Social media is one of the world’s biggest multi-billion-dollar industry and is a great platform that can help you to promote a business objective in multiple ways, especially when used correctly. At a recent event I attended there was a ‘millennial’ panel discussion debating what delegates want from the future of their conference experience. The panellists who were all millennials touched on how they don’t necessarily use social media for events, and the importance of meeting the audience needs.
Throughout the discussion, the topic of social media cropped up a few times and there was just one statement that stood out for me. The statement was, “there were no benefits to using social media for events. Delegates were more interested in the experience rather than using social media.” A bold statement without context.
I looked over to my colleague for reassurance to make sure I had heard this correctly. Plus, couldn’t fully comprehend such a thought!
Social media is one of the world’s biggest multi-billion-dollar industry and is a great platform that can help you to promote a business objective in multiple ways, especially when used correctly.
So, why wouldn’t social media be beneficial for events?
When organising an experiential event for your delegates you want them to be able to engage and be fully immersed in the experience. Knowing who your target audience is and the key objectives you want to get across in your event will help you to understand the audience needs and wants and provide a platform for them to be a part of the conversation. Being present and “in the moment” at an event is a rewarding feeling for any event host but with a generation of people who communicate more with technology, this allows content to be received at a much faster pace and instantly.
3.1 billion people across the planet now use social media (13% up from last year) and with that 5.1 billion use a mobile device (4% up from last year) enabling users to have more access to social media on the go. Some prime examples are having connectable Wi-Fi, great aesthetics for imagery and the use of a GOOD #hashtag – this will ensure that your event is social media friendly which makes the process smoother, and ultimately provides a platform for people to join in with the conversation in real time.
Of course, it’s all about the personal experience and what the delegate will come away feeling, however you want your delegates to use their phone or app, to shout about their experiences and stimulate engagement, as this will ultimately have a greater impact on your business and event. So, to my surprise, when the panellists told us that social media wasn’t something they really use for events and that they do not see the benefits as their audiences don’t engage with it, as, (in their minds) it’s leaning towards a phased-out portal, was an interesting stance to hear.
Maybe the ‘millennial’ panel have experienced social media as one of the tools that hasn’t really worked out for them, or the platform they are using may not target their specific audience. That’s why it’s so important to research and choose the right platform for your business. Social media creates a face for any given brand and without this, it can ultimately make your brand faceless and your audience not interact and join in the conversation as much as you would like.
Below I’ve highlighted some key factors on how to ensure social media is a triumph for your business.
"3.1 billion people across the planet now use social media (13% up from last year) and with that 5.1 billion use a mobile device (4% up from last year) enabling users to have more access to social media on the go."
• Know your target audience – who is your target demographic? What is the estimated age range? What interests does your business and content you are creating have in common? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself in order to create content suitable for your brand.
• Use a #hashtag – having a hashtag at your event enables the audience to join in on the conversation about the event. You can track this in real time and measure some great statistics with the information.
• Tone of voice – what is your brand's personality? What does your company represent? Are you a creative agency? Do you specialise in events? Do you sell a tangible product? Are you a charity? Knowing all of these things will enable you to use a tone of voice to be an ambassador for your brand or company and people will see this with the content you provide on your social channels.
• Don’t use every social media channel if you are unsure of your audience. Use a social media portal that represents your company and represents it well. Don’t have every channel if you aren’t utilising all its advantages. There is nothing worse than having a LinkedIn account with no engaging content or connections.
Overall, social media is truly needed for events to help push and drive your brand or company voice. Social media can be used to help your audience be actively engaged and involved in the conversation as well as to enjoy the overall experience. I believe we need to adapt to latest technologies for us, as industry experts, to be the best innovators and grow our future events and businesses. Try new things, create reports, tag your location, measure your social media presence in order for this to be utilised at your events. It really does work!
By Olivia Blackstock – PR & Social Media Executive