If you ran MuckFestTM MS, a 5K full of obstacles and giant pits of mud that leaves you hilariously covered from head to toe in muck, you’d want to brag about it! And as you snapped a selfie” then shared it with your friends on social media, we at MuckFest MS would send up a cheer – because you just became the newest member of our marketing team.
As an event marketer big on social sharing, I can’t stress how important social media engagement should be to your brand’s marketing and participant support strategy. Whether you are driving recruitment, answering questions, sharing real-time on-event updates, or celebrating a successful event by posting photos, participants expect to have a relationship with your event through social media channels. In today’s event world, engaging your participants through social media is crucial to the success of your event. Empowered and engaged participants who are spreading digital enthusiasm to their own networks are helping you to achieve the strongest, most trusted type of marketing – word of mouth.
As you think ahead to your plans for 2014, one of the most important questions you can ask is: Are you utilizing best practices for on-event social media? Here are some tips on how to make sure that your social media strategy is a #victory and not a #fail.
- Link the conversation directly to your event pages on social media.It’s great if someone is posting about your event, but if they’re not linking to your event, then you don’t get to be a part of the conversation. Post your social media pages and the event #hashtag on all of your social networks, make this information prominent on your website, include it in your emails, and showcase it on event with signage.
- Interact with your followers and fans. Taking the time to “like”, “favorite”, or a very simple comment will show your audience that you are listening and value their opinions and feedback. Engaging with your participants via social media is a great way to help ensure your brand and messaging are being delivered consistently and appropriately. Mostly though, it shows that your event and your organization cares and takes the time to show it.
- Don’t forget to empower your proudest, most active users. Your biggest fans are like megaphones, each sharing your brand message to their own network of followers. Make sure they know you are grateful for their support. Showing them this kind of encouragement will inspire them to remain connected! Ask people to share photos and personal stories with you. Asking participants to share their photos and stories with you is a great way to showcase your strongest brand representatives- the people attending and participating in your event. As mentioned above, don’t forget to acknowledge their content with a “like”, “favorite”, or comment. If it really speaks to you, you can even share, retweet, or reblog the photo or story. Getting the opportunity to see the event through the lens of your participants is such a compelling and inspiring way to share it with everyone associated with your event. Often times, they’re able to catch some of the fun and magic that your own staff may not be able to get because they’re busy behind the scenes making sure the event is a success. It’s also a wonderful way to get to know your participants better and provides you with a way to connect with them on a whole new level.
- Share relevant event information and links to your event website. You’ve heard the expression lead a horse to water, right? Using social media channels to direct your participants to places on your website that house large amounts of information is a key way to proactively get in front of questions as your event draws nearer.Is there a page on your website that has of the answers, like an event-specific page or a FAQ section? We’ve found that linking to these kind of pages more frequently as the event approaches, reduces the number of questions from participants immediately before the event.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve already embraced the world of social media, we know it can be overwhelming. At the end of the day, you need to focus on the network that is right for you and use the tools in a way that makes sense for your organization. With all of the options out there, focus your efforts where your team’s time and energy will bring the greatest return, whether on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr, or countless other sites. Most importantly, get out there and have fun!
Katie Zupancic’s focus as the Marketing Coordinator at Event 360 is on MuckFest MS, an event that rallies participants for a mucky romp through mud and obstacles in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. Katie loves exploring Chicago with her tiny dog, listening to live music, and rooting for the Indianapolis Colts. Connect with her on social media via LinkedIn or on Twitter using @KatieZup.