By: Charelle Bennett | @RellyB23 Times have certainly changed. Going to a Spice Girls concert in 1998 is drastically different from going to a Black Eyed Peas concert today, and not just because of the crazy outfits. There was one thing missing back then that we have everywhere today: social media. In an age where almost everything has gone virtual, it’s not surprising to find a room full of people at a conference on their smartphones typing away or swiping on their iPads like crazy.
The technology of social interaction has transformed the environment of a live event, conference, or an entertainment show. For example, at the Business Insider's Ignition conference, panels were streamed live into the press room, allowing the press to take notes and write stories without bothering everyone. Have you been to an event lately with a screen displaying a tweet stream or Facebook feed? Event organizers are getting more and more creative about taking advantage of the power of social media.
Beyond engaging attendees, effective use of social media at your event can be a great way to catch the attention of others who are not in attendance. When people start tweeting and posting on Facebook about what a great time they are having at a concert or interesting bits of information about a conference session, their friends and followers then learn about your event.
There are a few ways you can encourage interactions from event attendees and make sure your event social media is successful.
- Choose a hashtag or find the hashtag the organizers of the event have chosen. Know your audience so you can determine what topics to tweet and post about to encourage the most interaction. Hashtags and handles are the epitome of the event interaction. The hashtag is used for interaction and conversations. The handle is used for promoting the product or vendor holding/sponsoring the event.
- Print your hashtag or social media account on shirts, signs, banners... anything. You can sell these items or have event volunteers wear them. Visuals are a necessity. Even pens and coffee mugs prove effective. Just make sure your hashtag, twitter handle or Facebook URL are seen.
- Set up the big screen. Display it and they will come. Concerts, conferences, receptions, business networking, and cocktail events are only a few examples of opportunities to set up screens to display social media feeds on. Attendees will be more likely to post comments and questions when they see the proof of their efforts. It’s interesting to see a conversation on a big screen because you find out things you can only learn from others.
- Staff is the glue to it all. Your staff should be responsible for making your Twitter name known and encouraging attendees to post on social media. Announcing the hashtags, wearing hashtag shirts, and displaying banners or signs are all important methods of ensuring your audience knows where to find you on social media sites.
Remember, what social media resources you choose for your live event and how you use them all depend on what kind of event your company is hosting or attending. Your chosen platforms, method of delivery, topics and interactions should pertain to your audience and what is most likely to excite them at the moment.