When social media first came out, many believed that it was just a passing fad, or a trend. Now that it’s clear that social media is here to stay, it’s important to be using it to benefit your brand, or in this case, your event. You’ve probably noticed many social media trends across your own personal feeds. Posting on social media, like any form of marketing, will produce no return on investment unless you have a strategy to back it up.
We’re guessing you want to sell tickets, fill the room, and ensure guests have the best possible experience with your brand while attending. We think that helping businesses and brands be successful is trendy so we like to share tips and tricks. For our next act, we’d like to share some social media trends that you can tap into for your next event; we promise – they will benefit your event attendees and your digital following!
1. Live Chat
Oftentimes, people don’t like to post their inquiries or concerns in a public space – whether this be for fear of backlash from brand advocates or being publicly ignored. Private messaging popularity is constantly growing; it allows for a more personal interaction, and that can allow brand loyalty to build at a quicker pace. People feel more valued when they are being spoken to in a one-on-one environment rather than being shouted at (to the masses) on a brand page.
WhatsApp has 1.2 billion monthly active users while Messenger (Facebook) has a billion monthly active users 
Tapping into live-chat is a sure-fire way to guarantee you are where your customers are, when they need you, which is one of several social media trends you should be taking advantage of. Meeting their needs is just one way you infiltrate their mind space and help them fall in love with your brand. Incorporate a live-chat option into your event, through either an event app, or through your brand’s Twitter page, to establish and build on an existing relationship while ensuring your event attendees have the answers to their often time-sensitive questions while they are on the go.
2. Custom Event Hashtags
An event hashtag is a powerful tool to collect all the online discussions around your event. It brings all online conversations, multimedia, and information about your event together in one place to track and engage with (we said so: it’s on Facebook!). It’s also a great way to connect your online and offline media by branding your print advertising, event brochures or any event swag (think: hats, t-shirts and totes) so people know where the conversation is happening.
Marketing communications using a simple, custom hashtag is also interpreted as less invasive than some traditional marketing messages to consumers. In case you were wondering what goes into an effective event or conference hashtag, your custom event hashtag should be: unique, clear, memorable, short/simple, and have no bad implications (so do your research first).
After the event is finished, this custom event hashtag also helps you to calculate ROI and whether the overall impressions were positive, negative or neutral. Being able to measure the conversation, live and after the fact is a valuable marketing asset and it’s one of the social media trends that will greatly help with recall and recognition of both your event, and your brand. Sometimes you will even get lucky and have your custom hashtag ‘trend’ for the day on twitter (like many of our clients’) – but that takes dedication all day long!
3. Post Food Pics
Have you ever noticed that some people’s Instagram feeds are just full of delicious food? Of course you have; now wipe that drool off your lower lip. Humans, by nature, tend to love looking at (and eating) delicious food. Posting food pics is one of a few social media trends that seems to be here to stay. Here are a few reasons why:
- Food is pretty to look at (presentation is everything!)
- Cooking is hard (making good – for you, tasting, whatever – isn’t easy, so show it off and be praised!)
- Food is best enjoyed when shared with a community (so it elicits feelings of togetherness, family and community – which is great if your brand or event is all about that) 
PS: look at these delicious dessert table at one of our previous events:
Now, for your event specifically: chances are, you want people to come to your event and spend some time there – i.e. not leave after an hour. To do that, you not only have to provide value to them in the form of interesting vendors, or entertainment (shows or seminars), but you also have to meet their basic human needs (food and water). Some events do an amazing job at capitalizing on the visual appeal and deliciousness of food (see: the CNE). When your event is a B2C event for families, being able to eat is just one of the considerations they will make when deciding whether or not to attend – so why not show them up front that you’ve got them covered!
4. Keep it Short and Sweet
Earlier, we briefly mentioned that the best custom event hashtags would be short and simple. The same goes for captions with live social posting. They say that you have approximately 7 seconds to get someone’s attention on your website, before they lose interest and go elsewhere. Though social media isn’t that exact a formula, people are less likely to invest time in reading something long, while they are still in the process of forming an opinion about you or your brand.
