Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 | 6 min read
Getting people to your event is one thing; getting them to participate once they’re there is another. That’s why it’s crucial to provide incentives for attendees to engage with your brand and make their voices heard. And the most effective way to do that is through social media.
Anyone can put social posts on a screen and call it social integration. If you really want to connect with your audience, you need to weave social media into the fabric of your event planning. You can you take advantage of real-time data, cutting edge visualization techniques, and compelling creative to drum up participation.
Here are four tactics your brand can use to boost social engagement before, during, and after your events.
Learn More about Social Data Visualization
1. Plant A Compelling Call-To-Action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) aren’t just for placing at the end of blog posts and Twitter ads. They’re also important tools for getting people involved at your events.
Now, you might be thinking, “If people show up, of course they’re going to share their experiences on social.” But the truth is, people often need a clear reminder or reason to participate—even if it’s as simple as encouraging attendees to tweet with a certain hashtag. In return, you can offer them a chance to hear their tweet read during a panel, or be entered into a lottery and win special prizes.
Take the Sacramento Kings basketball team, for instance. To drum up participation at events, the team encourages fans to post social updates in exchange for being featured on the jumbotron. The attendee gets to see their name in lights, and the brand gets free content that shows people having a great time.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) October 19, 2016
To brainstorm your own CTA, start by identifying your main goal, such as driving engagement. Then, to help you reach that goal, figure out which action people need to take, like sending a lot of tweets. Finally, think about the what the participant gets out of it, such as seeing themselves on the big screen.
2. Use Snapchat Geofilters
Geofilters are custom graphics that users can access once they enter a certain location. With these fun and exclusive filters, people can personalize their Snaps and show friends what they’re up to. In return, the brand knows that its message is being shared with a wider audience.
For example, MTV used Snapchat to promote this year’s Video Music Awards. The company teamed up with Taco Bell to co-create a geofilter, which was designed by the winner of Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship.
To come up with your own geofilter, you can take a page from Taco Bell and crowdsource your design. Or you can get creative and think about a graphic that’s user-friendly and brand-appropriate. Maybe even check out what your audience is already posting on Snapchat, and use their unique personalities as inspiration.
3. Incorporate Facebook Live
As the new kid on the livestreaming block, Facebook Live has already become the go-to platform for reaching audiences in real-time. (Who could forget Chewbacca mom and her 160 million views?)
You can use Facebook Live to build excitement before your event, engage your community (and people who couldn’t attend) during the event, and even wrap up and get feedback after the event is over.
Take “Narcos,” the Netflix show that promoted its second season by leaking fake footage of a big drug bust—exclusively on Facebook Live. As a result, the video racked up over 600,000 views and 3,000 shares.
Facebook Live is also built for audience participation. With the comments section right below your video, you can easily pull questions for interviews and incorporate relevant suggestions into your stream. This can be especially useful for events that include panels. For example, you might encourage people to submit their inquiries with Twitter hashtags and Facebook Live comments for a truly comprehensive social experience.
4. Gamify the Experience
Nothing gets people riled up like a good competition. With social media, there are plenty of ways to incorporate gamification into your events. For example, you can turn social data into interactive games for your attendees to play. That’s what Postano did at a championship football game in the AT&T Stadium. With a hashtag, fans were able to vote for the song they wanted to hear in the third quarter.
By taking part in this game, attendees had a chance to make their mark on the event. And the organizers behind it generated thousands of new social posts.
Designing a contest for your brand is a great way to get to know your audience better. What are their main interests? What would they be willing to vote for? You can even run social contests for special prizes like company swag, gift certificates, or exclusive access to future events.
Making Your Events More Social
When you’re planning an event, social media should never be a last-minute effort; it should be baked into every aspect of your production. Sure, it can be tempting to slap a hashtag on a poster and hope for the best. But if you truly want to engage your community and generate high-quality content, you have to actively motivate people to participate.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and techniques to help you do this—from Snapchat Geofilters to Facebook Live and Twitter hashtags. You just have to figure how you want your audience to contribute. From there, you can incorporate their favorite social platforms and get creative by incentivizing them to take action.
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