The day of your event has arrived, but your work as an event organiser is far from done. In addition to hosting and facilitating, you should know about the many ways to use social media at events.
Social media can be beneficial for all types of events but is downright crucial for large-scale events like music festivals, business conferences, exhibitions, and trade shows.
The more people that attend your event, the easier it is for everyone to feel disconnected. Social media is your way of connecting everyone and creating a community.
In this article, we’ll cover 12 kick-ass ways to use social media at events so you can expand your reach and continue the conversation online where everyone can participate.
1. Use event hashtags
An event hashtag lets people on social media stay up to date with your event. It also allows them to share their own content to the same stream as your marketing content.
The social media platforms where hashtags are most relevant are:
You should do your best to promote your event hashtag before, during, and after the event.
Make sure that you include your event hashtag in the following places:
- Event website
- Social media accounts
- Marketing collateral
- Event tickets
- Venue signage
Tip: Read this guide on how to create an event hashtag to help you pick the right one.
2. Set up social media groups
In addition to hashtags, you should use social media groups to keep the conversations around your event in one place. Encourage group members to use the event hashtag.
Here are some examples of social media groups you can set up for your event:
Similar to the event hashtag, social media groups create a space for your attendees to discuss the event highlights and give you valuable insight into their experience and expectations.
3. Create a selfie wall
All major events will have a “selfie wall”: This is typically a wall branded with the event title, logo, and hashtag. Attendees can take selfies in front of it and share these to their social media profile.
Some alternatives to the classic selfie wall include:
Make sure that whatever selfie opportunity you create is well-advertised. You can, for example, put up signs pointing in its direction.
4. Set up a photo booth
A good alternative to the selfie wall (or similar selfie spot) is a dedicated photo booth. Attendees can use it to take pictures of themselves and their friends.
5. Simplify social sharing
The best practice for selling tickets to your event is to have as few steps as possible between people discovering your event and buying a ticket. The same goes for social media sharing.
Use the following tools to make it as easy as possible for people to share your event:
- Social sharing buttons on all your online promo material like blog posts
- A list of social media friends who’ve already bought a ticket for the event
- Social sharing pop-up that encourages people to share that they’re attending
6. Incentivise social sharing
You can increase the number of social shares you get during your event by providing attendees with an incentive to share images and footage along with your event hashtag.
The best way to do that is to set up a competition. For instance, you could give out an award or a gift voucher to the best selfie or funniest video from the event.
Tip: Check out this guide on how to set up a contest to encourage social sharing during events.
7. Share speaker or performer content
Many events host speakers or performers. This is a great opportunity to leverage their following on social media platforms.
You can tweet (or create image memes) with the best quotes from your speaker. Likewise, you can share images and footage of the performers. Just remember the hashtag.
8. Share behind-the-scenes content
Show people how the sausage is made. It won’t necessarily be glamorous, but it will add a personal and a human touch to the work you do. And guess what: People love that.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Take them backstage before a speaker or performer goes on
- Show them how the food is prepared in the kitchen
- Do a time-lapse of your team decorating the venue
We’re all curious creatures, so use your social media channels to give attendees a peek behind the scenes.
9. Use social media polls
Polls and questions on social media are also great ways to interact with your attendees during the event. Twitter polls are particularly good for real-time polling.
Here are some things you can ask them to start the conversation:
- Which speaker/entertainer did you like the most?
- What has been the highlight of the event so far?
- What is your favourite part of the venue?
It’s important that you have a member of your team ready to answer all the comments from the attendees and facilitate the discussion.
10. Live stream (parts of) the event
If you have access to great WiFi at the event, you should definitely consider live streaming key parts of the event. These could be speeches, performances, or audience reactions.
Bear in mind that many social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, limit live streams to around 60-120 minutes at a time. Make sure you cover the most important moments.
Live streams also enable attendees (and those who couldn’t make it) to comment and ask questions. Make sure there’s someone from your team ready to reply to all of them.
Tip: We’ve covered live streaming events at length in our ultimate guide.
11. Activate your team
Your event team should play an integral part of your social media campaign during the event. The team includes staff, volunteers, sponsors, and anyone else involved with the event.
You should have team members dedicated to the following:
- Managing your live stream
- Replying to comments on social media
- Helping people using the photo booth
- Record behind-the-scenes footage
- Encourage people to use the selfie wall
Make sure that they are all briefed on the points mentioned in this article and take an active role in promoting the event and responding to attendee engagements.
12. Have all the right tools
Finally, it’s important that you have all the right tools at hand. Test the venue’s WiFi connection prior to the event. It will most likely be pushed to the very limit during the festivities.
You should also invest in a social media monitoring tool so you can keep track of all the conversations happening across the different social media platforms. Some good tools include:
Let’s get social
Boom. That was everything you needed to know about using social media at events. You can get as creative with any of these ideas as you want—just make sure you use them!
Did we miss anything that you’ve seen used at events? Share it with us in the comments section below, and we’ll add it to the list!