• How to use social media to boost event engagement

    • 1

    Organising an event in the digital age can be a daunting task, and making the most of the various platforms from Twitter and LinkedIn to Snapchat and even WhatsApp can be overwhelming without preparation. Speaking with PA Life editor Molly Dyson at this year’s London Venues Summit, event organisers and social media specialists were brought together to discuss just how technology can change the face of events.

    Know your audience
    “25% of marketing budgets usually go on events so social media is just a really good way of tapping into that. In general if you aren’t using it then you’re missing out,” said Jennifer Corcoran, CEO and founder of My Super Connector. “When I was an EA I would try and connect with all of the delegates and it just makes it so much easier when they arrive, they recognise you.

    “I’m an introvert so I can be quite shy but it makes things so much easier when you walk into a room and someone says ‘hello Jennifer,’ it gives you a sense of buy-in and familiarity, so people can buy into their credibility before they’ve had the chance to meet you.”

    Work on you
    “I think it’s really about knowing where you want to take that account and what works best for you,” explained Craig Harris, EA of Shelter and PA of the Year 2017, who wants people to focus on their personal brand and direction. “It’s about knowing what sort of direction you want from your social media accounts and what your brand is, so I would use Linkedin as purely professional to share articles or blogs that I think other EAs would find interesting.

    “Whereas Twitter, although it’s still professional I use it more to get to know other EAs, we have a bit of a rapport and a bit of a laugh but we have a bit more of a laugh with it.”

    Embrace apps
    “The main reason that people should consider their own event app is it’s 2017 now, the days of being handed a paper booklet the day you arrive and throwing it in the bin on the way out are gone,” said Stewart Price, EMEA customer engagement manager for event organising app, Guidebook. “Everyone in this room will use apps; social media; maps; emails. These things we’re familiar with no matter your technological ability, and it’s on the device we use more than anything else – probably the first and last thing you look at in a day, so you may as well tap into this channel.”

    “For an attendee they care about the content they see and the connections they make, so you can make it easier for them. If they can plan in advance, make connections and stay in contact afterwards then you’ve taken a one or two-day event booklet and you’ve prolonged it potentially by months.”

    Build your hype
    “If you do have a hashtag at the event and you encourage people to take pictures, if at the event if there’s an ‘instagrammable’ moment that they put online you get FOMO – fear of missing out,” added Caleb Parker, the host of tech and business show The Future in 15. “When you’re going to set up your profile, initially you just need to let people know you exist, maybe use something like socialmention.com to find out who your audience is and you start following them. Know that audience, deliver that content online and engage with them.

    “Don’t think about what message you want to get out – although that’s important – what do they want to see? What will engage them? What message do you want to get out there? You have to blend it with what they want to see.”

    How is technology changing the way you work? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.