Mar 31, 2015 by David Becker

Social Media: How To Keep Your Attendees Engaged

Social media engagement at events is not a no brainer. It needs strategic planning and execution in real-time. Coming up with a well-rounded strategy is crucial for the success of your social media plan. This is how you can ensure that guests actually interact with you.

While planning your event and developing your strategy, think of opportunities to create incentives for your guests to incorporate your social media, encourage guest interaction with your event and with each other, and to keep engagement going after the event is over.

Create Photo Ops

Many people are already going to be looking for opportunities to promote their attendance at events, but there will still be plenty of guests who’ll need a bit more of a nudge in the right direction to post to their networks about your event or make use of any accounts or hashtags you’ve set up. For both types of guests, you can create incentives directly and indirectly. Whether it’s for Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, the most successful kind of post is a visual one, so the first step is to make sure your event is prime for snapping photos.

Along with a well-designed event, setting up visual aids to help spark people’s interest in taking and sharing pics is always a good step. An eye-catching display, a cute photo-op, or interactive photo booth are all safe bets for getting people to line up with their smart phones. Just be sure that the name of your client or event can be easily seen in these areas. This way, even if guests aren’t plugging in to your social media in particular, you’re still getting the exposure you’re looking for with their networks.

Have A Contest

Or, you can more directly encourage engagement by creating an incentive with social media contests. There are several ways to go about this. Setting up an Instagram photo contest is one of the easiest options. Ask guests to tag posts with your event or contest’s hashtag and let them know the coolest, funniest, or most inspiring entry wins a prize related to your event or client. You can either choose the winner yourself, base the winner on the highest number of likes, or leave it up to a vote from attendees. You can easily apply this same kind of idea to Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform of your choosing.

Create A Social Media Scavenger Hunt

If you want to set up something a bit more involved, try a social media scavenger hunt. Come up with a dozen or so tasks for your guests to accomplish throughout your event and post the challenge on your social media accounts in the days leading up to your event, as well as have them accessible once they arrive. Have them post a photo with the tag for the scavenger hunt, and everyone who completes the whole thing gets rewarded. Mix it up with some basics – like taking a selfie in different areas of the event to encourage guests to take in everything you’ve been working on – with things that are a bit more fun and challenging that encourages more interaction with your event and other guests.

Make Sure To Monitor & Engage Back

It’s also important to keep in mind that the best use of social media is not a one-way conversation. Guests tend to feel discouraged if they feel that their efforts are being met with silence. Have someone on your team in charge of monitoring social media engagement during the event and make sure they’re interacting with your social media and attendees too. Respond to questions and address positive comments as well as confusion or complaints. Retweet or share particularly exciting or insightful posts. Have a live display of your guests’ best posts in a main area of your event, or projected behind a speaker or presentation. Not only will this get people to put in more of an effort in participating in your event and social media with the hopes of being picked for the display, but it will also give guests a chance to get to know one another and encourage networking. You can also make some aspects of your event dependent on your guests’ engagement with social media. If you’re having speakers, let guests know that they can tweet their questions to your event’s hashtag instead of doing a traditional Q&A session.

Don’t Forget About Post Event Engagement!

Now, as much as you want guests engaging with your social media at the event itself, an ideal strategy would include encouraging interaction once the event is over. By revisiting posts from the event and having more time to look around your client’s social media profiles, guests can relive your fabulous event, better process your message, expand their network, and take steps to continue their relationship with your client in the future. Think of the content your create for this step as the special features on a DVD. While people who couldn’t make it to the event might enjoy the highlights, give the guests who were there some extra, intriguing content that would get them to reconnect with your social media. Behind-the-scenes photos, interviews with speakers, interesting links to related content, or special promotions for in-the-know attendees are all incentives for people to click on your hashtag long after they’ve left.

Of course, there’s always the primary cause for people to interact with social media: themselves. Having a professional photographer or videographer at the event with promise of the final products being available on your social media pages is a great way to get guests to check things out a few days later to see if there are any good shots of them. Just because you’re out of sight, it doesn’t have to mean you’re out of mind.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to have your guests engaged before, during, and after your event! For more information check out The Top 3 Social Media Metrics You Need To Keep Track Of.

Happy Planning!