Today's guest post is from Mads Ellegård with Danish meeting and event booking site Ateo.dk.
Here are 9 steps to integrating social media into your next event.
1. Decide on a Hashtag
FInd a unique event hashtag—one that's not already being used by companies or other events. Do a simple Google search to find out what's available.
2. Tell People About Your Hashtag
Once you have found the hashtag you want to use, tell participants and to other people interested in the event what it is on your Web site and on social media platforms. You also need to tell them why they should use it—that it is a way of sharing opinions and feelings about the event.
3. Actively Encourage Use of the Hashtag
Start using the hashtag well before your event begins to build excitement. Talk about the speakers, share funny pictures, and point to relevant blog posts. The more you use your hashtag, the more likely it is that your participants will as well.
4. Use Storify to Collect the Best Material from Social Media
Storify is a simple, easy-to-use system for gathering tweets, status updates, pictures, and links from different social media into one stream that tells your event's unique story from your participants' point of view. You can choose the stories, posts, and pictures you want— and they will be automatically added to the Storify stream. You also can add posts that represent the best takeaways from the conference. You can read more about how to do it here; and here is how one conference used Storify. You can structure your updates in many different ways—including organizing them as tiles and embedding a code on your own site.
5. Promote Social Signups
Quite often people are willing to share when they register for events. When they go to the registration confirmation site, make it easy to share the fact that they just signed up for your awesome event! You should make it possible to share on several different social media so that people can chose the one that suits them best (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
You will get this function automatically if you are using event management systems such as Eventbrite. Using Eventbrite also allows you to integrate a signup function directly on your Facebook page.
6. Show the Participants Social Profiles
Make it easy for particpants to expand their professional network. For instance, you can include participants' photos on your event site and have the photos linke to the person’s LinkedIn profile or Twitter account.
7. Don’t Forget the “Non-Participants”
Use social media during the event to let those who didn't come this year know what they're missing. The better you are at facilitating and encouraging people to use social media during the conference (with the hashtag), the more likely you are to get both repeat attendees and attract new participants.
8. Remember to Monitor the Event on Social Media
Use Google Alerts, Sprout Social, or Tagboard to monitor social media mentions before, during, and after your event. I promise that you will learn something about how people think about the conference in general, what they like in particular, and the types of happenings that trigger social media activity. You can use that knowledge to improve next year’s event, and to build next year's social media strategy.
Mads Ellegård is the CEO and cofounder of Ateo. Ateo makes it easy to find venues for hosting conferences, meetings, and company parties. The company is currently operating in Denmark but plan to expand to other countries in the coming years.