The first question asked, and rightfully so, is:
“What will be the return on my investment when using social media for my event?”
The simple answer is revenue, and the growth that stems from awareness that can be measured for years to come. Engaging with attendees at events inevitably results in a better experience at the event as a whole, and more positive feedback digitally through likes/follows, reviews, and future revenues.
In short, more followers across your social networks means:
- More credibility as a brand or company (people tend to follow networks with already high followings; if you look popular, you become more popular)
- Increased likelihood that your page or posts will appear on someone else’s newsfeed (because of the social media algorithms)
- Increased likelihood that your audience will share your content on their own pages (people like to be recognized by organizations and will share their ‘fame’)
- More people see your products, services, click-through to your website, and interact with your customer service reps via social (it’s really just a numbers game – aided by great content and consistency)
ROI for Social Media Engagement
- 1. +Awareness at eventMore
Successful implementation of a social campaign or live social component to your event creates a mass amount of both user generated content (UGC) and brand developed content that survive in the digital space forever. That information being so accessible is likely to attract future vendors, sponsors and attendees alike.
- 2. +Attract vendors + sponsors (for future events)More
Most events need to have vendors in order to run. Whether you are selling booth space or asking for free swag or donations for attendees, successful events have taken advantage of partnership opportunities with like minded, similar audience(d) brands. If you are starting a brand new event for the first time, and people aren’t aware of it, social is a great way to get reach and garner interest in potential sponsors or vendors. Any promotion you do to sell the event itself to potential vendors also looks good on you as a business who understands marketing and makes them more comfortable possibly taking a chance on your event when you are virtually an “unknown”
- 3. +Promote sponsorsMore
All events have sponsors; whether you are a large B2C trade show that sells booth spaces or a conference that uses specific caterers, hotel, taxi, lighting or cleaning service; these partnerships with these vendors help make your event possible, so why aren’t more businesses doing more to foster these relationships online? A large majority of smaller companies will “retweet” or “regram” your post if you mention them, because they are limited on marketing resources, which means you get in front of your own audience, and their audience, expanding your reach even further.
- 4. +Information for Attendees (live updates/alerts)More
- Tweet walls (for Twitter and Instagram posts)
- Live updates with promos, upcoming seminars or demonstrations (because it’s easy to lose track of time at a large event); especially if your event is not a multi-day, repeat performance event, attendees would rather be temporarily “spammed” with live updates or messages, rather than to miss a one-time only experience participating in a seminar or watching a particular speaker (when there are multiple things going on at multiple locations throughout the day)
- Contests; you can ask guests to “check in” at particular booths through the app (promoting more sponsorship/vendor relationships) or ask them to participate in fun scavenger hunt-like activities
- 5. +Ticket sales (for multi-day events)More
- Apps are easy to buy tickets for (one click purchase)
- Also allows you to capture their info up front; email, phone number for SMS messages, and social media handles
- You can tie it into a tap-in-tap-out system to know exactly who is at your event at any given time; easier to target specific messaging to specific groups during the event
- 6. +Going digital (contests, sales, etc.)More
- We are turning into a paperless society and a large number of events use mobile only entry anyway to save costs and prevent loss of physical printed tickets
- Everyone carries around a cell phone so having promotional messages, emails, codes right on your device make it easier for customers to get your product in their hand
- Charging stations (get a sponsor to provide that service) are essential in order to have a successful mobile-integrated event
- 7. +Promotion (for future events)More
- Having all of your contacts and data in digital format allows easier invite of guests to next year
- Also allows for a digital library of event photos to help market future events
- Social media acts as an archive of information, photos, experiences and feedback that can be used to plan the following years event.
- 8. +Earn positive reviewsMore
- Using social media live, especially Facebook and Twitter allows for real time comments to be addressed
- They won’t always be good but because you are monitoring them live, at the event, they can be dealt with swiftly, and publically which makes you look better as a brand than someone who ignores negative feedback, deletes it, or addresses it three days later – when it’s too late
- Capturing and sharing people’s positive experiences all turns into brand revenue over time as brand advocates are built and relationships are nurtured.
- 9. +Nurture earned mediaMore
- The more you, and your guests are posting, the more likely news outlets and other online sources are to see it and either write about your event, share content about the event, or request a pass to attend the next day (at a multi day event; or the next year)
- You also have the opportunity to interact live with earned media sources; by thanking them for sharing information about the event, answering any questions they may have live, or sharing their reviews of your events to your audiences, which makes the event look more successful
- 10. +SEOMore
- SEO isn’t just for websites; Social Media Profiles rank in search engines
- When people search on Google for specific key words and phrases, Google Bots will capture any mention on social as well, making your brand and your event more likely to show up early in search rankings.
- As of 2010, Twitter handled 19 billion search queries a month (that’s more than 5x the queries handled by Bing!)
- In 2012 Facebook said it got around one billion search queries per day
- 11. +Engagement with attendeesMore
- 29% of all tweets produced a reaction – a reply or a retweet. Of this group of tweets, 19.3% were retweets and the rest replies
- 4% of all retweets happen within the first hour of the original tweet being published
- Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends
- Tweets with hashtags get 2x more engagement
- 66% of user-generated tweets that mention brands come from mobile users
- Your tweets have a 12x higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it, and 23x higher if you actually spell out the word “retweet”
- Tweets that include links are 86% more likely to be retweeted
- Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without. And although each Instagram post allows up to 30 hashtags, research on the topic suggests that the optimum number of hashtags is 11.
- Posts With a Location Get 79% More Engagement
- Instagram Videos Posted at 9 p.m. Get 34% More Engagement (can pitch the idea of daily recap videos/slideshows for further engagement – actual edited content vs. on the fly live content)
- Photos With Faces Get 38% More Likes
- 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post
- Almost 80% of time spent on social platforms is on a mobile device