A year’s worth of social engagement from your one event
So your event, fair, show or conference is once a year, but all you ever hear about is how social media is 24/7/365 and how active you have to be. You’re told about being engaging, algorithms, building and maintaining a strong social community, paid vs organic content, influencers, customer service and all the other intricacies of social media. You work all year prepping and planning for your event, by the time it arrives, you’re in go-mode, and when it’s over you want to take a well-deserved breather before jumping right back into next year’s planning.
And then you’re reminded again about social media being 24/7/365. It can be exhausting. But a strategic plan that includes before, during and after-event social media management will help alleviate much of the stress.
Here are 5 ways you can keep your community and audience engaged year-round when your event is not.
Capture anything and everything
A strong asset library is half the work to social media. It is the priority because a lack of visual assets makes most of the other steps on this list almost impossible. My favorite and most-given advice on social media is, “capture now, post later.” It’s not always feasible to stop what you’re doing and get something edited and posted. However, we almost always have a smartphone on our person these days. Use the camera and record on your phone. Most smartphone cameras are in sync with social media specs and capture really great footage and images perfect for social platforms. You can always develop the story you want to go with the image and add a funny caption or witty or inspiring quote later. But you can’t capture your audience’s attention on social with text alone. You need visuals, and you need a variety of those visual assets to take advantage of algorithms that reward videos, reels and stories.
Keep a social media calendar for evergreen content
Is it #LoveYourPetDay and does your brand fit in this space? This is an easy way to keep your feed fresh, relevant and increase engagement just by knowing what is happening and being prepared. Keeping up with official holidays, seasons, days of recognition and being active in your community on relevant days with hashtags all increase your reach and engagement. But make sure when you’re using these days, you’re still providing value to your audience and not simply being performative or generic. It’s best when you can apply images/videos captured during your event to overlap with specific topics – then your audience not only relates to seeing themselves, but they also associate your brand with that day.
Throw it back
Maybe you don’t need to fill every Thursday of the calendar year with a #TBT post, but strategically scheduled reminders are an easy way to boost your content to your audience. They attended your event for a reason. A throwback post is a reminder of what they enjoyed at your event and helps them look forward to next time.
Your social channels is a event billboard
Consider your social channels as a billboard for what is going on before, during and after your event on the mainstage and behind the scenes. Social users want to feel connected to the brands they follow. They also want value-added content and to be informed. Giving them a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes or areas they otherwise wouldn’t see by attending, meets all three needs: connecting, value and information. Remember people relate to stories and people – the preparation that goes into your event and your team who help make it happen are part of your story. Additionally, you can use social media to keep your audience informed about changes in schedules or continually updating public health protocols, or to tease new attractions or keynote speakers. No matter what you’re focusing on, remembering your social platforms are a billboard for your audience is important.
User generated content (UGC)
Work with your community and don’t be afraid to turn your channels over to an influencer, and/or share UGC. User-generated content (UGC) is not a trend that is going anywhere, it’s here to stay. More importantly, it’s helping brands boost reach, increase their voice and trust with their audience. Let some of the leaders in your community take over for a day to allow your audience to see things through a different or maybe like-minded perspective. Invite them to your office on a workday so they can also take advantage of “behind-the-scenes” happenings and offer their perspective on that too. People are looking for experiences, and turning your social channels over or sharing UGC helps share experiences from the perspectives of your attendees. Use social listening tools and pay attention to trends, who the community leaders are and what the conversations online about your brand are – it’s the best way to be your own brand advocate and to engage back with your audience online.
A lot of work, planning, preparation and time go into making sure your event goes off without a hitch – and even when there is a hitch, you have contingency plans in place to prevent your attendees from seeing these – and you want those who attend to have the best experience possible. In today’s digital world though, you have to account for both in-person and virtual experiences. You can’t expect your loyal audience to do all the heavy lifting and pay attention to your pages for a short time each year. A little planning and preparation into your social presence can keep engagement going year-round.
If you aren’t already, give these 5 steps a try and see what your metrics and analytics do.