Social media has become such a constant presence in modern life that it’s an obvious element to include in the content strategy plan for a conference, convention or other industry gatherings. In an era of frequent distractions, many of which originate from smart devices and social networks, tapping into these channels may prove to be an essential way to keep attendees focused and foster engagement.
There are many ways to integrate social media into the conference experience, with some requiring only simple adjustments and others demanding intensive planning. The common thread uniting all of these efforts is that they use one of the most common tech trends today to deepen engagement with a specific event.
Setting a strategy early
Even though social media is typically simple and user-friendly, event planners shouldn’t arrive on site without advance planning. Meetings & Conventions explained that even seemingly simple operations, such as picking a hashtag for attendees to organize their social posts, can deserve time and focus. A hashtag that is too long isn’t intuitive for people to type in on a phone keyboard, and one that has been used for other purposes will pull in unrelated content, weakening its usefulness.
This is also the stage of the process when organizers can commit to more advanced and modern engagement tools, such as specialized apps for crowd participation, schedules, and organizers. Before the convention starts is the right time to create connections with influential people in the industry. Their presence could create an organic groundswell of social posts.
Deputize the right team
Social media strategies have the potential to get out of hand, which is why BizBash explained that organizers should always have employees monitoring networks during the event. When no one has this duty, trouble could be brewing on social channels, with planners unaware and therefore unable to offer a quick fix. Conference volunteers or members of the event planning team can serve in this essential role.
BizBash added that selecting the right network for communications during an event is a good way to ensure the connection between organizers and attendees is strong. In the case of providing on-the-ground updates, that directive probably means Twitter. This network has more of a conversational, service-oriented style, as opposed to Facebook’s less timely updates and Instagram’s image focus.
The following are a few of the extra features event planners can deploy to their conferences and other gatherings to add engagement and appeal that may go beyond the simple conversations enabled by an event hashtag. These tools combine popular social networks with event-specific tech elements.
Social Media Walls: When social posts about a convention are given a featured location on the show floor via high-definition screens, attendees gain both a reminder to talk about the event online and a showcase for their posts. Such a display should be monitored to ensure great content gets featured – and trolling is excluded.
Second Screen Experiences: Presentations and videos at events can gain a new kind of resonance and engagement when users are empowered to have their feedback acknowledged. Social applications, integrated with the major networks and incorporating features tied specifically to the event in question, can provide this connection. Rather than being distracted from a presentation by their mobile devices, people can use those same smartphones to converse on official channels.
Good use of social media at a conference means giving attendees new ways to interact with the organizers. A truly engrossing event today is based on this kind of expansion of channels. From physical spaces to digital platforms, there are more ways than ever before for event planners to connect with their attendees.