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Using social media to generate a buzz for your event

By Mel Kettle, Social Media Expert for Associations

Quite a few event organisers I’ve been speaking with have shared how much more difficult it is to get people to register these days. There are so many options these days, so you really want your event to stand out.

Social media can be a great help with generating a buzz about your event, as well as allowing attendees to network and interact with other attendees online before they all turn up on the day.

Try some of these tactics below, and see if it elevates the buzz around your next event.

Before your event

  • Make sure you ask for attendees social media handles on your registration form, then follow them. If you use twitter, create a public twitter list of attendees and speakers for anyone to follow (then tell people you have created it!)
  • Choose an event hashtag and USE IT on all your posts. Include the hashtag in all your event promotional material and on your website.
  • Create a Facebook group for all event attendees and invite all attendees to join
  • Create a Facebook event page
  • Use all your social channels to promote the event (schedule a series of posts promoting the event, using a tool such as SmarterQueue, Buffer, Hootsuite etc)
  • Acknowledge and engage with speakers, sponsors and attendees
  • Create a highlight reel from prior events to promote the new event – can be a combination of video footage and stills set to royalty-free music, share widely – make sure it conveys the value to your intended audience
  • Share testimonials from past events – and share them visually (i.e. text overlay on event images)
  • Share pictures of speakers with quote overlays
  • Share behind the scenes images – choosing the venue, preparation meetings, creating name tags, filling delegate bags, on the phone, processing registrations, fun and social things to do in the area,
  • Create graphics for speakers to put on their websites and blogs
  • Add your event to your email signature
  • Identify key influencers and encourage them to share your event on social media – this might include people who gave you testimonials, speakers, sponsors, etc. Then when they share, RT them or share their Facebook posts
  • Create anticipation by releasing a limited number of early bird tickets and promoting this for a couple of weeks in advance – post often about early bird deadlines and registration windows
  • Do a slow reveal of speakers and special guests to help build anticipation
  • Tools such as Canva and Easil help create beautiful images that you can overlay text on
  • Get your speakers to produce teaser content – ideally via video
  • Remember to manage conversations and ENGAGE and TALK!
  • Consider boosted or paid posts to increase reach
  • Use video – live, pre-recorded and Facebook and Instagram Stories
  • Promote the location and what attendees can do in the days before/after your event, where they can get good coffee nearby, what touristy options there might also be.
  • Create a graphic that all speakers and attendees can share on their social media channels – such as I’m attending [conference name and dates] #conferencehashtag

During your event

  • Promote the event hashtag on all collateral including name tags
  • Ask the session moderators to encourage tweeting and sharing during their presentations
  • Try and have free wifi at the venue and promote the password
  • Encourage live tweeting and Instagramming
  • Tell everyone you want the event and the hashtag to trend
  • Run competitions for the most tweets/Instagrams during the event – offer multiple small prizes and/or one big prize – ask your sponsors to donate prizes, this gives them greater recognition
  • Run a selfie competition and have a prize #liftselfie
  • Collect testimonials – video, audio and written – that you can use to promote next year’s event
  • Provide a photo booth with props and encourage people to share images using the hashtag
  • Share content from the sessions using the hashtag and tagging the speaker
  • Share behind the scenes pictures and video– with speakers, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors
  • Have an Instagram and/or a twitter wall somewhere in the venue (not behind a speaker as this is too distracting) – check out Tweetbeam
  • Use Facebook Live to share the event, especially behind the scenes activities.
  • Consider a Snapchat Geofilter or an Instagram Stories Geosticker

 After your event

  • Thank everyone for attending on your social channels – tag sponsors, speakers and exhibitors
  • Share a show-reel of event highlights
  • Announce who tweeted/Instagrammed the most (and thank them)
  • Ask for feedback (you will get it anyway…)
  • Collate all your mentions and save them to help promote your event next year (use screen shots as well as a tool such as Storify).