May 03, 2017
By Amrutha Sarayu

Social media is one of those marketing strategies that you know is important, but it probably hasn’t made it to your “nice-to-have” list just yet. If it has, I sincerely applaud you and encourage the #humblebrag.

However, if you’re just getting started with social media, don’t get overwhelmed or distracted by all the social networks out there. Focus on what matters most—the onsite experience. Events come with a built-in audience, so even if you don’t have thousands of social media followers, you do have a captive audience of attendees at your event.
In a recent webinar series with MeetingsFocus & MeetingsNet, Kevin Yanushefski, product marketing manager at Cvent, and I shared tips and real-world tactics to boost Onsite Attendee Engagement and social media success. During the webinars, we asked attendees to tweet their questions on #event2pt0. The most frequently asked questions are shared below with their answers:

What makes a good event hashtag?
Good hashtags are short, original, and easy to remember. Tweets only have 140 characters, so it’s important to keep your event hashtag short so people can still tweet key takeaways and include the event hashtag. Do research on sites like hashtagify.me or hashtags.org to make sure that your event hashtag isn’t being used by another organisation or event. If your event is recurring, consider using a hashtag that can be used year over year and extend the lifetime value of your hashtag.

What are good prizes for social media contests? What about contest ideas that don’t include monetary prizes?
Contests don’t have to include monetary prizes. They could be rewards for services or goods that your organisation provides. Select prizes that align with your audience, industry or event. Mobile chargers, selfie sticks, and tote bags have been praised as great prizes that Cvent has awarded for social media contests. Think about selecting prizes that can improve the event experience for attendees or encourage them to post more to social media.

What are some tips for engaging with an older audience that doesn’t really use social media?
As a social media manager, it always pains me to hear someone say, “Social media is for my kids.” It’s true that 90% of all people within the ages of 18-29 years are using social media, but it’s also true that the percentage of adults over 50 years of age using social media has been rising dramatically over the past decade. Regardless of age, the best way to get your attendees to use social media is to help them. Create a station where your social media team can teach people how to tweet or post to Instagram. Reward attendees for being active with prizes or even just public recognition.

What are some quick wins that encourage more social participation onsite?
Integrate social media into everything—the registration process, onsite signage, presentations—so that attendees are always being reminded. Collect social media handles during registration, so they appear on attendee name badges. Ensure every presentation given at your event has the event hashtag on the bottom of every slide.

How can you encourage people to be more active with comments and shares, rather than passively lurking and liking?
Rewarding comments and shares more than likes is one way to encourage people to be more active. If budget restrictions keep you from rewarding people, engage with them directly on social media. If they liked your post, tweet back and thank them for the like. Start conversations with attendees who like your posts by asking them questions, soliciting their feedback, or encouraging them to post their views and opinions. Using onsite tools like SocialWall to display social media posts will help inspire attendees to post and show them that they aren’t the only ones using social media at the event.

How do you keep the conversation and momentum going after the event?
Continue to share content and engage with your social media following. Trickle out content that recaps key sessions from your event or third-party press your event has received. Ask for event feedback on social media and respond when people provide it. If your event is a recurring event, build up momentum for next year’s event by creating a countdown as soon as this year’s event ends (or as soon as you know your event date!)

How often should you post before the event? During the event? After the event?
There is no magic number when it comes to how many posts you should send out for your event. It all depends on what social media platform you are posting on and how engaged your audience is. You have to be careful not to spam your followers with too much content, but you also want to promote enough that you create a buzz and drive engagement. Increase your post frequency as you get closer to the event date and plan the largest volume of posts for during the event. Slowly decrease the number of posts after the event, but don’t completely die off. Pay attention to how your audience is reacting and adjust accordingly.

Which social media metrics provide the most value?
Whichever one your boss cares most about! In all seriousness, it will depend on your organisation and the type of events that you hold. Your conversation rate and your applause rate are perhaps the most important metrics to measure. Both of these will tell you how your content is performing with your audience, and as these metrics rise, so will impressions and, ultimately, conversions.

If you only have one hour a day for social media, what can you do to get the most impact out of that limited time?
Focus on sharing quality, engaging content. Content is the king, and when that content is exciting or interesting, the engagement will follow. Your secondary focus should be on engaging with your followers. People want to connect with other people, not brands. So the more you engage with your followers as a person—not just a robot spitting out the same jargon—the more impact you’ll have on social media.

Here are 10 reasons why social media matters for event planners around the world!

Amrutha Sarayu

Amrutha Sarayu

Amrutha is a content writer and marketer at Cvent. She mainly writes about the meetings and events industry, with a special focus on technology that is designed for making the lives of planners easier. When not writing, she can be found taking part in reading challenges or watching food videos on YouTube. 
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