I really enjoy helping clients amplify their events and activations using Digital Marketing and of course, Social Media. I’ve worked with brands who are hosting sports events, weddings, fashion shows, celebrity twitter chats, obstacle races, award ceremonies, live TV shows and everything in between.
Each event provides new insights and after a lot of FAQ’s, I’ve put together a great checklist to help you make sure you’ve got your basics covered before the big day.
1. Create a Hashtag
The hashtag is the anchor point for all your consumer conversation, as well as your analytics around this particular event. Research your chosen hashtag throughly and make sure it’s relevant and not a hub for porn, or worse, tofies — toe selfies.
2. Introduce it into the conversation
Introduce the hashtag into the online conversation with your audience well ahead of the event. Consider setting up a countdown on social media marking the days to the launch (10 days is a good number). Ask guests and invited influencers to use the event hashtag in their updates around the event. Lastly, ensure that any and all event related content gets posted under the hashtag.
3. Have a giveaway
A giveaway is a cheap and dirty way to build awareness quickly. It’s really as simple as offering up tickets or relevant product on your social platforms, ahead of the event. Incorporate the giveaway with your countdown, or use it as a way to kick things off with a bang.
4. Talk about it
Bring the event into your content schedule. Find ways to talk about the event — the program, the celebrities, the star players and the invited influencers. Consider investing in soem adveritisng to boost specific content and target it to your audience. Personally Twitter ads outstrips Facebook’s advertising platform in terms of eyeballs and awareness and surprisingly targeting (allows for blocking competitors and seeking out consumers based on the followers of a specific twitter account) and it comes highly recommended.
5. Bring Social into the real world
Look for opportunities where you can incorporate your hashtag and pair it with a call-to-action on tangible items. Things like tickets, magazine editorials, arm bands, coffee sleeves, drink coasters — really the list is endless. Make your call-to-actions valuable and ensure they require the consumer to perform a task on social media in order to get a reward.
e.g Ask users to Tweet an image motivating why they need coffee and reward them with a free coffee.
6. Create Social Talking Points
Create talking points at your event that were born to be shared. Make the invites worthy of an Instagram. At the event invest in a photo booth with props (put it near the beer tent), a mirror commanding guests to “Stop and Selfie!”, cocktails with hashtags for names, surprise celebrity performances and displays that look like they walked out of a Pinterest board. The only limit here is your (or your ad agency’s creativity).
7. Hire a Social Media reporter
Brief them (content, tone, guestlistand any legal considerations) and hire smart. Do not hire a wallflower. Make sure they’ve got access to your platforms ahead of time and that they understand your brands tone of voice on social. Make a note to check out the quality of content they produce — blurry pics are the quickest way to take your event status from class to crap.
8. Invite select influencers
Research relevant influencers and invite them to your event. Draw up a list of requirements and expectations they’ll be expected to adhere to and communicate this from the get go. List the number of tweets, instagrams, the dates and even the times. The more specific — the better. Also ensure your reporter has their social media handles ahead of the event and can tag them when relevant. How to nail your influencer marketing strategy.
9. Leverage your social platforms
At the event, find ways to leverage your social platforms. Consider running a competition at the event that requires an action on social media as the entry mechanic . For example, you could have the MC request guests to Instagram their outfit, for a chance to win a complete makeover.
Aside from big competitions, there are easy and simple ways to use events to gain likes, follows and little red hearts. Get your social accounts printed on promotional material, have your hashtag displayed in prominent areas — walls, mirrors, field banners and even go so far as to paint them onto your runway models. Or simply have the MC mention them from time to time.
10. Follow Up Content
Don’t use all of your content up on the first night. You want to get longevity out of this event, so schedule follow up content in the form of event photos, reviews and details of the next event or activation. Encourage guests to tag themselves and friends in the images — again this is simple stuff that helps push you into users feeds. Follow up with guests who attended and encourage them to share their own content, as well as yours.
11. Track everything
Invest in some analytics suites and track mention and hashtags to help you measure engagement on the night. Use your numbers to pinpoint influential guests, influencers that weren’t worth the money paid, and elements within the event that were popular and should be repeated — e.g the social wall.
12. Exploit their 5 minutes of Fame
It’s a universal truth that people want their 5 minutes of fame and this is something that can be exploited for great engagement metrics. Both social walls, like Tint and social printing services like Nifty250 are brilliant for helping push mentions, engagement and naturally awareness through the roof. Ensure they have pride of place at the event and aren’t stuck in some obscure corner.
If you need a social wall, Tint are your guys— their software can handle an extremely high volume of mentions, allows for moderation and works across multiple social networks. Lastly, for social printing, Nifty250 provide a great service in South Africa, allow for brand customisation and are fabulous people to work with.