Being active on social networks before, during, and after your event is critical for optimal engagement. Since events are in real time, attendees often use social networks to get updates and to communicate with other participants in a live environment. But it is tough to know what to do on each social channel, and you need to make sure that you have your entire social marketing strategy really well hammered out well before you start promoting the event. If you need some help, check out our brand new Sample Social Media for Events Template. This fantastic template helps you outline your social strategy for all of the key channels. That way you can go into your event fully prepared.
At Marketo, one of our favorite social media tools for events is Twitter, which is extremely powerful for not only marketing and promoting your events, but also engaging and connecting with your attendees in real time. Use Twitter to live tweet, interact with partners and influencers, and drive traffic to your event page.
Although this may be obvious, the first step is to make sure you set up a hashtag to use on Twitter, and make sure this is well publicized. You would be surprised on how often hashtags aren’t leveraged for events. If you are giving a webinar, the hashtag should be announced by the moderator, listed on the slides, and sent out in prior emails. If you are attending a live event, make sure you tweet the hashtag beforehand and include it on promotional materials.
Before an Event
There are three things you really want to keep in mind when promoting an event on Twitter. You need to schedule series of Tweets about your event, promote your presence at the event to get your network to register, and encourage your partners and influencers to also promote your event. Take a look at this example Tweet below we used to promote an upcoming webinar. We have used the hashtag #dg2ma and included important information such as time and date. We also included the relevant hashtag #marketingautomation to make sure it shows up in searches.
Build Twitter Lists
Build event lists to include speakers, sponsors and people who are already mentioning your event. Tweet and retweet these influencers within your timeline. This is a great way to introduce your speakers and sponsors to your followers while adding value to the event participants. Additionally, you might also want to build a competitor list to see what your competitors are doing during your event.
Set-Up Promoted Tweets
Use a combination of paid and non-paid Tweets. Tweet 2-3 variations of event information and special offers. Then run these Tweets in a Twitter timeline ads and be sure to bid on your company name and your event hashtag.
Running promoted Tweets can be a very powerful way to support your events. Run two Tweets with slightly different messaging in a promoted Tweet search campaign that targets relevant hashtags and keywords. Make sure to schedule the campaign to end just before the event begins. During the event, run another campaign targeting the event hashtag with a relevant offer.
During an Event
Whether it is a webinar, virtual event, or a tradeshow, having someone dedicated to manning your Twitter presence will ensure that you engage with attendees and can reply to anyone who might have a question or comment.
Here are some tips to help make your Twitter presence stands out from the crowd:
- Use a social monitoring tool such as HootSuite to look for mentions before, during, or after the event
- Retweet and reply back to interesting points and questions from attendees.
- Encourage employees who are attending to engage by posting updates, photos, and retweeting as well. This can go a very long way and really spread the conversation in real time.
- Tweet out approved speaker presentations at the start of their session so those in attendance can follow along and not be worried about taking notes.
At Marketo, we use Live Tweeting as a large part of our event strategy. Assign your main Twitter account to one employee and be sure to tweet out a few hours before the event starts with a “Be sure to join us” Tweet followed by another Tweet just before the event such as,“Just getting started with X event”. Make sure to include the event hashtag. It’s important to closely monitor the hashtag and any replies, as there may be questions coming in from registrants.
During the event, tweet out key points and takeaways from the speakers. Twitter users love stats and quotes, so try to include them as they appear in presentations or are quoted by the speakers. Take a look at an example from a recent webinar that we did here at Marketo. We had someone monitoring Twitter throughout the live event and she tweeted out important stats and quotes periodically to engage viewers.
After an Event
Once the event is over, you can measure buzz with www.hashtracking.com and sum up the best tweets with www.storify.com. Post contest results, submitted photos, and thank your attendees and event partners for taking time to come to your event. See the Tweet below for an example of how we thank our partners and attendees. Also, make sure that you sit down with your event and social team to go over what worked and what didn’t. Take notes and refer back to them next time you plan an event. There are so many unknowns that happen in a live environment, so doing a sync-up afterwards is crucial.
Need help coming up with your social strategy? Be sure to download our new Sample Social Media Plan for Events to get guidance on where to focus your social energy before, during, and after an event.