Many of our Medley Inc. clients prioritize their branding needs in the following order:
2. Public Relations
3. Social Media
Yet based on several events we've coordinated over the past year, we recommend the following order:
2. Social Media
3. Public Relations
We encourage our clients to launch their social media campaign simultaneously with their event. PR is often a natural result of the event + social media. Here are a few of my tips for social media for event planners:
1. Invite A-listers/Celebs Who GET Social Media
The ROI for this is incredible. When a key player at an event is twitpicing, uploading photos to Facebook and engaging with other users and event attendees instantly, you quickly gain exposure to their following and influencers. You've also done what many PR agencies outline in their campaigns: You've given you're event celeb power in a major way.
2. Implement Live Q & A
Whether it's real time Q & A (via Twitter or Facebook) with a presenter/host, or a live stream chat following the event- audience interaction is a must. How cool is it that you can be sitting in the absolute worst seats at an event, but still be closer to the host/presenter than the front row VIPS?
3. Real Time Feedback, Real Time Response
Tune into the negative buzz before it becomes viral and respond. Quickly.
Say you're having an event and an attendee is griping to his or her social media circle about the lack of interaction and face to face connections. You then can take it upon yourself to dazzle this "griper" with your charm and quickly turn those tweets into a positive trending topic. To keep my "ear to the streets" I sware by Twitter Search, Ubertwitter search option and for ongoing web monitoring- Google Alerts.
4. All Events are National..Global, really
Folks are connecting to you from thousands of miles away, and will literally convey that they "feel like they were there," when the social media for your event is done right. Make it a point to be inclusive when targeting event attendees. Yes, invite Sarah from Boston. She WILL tweet about how much she wished she were there in sunny California. She WILL tweet about the event live stream to all of her followers. Online participation can be just as essential as physical presence.
5. Events Become Communities
When possible, get a trending topic for your event going several weeks before the event. Host an online forum before and after the event. Attendees are creating their own community before, during, and after events. They really don't need us (event planners, business owners) to do their thing. They've likely been following each others tweets and are thrilled about the in-person acquaintance, so much that it only makes sense to keep the conversation going. Stay relevant in the dialogue by creating a platform where those participants can keep the conversation going. Get creative, and think of ways to stay in the loop.
These are my tips. Yes, I am completely in awe of how the scope of things have changed for professionals in the PR and Events industry. Isn't it lovely?
(Photo Creds: Brian Ellison)