In the fall of 2004 I was a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder when rumblings of a new site were first being heard. My friends started to sign up for “The Facebook”, but I wasn’t sure if this site was worth my time. By January of 2005, I gave in to the peer pressure and never looked back. A lot has changed in these past twelve years – Facebook has grown from 1.2 million to 1.75 billion users, and the entire concept of social media has changed the way we communicate, connect, and consume.
When planning events for today’s young adults, you cannot lose sight of the importance of social media. But just having a feed is not enough. Just making a post is not enough. Just picking a hashtag is not enough. In today’s social media-centric landscape, how do you truly engage your conference attendees and increase followership? Here are ten tips to raise the bar and help your event connect like never before. Some may seem obvious, but the key to successful engagement is quality execution.
- Go Live: Plan to go live during a few key moments! Perhaps you go Facebook Live as registration begins, the doors to the general session open, or the new officer team is being announced. This engages those not in attendance so they feel a part of the event.
- Social Media Wall: There are lots of great options out there, but one we have used before is Tint. Have a station setup in a prime conference location that shows a feed of all the posts from your conference hashtag. Attendees will want to see their posts on the wall, and it becomes a great focal point for your event.
- Social Media Shoutouts: Use your general sessions as a moment to recognize attendees who have been posting on social media. Read a few tweets and share a few of your favorite posts onstage in front of everyone. This is a simple way to make your social media shoutout more fun and exciting for the attendees.
- Name Badge Ribbons: Attendees love ribbons on their name badges! Have ribbons printed for each social media network your organization is on, and have your leaders hand them out to attendees who can show that they like or follow your page.
- Hashtags: Be sure to have an event hashtag identified early and promote it leading up to the event and during the event. Not only does it create dialogue and foster conversation, it also helps you collect great feedback and user generated content! Pick a hashtag that is easy to remember and promote it everywhere you can.
- Personalize Content: Think about each network and how your users interact on that network. Your content should look different on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Think creatively and have fun!
- Officer Handles: Do your officers want to engage with members more? Most likely, so make it easy for them! Promote your officer’s social media handles in the program and on screen during the general sessions.
- Raffle Prizes: Offer prizes exclusively through your social media channels! Promote them during the sessions, celebrate the winners, and recognize those who participate. But only offer the prizes through your desired social media channels so you are driving traffic where you want.
- Snapchat Geofilter: This one is a must for all youth-related events. Be sure to set up a geofilter for your event. Even better, create a few for different moments in the event! Maybe you have one primary conference geofilter, and then a special one for the awards session. Think of when your attendees will want to post the most, and customize geofilters for those moments!
- Conference Program: This may seem obvious, but it is not always utilized! The conference program is the number one resource attendees use for information on your event. Be sure to not just list your social media usernames in the program, but include each networks icons (we live in a visual world) and promote the hashtag.
Do you have more ideas? Share your ideas with me on Twitter (@teamtri_sean) and best of luck as you prepare for your upcoming event!