Merritt Group Blog

9 Tips for Using Social Media at Events

Merritt Group celebrates Social Media Day 2015Today marks Mashable’s 6th annual Social Media Day, a day that recognizes and celebrates the impact of social media on our communications. New channels have already had a profound impact on the way we produce and consume information – from making us into more pithy writers to helping us follow breaking news on the ground. These new communication tools have also opened doors for more engagement and conversations around live events, such as industry tradeshows and vendor conferences. In fact, a recent report showed that a whopping 89% of respondents found social media at events valuable.

So as you prepare for your next event, where does social media fit? 

Below are a few tips to maximize your social media presence, engage with key audiences, and hopefully, gain a few new followers along the way:

Before the Event

1. Define your goals: At the end of the day, what does success look like? Do you want to be a thought leader around a topic? Booth traffic? New followers? More conversations with influencers? By setting clear, measurable goals up front, you can create a game plan that works to best meet your needs.
2. Determine your assets: Does your company have any speaking sessions or sponsored events to promote? Will you be exhibiting? Why should attendees visit your booth? Are there any existing resources such as blog posts or infographics that might be valuable to attendees? Does the event host any social meet-ups? Are you following social properties of the event? 
3. Plan the logistics: Who will support social media onsite? Do they have access to the necessary accounts? Will there be Wi-Fi onsite?
4. Start connecting: Do you have relationships with any influencers attending? If so, this is a great time to reach out and schedule meetings, and understand their role and interests around the event.
5. Develop content: Begin drafting posts around interesting sessions, existing content, and speaking sessions to schedule during the week. This will alleviate some of the burden during the actual event and free up your time to focus on live conversations. 

During the Event

6. Coordinate Coverage: Who will live-tweet from which sessions, and from which social media accounts? Who will be responsible for monitoring conversations and engaging with other users?
7. Monitor: Track the event's hashtag and relevant influencers to follow conversations, and be ready to engage, where appropriate.
8. Engage: Thank visitors for stopping by the booth, ask questions, and respond to others' questions.

After the Event 

9. Measure: Based on initial goals, how did you do? How many conversations took place? How many booth visitors did you have? How many leads did you capture? How many followers did you gain?

At the end of the day, social media comes down to providing value. And it’s no different when using social media for events. With each post and interaction, ask how you can educate, inform, guide, spur new thinking, and be a resource for your audience. Because THAT is why we celebrate social media and its impact today, and why it will continue to shape the way we communicate.

Topics: social media