“Posts that include captions where a user has to click ‘more’ tend to receive less likes and comments (on average 15% less) so we’d recommend keeping them short and sweet. Captions that include emoji’s also do better, however try and limit these to three maximum, otherwise it can make the caption harder to read.” 
It may seem like a counter-intuitive social media trend with Twitter increasing their post length to 280 (from 140) characters, but in a micro-blog setting, things are digested quickly, whereas with Facebook and Instagram, you can afford to be wordier. But just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should, and the research backs it up!
5. #DaysOfTheWeek Hashtags
If you are not familiar with what #DaysoftheWeek hashtags are, you can brush up on some of the weekly trends here on our sister company’s blog. In a nutshell, there are different trending hashtags that are popular, and perform well on different days of the week across mainly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For example, #MotivationMonday is a great day of the week to share inspirational memes or life lessons, or quotes you find particularly relatable for your brand.
For your event specifically, we recommend taking advantage of the ever-popular #TransformationTuesday hashtag. Made popular by many fitness enthusiasts and just us plain old human folk, trying to better ourselves – usually in a physical way. This hashtag has since transformed to include makeovers to your hair, your wardrobe, living spaces and everything in between.
The public, and especially those who are likely toying with the idea of attending your event, have a strange fascination with behind-the-scenes visuals. Showing before/after images of a trade show space or a conference stage, or even your event crew working to put an event together is a great opportunity to capitalize on this social media trend.
6. Most Popular Filters on Instagram
Ask any selfie connoisseur about Instagram filters and they are likely to shriek with glee as they tell you all about their favourites. Mind you, everyone looks better under a different light – just one of the things that make us all unique and beautiful humans. What if there were a way to find out what filters were universally popular among all those ‘likers’ out there? The good news: that research has already been done and two filters have come out on top.
Gingham landed in first place with Clarendon coming in second in that popularity contest. “… Gingham is the most popular and attracts the most likes and comments, giving photos a vintage edge and is especially effective on selfies. Clarendon came in at a close second, accentuating light and dark colours, and is often used on scenery images.” 
As a general rule, the filter you use is going to depend on what the subject matter is you are capturing on camera. Provided it doesn’t look completely ridiculous and washed out, utilizing one of these two filters is a great way to result in some more Instagram love for your posts. Who knew filters would end up being one of the hottest social media trends?
7. Live Videos
Live video, similarly to live-chat, has been rising in popularity since 2016 and is big on the list of social media trends. Whether the sudden interest is the idea of authenticity and raw, unedited capture or something completely different, Snapchat, Facebook Live, and instagram stories have been a few of the social media networks at the forefront of this social media trend.
In terms of using live video at your event, some recommendations include:
“Use live videos to interact with your customers.
You can answer customer queries
You can run a product tutorial or anything.
Live video once a week on your preferred social network will keep your followers engaged.”
What’s more is that if you are the type of event that includes entertainment, whether that is keynote speakers or a local dance troupe, you now have the unique opportunity to engage with people who may not have been able to get tickets. This may seem counterproductive at first, offering something to them for free, when they did not get tickets, but you can work it into your event marketing plan to reach an even wider audience. Consider offering the keynote speakers or seminars for a small “sign-up fee” to capture both money and information from interested guests.
This will only increase your social media engagement while the event is taking place. You may even cast a wider net to people across the country, who wanted a sample of what the event entails, prior to buying an event ticket, and then making a financial and time commitment on a plane ticket and hotel room to attend the next year (ever heard of FOMO? It’s real).
People are unable to attend events for a number of reasons, including financial, geographic, timing, or simply other life obligations. Taking advantage of some of these social media trends will allow you to engage with both physical event attendees and those who may have wanted to attend but have been unable to. This kind of engagement is not only taking steps to ensure a positive experience was had in attending, but it showcases and highlights other reasons that could change minds and hearts about attending future events.
Ashley Saunders, Matriarch, Live Social Coordinator and Strategist