Have you ever been tasked with the job of managing social media for events? It’s a big job and one that seems to go on and on.
You are responsible for building awareness, selling tickets, managing attendee queries, keeping the momentum going during the event, ensuring that people are using the right hashtag and dealing with issues that arise.
By the time the event is over your energy levels are close to zero. But your job isn’t finished. There will still be attendees making requests, sharing their content and experiences. You need to be keep marketing, capitalizing on the warm after event glow.
I spoke to Beatrice Whelan, author of “Trending: The Complete Guide To Social Media for Events”. She describes the three stages of event marketing as:
Before, during and after. Before the event, prospects will be at different stages of the event marketing funnel from awareness to comparison and finally to decision. During and after the event, your attendees are in the retention and advocacy stage of the funnel. Your marketing objectives and social media metrics will be different for each phase of the event and at each stage of the funnel.
In this post, I’m going to discuss these three stages of event marketing and look at the ways Agorapulse can help you with each.
Before the event
Connect with your audience
If this is a brand new event, you’ll need to start building your audience from scratch. Make a list of your confirmed speakers, acts or celebrities. These are the people that will attract your attendees. Finding their fans is a good start. Next look for events similar to your own that attract the same audience and keywords related to your event.
Armed with this list go and find your audience.
In Agorapulse, set up search queries for Twitter and Instagram using your search term list. To do this, access the Agorapulse dashboard and click on the Instagram or Twitter account you want to use. On the right-hand side of the screen click ‘Searches.’ Let’s take this channel by channel.
Add one of your search terms to the window that appears. Scroll down and you can filter results by location and language. Preview your search before you save it. You may wish to exclude results mentioning specific words that give you inaccurate results. For example, the Irish town I live in is called ‘Athy’, I had to filter results to only those in the English language as it seems to be a popular word in Japanese.
I also needed to filter out some Twitter handles as some unrelated accounts were using Athy as part of their username. To excluded a username add from:username to the ‘Words to ignore’ text box.
Follow this process for each of your search terms.
There’s another use for you as an event marketer for this search function. When I ran Blog Awards Ireland we kept a Twitter list of all our sponsors. This made it easier to share their content with our community. But Twitter is clunky, it’s time consuming to jump from list to list.
In Agorapulse you can monitor tweets from your sponsors. Instead of monitoring keywords as I’ve shown you above monitor your sponsors tweets. To do this use the search operator from:sponsorusername (no @) You can add all your sponsors to one search making it easy for you to scan through them in one bunch.
Click on ‘Monitoring’ on the right-hand side of the Agorapulse dashboard and click ‘new search’. You have the option of searching by hashtag or location.
In the before phase of your event marketing focus on location or hashtags popular with your target market. This will help you identify people you can connect with and begin to build relationships with in the run up to the event.
During the event it’s all about your own hashtag.
Now you have built a community, you need to start regularly sharing content with them. You’ll have your blog posts, curated content and most importantly calls to action to buy tickets.
It can be hard to find time to fit updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn into your schedule when you are busy building an audience and nurturing relationships with attendees, sponsors and other stakeholders.
To ensure your message is getting out sit down once a week and schedule these crucial posts using Agorapulse.
During the event
It’s the day of your event. There’s a tinge of nervous excitement in the air. Your team is going over the fine details of the day to ensure everything is in place.
Your job is to make attendees feel valued online, to create content that will make those not in the room envious that they aren’t there and ready to buy their ticket for the next event.
You have a lot of work to do!
In the before phase you set up broad monitoring terms to find people to target for the event. Today it’s all about you and the hashtag. Set up new searches for your hashtag, your event name, your venue and any possible misspellings of your event name or hashtag.
Keep an eye on the content as it comes in and make sure you are hyper-responsive, particularly to attendees. If people are sharing good photos and content on Twitter, retweet them. Leave chatty comments on their Instagram posts.
Somehow you have to find time to create content during the event itself. You can’t do everything. Who is going to be where during the event? Give your team specific instructions to grab specific images and quotes from your speakers or talent.
PRO TIP: If you have speakers at your event talk to them beforehand, ask them if there is any specific quote or moment they are going to share. You can prepare images with these quotes in advance and share them after the talk.
You might also consider giving free tickets to content creators in exchange for them taking photos and creating images for you.
After the event
The day after the event is the best time to put your post-event plan into action. Look at the tweets from the day that used your hashtag. Use the ‘Users’ tab in your Agorapulse Twitter dashboard. This shows you all the people who have interacted with you, your hashtags or used other monitored terms.
Filter this list by ‘engagers’ (represented by the green speech bubble icon), Ambassadors (represented by the blue loud megaphone icon) and Influencers (represented by the gold trophy icon). You can also export this list for future use.
When you click on a specific username, you can view their recent interactions and tweets that fit your monitored search terms.
Look through the tweets that your Engagers, Ambassadors & Influencers shared about the event and create a blog post curated from the top tweets from the day.
If you don’t have a blog, use Storify to curate a picture of the day from these tweets.
Why use tweets from these people? They have shown their advocacy of your brand already, if you let them know they appear in your curated blog posts and Storify stories, they will amplify your posts by sharing them.
Follow the same process on Instagram but this time look for great photos from your engagers, ambassadors and likers. You can embed their images in a curated blog post as suggested above or you can request permission to regram their photos to your audience.
Look at your Twitter and Instagram reports for the duration of your event. Use it to analyze what worked best for you, who your top followers are and which posts were the most effective. Download a PowerPoint version and integrate it into sponsor pitches in the run up to your next event.
Your event marketing doesn’t stop here. You need to maintain your accounts throughout the year. Look for opportunities to connect with your existing audience and build it further.
Beatrice Whelan, quoted at the beginning of this article, told me how Hubspot use their ‘Inbound’ event blog and social media for events throughout the year. They write blog posts about other events that will attract a similar target market. This tactic builds awareness for their own upcoming event.
Keep a keen eye on your monitoring and always be on the look out for ways to become part of the conversations your audience is having.
What tools do you use to monitor and publish social media for events? Let us know in the comments!