Social media is a brilliant tool you can use to engage your conference audience. It is more commonly used with larger organizations as they use social media to help promote their conferences, get their participants excited about attending, and to keep them engaged during the event. Create a strategy before planning your event so everyone understands the goals and purpose of using social media. Smaller companies can use social media as well, but it’s not as common. Regardless of your company size, make sure that you are utilizing the tool appropriately and efficiently.
4 Ways to Use Social Media for Events
1. Have a Hashtag
Sharing a common language increases the bond between participants at company events. Think of a unique hashtag that everybody can use when referencing the event on social media. Better yet, launch the event with an exercise that requires the group to come up with its own hashtag. This provides an opportunity to break the ice, jump-start the creative thinking process, and unite participants early in the day. If your event includes experiential learning activities that break the group into teams, each team can generate their own hashtag as well. Establishing a hashtag before an event can really help to promote the event; this allows participants to start posting about their excitement for the conference and to start interacting as a group which will generate more buzz.
2. Create Competitions
Challenge participants to see who can get the most views, shares, or likes on Facebook and Twitter with posts about the event. Offer compelling prizes and rewards to keep individuals enthused and engaged throughout the event. You can also use tools like a leaderboard that shows who is winning, with periodic updates. The more that individuals are motivated to keep posting, the more buzz will be created around your event. If your goal is to generate more attendance, this flurry of activity will pique the interest of potential attendees who will wonder what they are missing.
3. Start a Photo Contest
Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are perfect for visual content. Launch a photo contest at your company event and ask social media followers to vote on their favorites. This approach engages both the participants who are taking and posting the photos as well as followers who are keeping an eye on the event. Again, this is a great opportunity to offer rewards and prizes to motivate participants to take part.
4. Maintain the Momentum
The excitement around a company event doesn’t have to die down after it’s over. In fact, you want to keep attendees engaged long after so that they continue to apply what they have learned. Continue referencing the event on social media throughout the year until the next gathering. Ask participants to provide weekly posts about how the event has changed the way they work. This prompt will also promote the application of new skills because it sets an expectation that behavior will change.
Leveraging social media for events is limited only by your imagination. Here are some other ideas:
- Voting via text message or using social media polls
- Creating event pages on Facebook or LinkedIn
- Drawing people to certain areas by creating a digital scavenger hunt
- Live streaming components of the event online
Using social media at events just for the sake of doing it won’t help you achieve any larger objectives, but if you clearly define your goals, you can leverage social media to make the impact your desire. Think about how you can use social media at every stage of the event, including organizing, promoting, improving the experience for attendees, and maintaining the momentum after attendees have gone home.