custom Snapchat Geofilter. People at your event who are on Snapchat can use your Geofilter – essentially flair overlaid on their image, graphically specifying where they are – when they send their friends pictures. This way, your attendees are promoting your event with their pictures, and when they use your Geofilter, you get to provide further context for their friends to understand where they are, what they’re doing, etc.
Nail Your Hashtag
A hashtag helps tie all the posts about an event together, but it’s easy to overthink the name. Many try to be too cute, overly clever, or obsessively on-brand. There’s an easy framework to select the right hashtag for your event, though. It should be:
- Original (make sure the hashtag hasn’t been used in another context. Check both Twitter and Instagram.)
- Concise (keep it short! Nobody wants to type a long hashtag.)
- Memorable (attendees won’t necessarily be staring at your collateral when they use the hashtag.)
- Easy to spell (if they have to stare at it for more than a second, you made it too hard.)
- Relevant (it has to be specific to your event!)
That’s it. If your hashtag checks those five boxes, you’re all set.
Start Discussion in a Facebook Group
Sure, public-facing Facebook posts are still important, and you’ll be happy if attendees are sharing your event with friends. That said, there’s potential for more meaningful interaction on Facebook – in groups. Groups is one of Facebook’s fastest growing products. As our friends lists have swelled to include old friends, co-workers, family, vague acquaintances, etc. we’ve felt less comfortable sharing publicly. Groups bring some context back to to the conversation, and give members a degree of context and privacy. By creating a group for your event, you can provide fertile ground for attendees to start conversations, post reactions, ask questions, and discuss the event’s message(s) with their peers. If you choose to create a group, make sure to invite attendees, provide an easy way to join (put the link somewhere visible), and mention the group by name at different times during the event. If done right, this can keep the conversation rolling long after everyone walks out the door.
Remember, Social Media Is Just An Amplifier
By embracing social media, some may be concerned that their event runs the risk of somehow getting negative attention. It’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to events, social media is (with few exceptions) merely an amplifier. It’ll make the great events resonate that much more, and on the flip side, it’s not a magic bullet that will make a not-so-great event somehow seem cool or interesting to outsiders. Put another way: Manage your expectations. Trust that your amazing event will shine on social, and provide attendees the tools to help make that happen.