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Our attendees aren’t on social media. How can it help us reach our goals?

We hear that question a lot! You may think that your meeting’s focus is too niche to warrant an event social media campaign. Despite these concerns, however, we have always found that events and social media go hand in hand. There will always be a community of people interested in your content. Building this community over time is incredibly cost-efficient, making social media an easy way gain awareness and boost attendance. You can’t afford NOT to be social!

84% of event planners rate social media campaigns as important or very important. (click to tweet)

Read on to learn how social media is key in reaching your event marketing goals.

1- Discovering your community

Social media is not a fad. Consider that out of the 4 billion internet users worldwide, over 3 billion of them use some form of social media. Prospective attendees have come to expect a social media presence because it provides an easy way for them to learn about and engage with your event and the community surrounding it in a dynamic, interactive space that your website alone cannot compete with. When we perform social media audits for our clients, we take stock of the landscape on various social media platforms and propose a tailored strategy. Time and time again, we uncover thriving networks of enthusiasts across even the most niche industries, as well as competitors already tapping into them. Our best advice would be to start an event social media campaign early to maximize effectiveness.

2- Growing your audience

Let’s imagine for a moment that your current attendees really weren’t using any social media. Wouldn’t you still want to attract new participants through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other well-established media? Social media allows you to reach highly targeted groups of people, even organically (that is, without paid ads). You can search specific hashtags to discover new communities, invite industry personnel to attend, and upload your existing list of contacts to seek connections with your current member base. With a clear engagement plan and regular evaluation, you can determine what tactics resonate best with your followers and amplify your event social media campaign.

3- Building buzz

With daily posts that strategically tag and engage with the right people and organizations, social media can be used to build the buzz surrounding your event as it draws nearer. Your community of partners, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees will now have an outlet to express their enthusiasm regarding your event. But this is a two-way street: it remains very important to engage with partners, related accounts, and industry posts on a regular basis to build a robust community. What you get out of social media really relies on the resources you put into your event social media campaign.

4- Adding value

Your association seeks to provide as much value as possible to its members, and the same way of thinking should be applied to your social media channels. As we have previously discussed, there are many different kinds of content you could share that add real value for your community. Self-promotion adds little value because your followers have learned to tune it out. Instead, we find that video interviews with speakers, blog posts that highlight the science behind your technical program, contests, and tapping into your event influencers all provide surefire value to an event social media campaign that entices people to share and comment. Remember to have fun with it for best results!

5- Maximizing onsite engagement

Besides pre-event engagement, social media works exceptionally well when used during an event. When attendees are encouraged to share pictures and takeaways using your conference hashtag and handle, it’s like capturing lightning in a bottle: you’ll find that almost everyone will be taking part in liking and commenting. It’s also a good time to publish helpful information regarding your event, through both pre-scheduled and live posts. You can share speaker quotes on the fly, interviews with exhibitors, scheduling updates and reminders, and even check in on the attendee experience…the possibilities are endless, and they exist only because you decided to include social media in the early stages of your event marketing.

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