Winning Social Media for Conferences and Events

HOW TO RUN

Planning an event or a conference? Do you have a social media plan?

If you want to make the most of your efforts, the time to start planning is now! A great event social media plan can help you:

  • Build buzz around your event
  • Attract great speakers 
  • Sell more tickets
  • Make your attendees feel welcome and well cared for
  • Show your sponsors ROI 

Even if you don’t have a ton of experience running social media for events, you can do this!

To get you started, here are some of the best ideas and tips from the experts we’ve worked with and the events we’ve helped plan.

Set up your event or conference’s social media accounts and decide who is primarily responsible for manning them.

Make sure passwords are stored for easy access. This basic step might be the most critical! Pick a recognizable name for the account (ie: Your Event) and be consistent. Use the same account name and avatar image across all the platforms you might want to use on social. Even if you don’t plan to use a platform, set up an account. It will make your life easier later if the Snapchat and Periscope (etc) accounts are already there and all set up.

If your event is being organized or publicized by someone with a large following,  have them share messages originating from the event account, and encourage others to follow the event.

Pick one main event hashtag.

Like with all hashtag decisions – your best bet when picking a hashtag is to keep it simple and avoid variations –  stick to your single main hashtag.

Will the event repeat yearly? Having the year in the hashtag will limit the longevity of the hashtag, but might be useful if you have an unusually high volume of tweets and want to limit the discussion around the event to one place/time. Otherwise, think twice before adding the year to the hashtag, particularly if you want to use your hashtag to grow community year round.

Event hashtags can easily turn into community hashtags, hosting attendee conversation year round. If community is your goal, pick a hashtag that will stand the test of time.

Use your Hashtag everywhere.

If you want people to know, use, and search the hashtag when looking for information about your event you need to get that hashtag out there!

Make sure you are including your hashtag in/on:

  • Event website
  • Event social media account biography/description
  • Event registration sites
  • Printed event promotional materials
  • Printed event agendas
  • Event mobile apps (include a link to tweet with the event hashtag)
  • Event emails and newsletters
  • Event swag and freebies
  • Event signage
  • Event badges for attendees
  • Event press kits
  • Event contests

Create a multi platform social media publishing plan with messages AND images.

Now is the time to brainstorm messaging that includes both informational and visual assets to share between now and the close of your event.  Compile your messages and visual materials, then schedule posts to go live before, during and after your event.

Not sure what sort of content you should be scheduling and sharing? No problem. We have a list of suggestions to get you started:

Before:

  • Teasers from past events – Share images that show what happened last time…
  • Share beautiful photos of the event location/venue
  • Post a call for speakers if you are still looking for speakers
  • Post speaker announcements
  • Promote speakers – post links to speaker’s sites and/or materials & mention they will be at event
  • Post facts, maps, tips about getting to and staying at the venue (airport maps, subway maps,  public transportation and parking info – anything that could help attendees have a better travel experience)
  • Post tips for attendees including nearby places to eat, where to stay, what to see, complete with maps, photos of the food, etc.  Note: potential sponsor opportunity! 

During:

  • Post welcome messages greeting attendees. Show off some swag or event signage in a photo.
  • Post information about registration hours, areas. Include a photo of the area or map of the venue.
  • “Day of” scheduling reminders.  A photo of a cup of coffee with the event logo is a great visual accompaniment to a post about where breakfast is being served.
  • Post reminders about upcoming sessions.  Create accompanying images that include speaker photos and session titles.
  • Post links that tell non attendees where to get more information such as watch a livestream, download a deck, follow on social, sign up for next year etc. Include images that repeat the call to action.
  • Create some contests and promotions to run during the event, with the goal of increasing engagement and future sign ups.  Include images that repeat the event hashtag and call to action.

After:

  • Share an event recap, include photos
  • Provide links to assets (slideshare, video etc)
  • Send out thank you notes and congratulations to speakers
  • Post about next time

Don’t forget to use your hashtag and whenever possible include an image. Visual posts have much more impact!

Get some help! Consider assigning/hiring staff or recruiting influencers to help with live social media efforts during the event. 

Some specific people & tasks to consider:

  • Someone to man the conference/event account during the event. This person will be responsible for answering questions and re-sharing good content being shared by attendees.
  • Someone to live tweet the event during sessions, using the event hashtag.
  • Someone to live stream the event via Periscope, with the event hashtag.
  • Someone to post live to Snapchat and/or Instagram on your account (and/or theirs if they are an influencer).
  • Someone to take candid photos live and upload to a group sharing site for social media use by your team

Sign up for Social Media support, monitoring and display services.

If you are following the plan above, you will definitely need to sign up for a social media scheduling service, such as TweetDeck. This is a great start.

Your efforts will be much rewarded if you also set up the following:

  • A hashtag tracking and analytics dashboard that allows you to monitor event buzz, engage with influencers and identify the content that is resonating the most, in real time.
  • A streaming social media wall display that encourages and rewards social media participation
  • A few Promoted Tweets before and during your event, if needed, to get more eyes on your messages.
  • A worst case scenario plan. It’s not likely that your event will get “hashjacked” or taken over by porn spam bots, but in theory, it could happen. It’s a good idea for your entire team to have a plan and know how to respond to spammers and trolls.

Make a tech plan and review with team members & venue. 

Your plan should include adequate wifi for both event attendees and your team members. Team members should all have access to a secure document that includes any vital social media account information they may have to access,  passwords for wifi and diagrams of all physical equipment set up.

Work with your venue ahead of time to be sure all equipment is present, labeled and accounted for on the day of your event.

Got any more pro tips for running social media at an event or conference? Tweet us @Hashtracking! 

 

 

 

About Ciaran Blumenfeld

Ciaran Blumenfeld is a serial entrepreneur with a pedigree in marketing & advertising. She's one of the original co-founders of Hashtracking. She enjoys a strong, engaged personal social media presence with footholds in the parenting, lifestyle and travel markets. As a marketer Ciaran can be found overseeing multi-platform digital campaigns from strategy to execution. This is when her geek side shows.

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