Why should you use social media for event marketing ?
This article marks the introduction of a new section on our blog, specifically dedicated to event marketing: social internet increasingly closely integrated with IRL experiences, and we are absolutely convinced that events are well placed to facilitate this kind of interaction – and indeed, that they always will be.
There remains a lot to be said…
An event takes place when multiple people come together to pursue a common interest. More and more often, these interests are pursued IRL as much as they are “IVL” (or in virtual life – i.e., online)..
“So what”, you might ask ?
In fact, it’s simple: most of the time, a community already exists even before an event is held. To put it another way, your IVL targets will, over time, also meet up in a physical space for an IRL discussion..
Social networks – the holy grail of event marketing
Today, however, the holy grail is the ability to merge IRL and IVL interactions!
Merging IRL and online communities enables you to identify your core targets on social networks (and vice versa IRL), and to establish a mixed-media relationship that features both physical and virtual encounters. (Bear in mind that your “conversion” objectives always have a real-life consequence – the generation of a distinctly ‘non-virtual’ profit! While that might be oversimplifying things somewhat, I’m sure you get the point!)
Here’s an example of interactions that an attendee at a B2B event might experience:
Someone uses the event hashtag the night before the event [IVL]
You ask her if she’ll be attending. If so, you suggest meeting up for coffee [IVL].
After a face-to-face discussion, you find that you have a lot in common professionally [IRL].
You continue your conversation over Twitter throughout the event [IVL].
You add each other to your LinkedIn networks after the event, and continue your discussions over the next few weeks, then… [IVL]
You organize a more formal meeting during which you reach a common agreement and set up a contract [IRL].
A contract that you will obviously discuss on your blog [IVL].
You get the point: there is a massive range of possible outcomes and while the example above features a one-to-one, personal meeting, the clear potential of social media for event marketing applies to everyone involved: attendees, of course, but organizers, partners, and speakers as well.
Infographic: Top tips for using social media during an event
To illustrate the concept, here’s a simple infographic created by Kantar Media (don’t stop after the infographic – it’s not the end of the article :) )
Our favorite phrase from the supporting article:
“And before we begin, please switch off all mobile phones”.
That’s how it used to be, but you have to admit that, in the context of an ultra-connected world, it’s pretty funny!
Here’s a summary of the key points:
Research the people you are interested in beforehand (Ed: you won’t find them in a live environment!)
Identify and use relevant hashtags in this context: as well as the hashtags for the event, but also other, related ones.
If you are the organizer, promote your hashtag and build value around it. (Ed: this is where a tool such as Social Wall is especially valuable, and the more that the focus is on user generated content (or UGC) in real life, the more your IRL participants will be encouraged to join in online. The goal: to create blended conversations
Join the conversation and be engaging: without interaction, there can be no IRL relationships, and the same applies over social media!
Create your own added value: don’t be content with simply regurgitating what you experience without adding an editorial angle.
Make yourself useful: become a resource for others.
Be consistent : communicate “as you are” as a brand, person, or group.
Finally, analyze the results to optimize your activities next time around.
An event, by its very nature, generates a large amount of content (photos, videos, blog articles, and even live streams!) thanks to the increasingly widespread use of tools such as Periscope or Meerkat). Whether it’s produced by the organizer or by the wider community (and is therefore user generated content), this content is valuable both to improve your image and to raise your profile via SEO.
The least that you can do for them is to add value and “show the world.”