Happy birthday to us! Or should we say #HappyBirthday to some social-media-for-events-loving matriarchs and a team of amazing live social coordinators. From the team at Elephant’s Remark, we are so thrilled to be having our first birthday. Well, technically, it was in November, but client duties called… What started off as two social media junkies in two different provinces with a big idea has transformed into a niche company that specializes in doing social media for events. We now have teams in place across 4 major cities – Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver; and over 20 herd members who are masters at everything from copywriting and extreme hashtagging to graphic design, photography or videography. With company expansion comes a lot of personal and professional growth. Here are some of the key lessons we learned in our first year.
1. Content is king – especially when there is no marketing agency involved
Doug Kessler at Velocity said it perfectly:
“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.”
When Elephant’s Remark was born, we knew that quick and concise content capture to tell the event’s story was going to be important. Doing social media for events was born of the ideology that there would be three major components: content capture/storytelling, live engagement/customer service, and vendor/sponsor relations. Sharing amazing content live tells your brand’s story and allows your audience to relate to you – whether they are attending or not. If they aren’t attending, it helps create a sense of FOMO; and if they are, it gives you a second screen experience and consumer touchpoint to build that relationship with them. Most importantly, it allows you to engage with them in a back and forth dialogue. When an event planner or brand does not have a marketing agency of record, the importance of content triples. Not only are we producing event-specific content for them, but we are also giving them a collection of content to re-purpose throughout the year. And most of those visual and written assets can be used to promote next year’s event.
2. Vendor and sponsor relations is vital when doing social media for events
Your social media for events pre-promotion and live sharing strategy should include special mention of those who helped make your event possible.
“Sponsorship is about putting your name and reputation on the line for someone else. It could be as simple as recommending someone for a new role, yet it’s one of the most powerful cultural tools any organization has.”
KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie emphasizes the importance of your event sponsors with this quote. If a sponsor, vendor or other corporate partner has chosen to align themselves with your brand, it’s important to nurture that relationship. The client’s we’ve worked with so far have all understood the value of the additional acknowledgement of that sponsor or vendor relationship. They have paid to be there, they have likely included your brand in some of their corporate communications, you have given them signage and visibility at your event. But it’s always about giving even more.
Interacting with their brands on social media at the event, and providing them with social media branded assets before, during or after the event provides another opportunity for them to share more, and it also adds value to your relationship. Not all companies have a social media team or even a graphic designer so professionally crafted assets are valuable to any company, no matter the industry or size. Capturing content and engaging with sponsors on social media, on their most prominent social network(s) strengthens your relationship, promotes social sharing, and allows for additional opportunities to engage.
3. You can never focus too much on food
Have you noticed that Instagram is literally saturated with people’s food photos? Modern day millennials, among other groups, love snapping food pics before they eat when dining out. #FoodPorn has over 178 million posts on Instagram and that number grows every day. If you work in the events industry, you’ve definitely considered your food offering in the planning and organization of your event.
Top Calgary event planning and live experience agency Pop Kollaborativ’s Ken Kristoffersen stated (at CSE Live 2018):
“Food is no longer an afterthought, it’s at the forefront of the experience.”
He couldn’t be more right. It’s no longer about simply feeding your guests; it’s about providing another memorable experience and showing off your creativity. With such a wide variety of dietary restrictions and preferences, it’s almost a challenge to both be creative and cater to everyone. Focus on the food. Snap the photos. Show off how delicious and beautiful it looks. Share photos of it sitting there, share photos of people enjoying it, share people’s sentiments surrounding it. Show behind-the-scenes content of it being prepared, if you can. And if you think you might be posting too much #foodie stuff, post some more.
Food is trendy, shareable, and it both assures attendees and potential other day attendees that they will be fed and they will enjoy another experience while attending your event. Better yet, if you want your custom branded [event] hashtag to trend, food is your most important asset when crafting social media for events posts.
Doing live social media for events is more than just sharing a picture and ensuring that a custom branded hashtag is used. It’s about creating a story, shaping brand perception and strategically crafting experiences for attendees and fans alike. On top of that, it’s about making your attendees feel heard, appreciated and ensuring your vendors and sponsors know how valuable their participation in your event is.
These lessons have helped us define and expand our offering after doing shows of different sizes including a bridal, event and health show to North America’s largest oil and gas exhibition and conference. Like any other market, especially the events industry, we must constantly evolve our specialities and offerings to meet the changing technologies and demands of our clients. Are there any event tips or services you’d like to see us investigate or offer? Contact us here.