How to Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Event

How to Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Event

What if I told you that the power of social media has been inside you all along (point to your heart).

Well, inside your phone (point to phone instead).

Inside everyone’s phone (too much pointing now).

Everyone is constantly on their phones - Tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking. Instagram has 111 million users, and Facebook currently has 2.27 billion. You’re probably thinking, “My event space won’t hold 2.27 billion.” You’d be right, but you don’t need all of them to actually be at your event to have a successful social media campaign.

You just need to have a focused strategy targeting:

1) Who you want to come to your event

2) Who is actually going to your event

3) Who wishes they came and will attend next time

One thing you can be certain of - they all have phones, and they are talking about your event. Use your phone to join the conversation.

Let’s break your social media event strategy down into three parts: before, during, and after.


Before an event

To get everyone excited about your event, you need to build anticipation. What should people be excited about? How can you tease them with sneak peeks? What creative ways can you reveal speakers or special attendees, panels, or guests? Think about how big blockbuster movies get promoted. They start with teasers, like short trailers, images, posters and costumes to get people engaged long before the first full-length trailer is even released. You may not even know the plot of the movie, but social media blows up when the newest superhero costume appears on peoples’ phones.


An easy way to help set up your “before” social media strategy is to start a countdown. Create a calendar of your teases and reveals - each one progressively getting bigger and more unforgettable as the event date approaches. You want the public to not only dread missing the event, but you also want them to be afraid of missing any of your pre-event updates. Everyone wants to be in the know. And everyone wants to be the person that shares the next cool image, video, or event update. This is a great way to get your potential attendees to boost the reach of your posts, and it’s also a way to get more of their friends and followers informed and excited in advance.


During an event

Run a live Q & A on social media with some vendors, special guests or speakerSo you’ve generated great anticipation for your event on social media. Now the big day is here, and you have the opportunity to really intrigue your attendees. What aspects do you want to highlight and draw extra attention to? How can you be informative about the day's going-ons while still remaining creative and interesting? This is where having a strategy and some pre-planned live event tie-ins will help you run a successful social media campaign. Maybe run a live Q & A on social media with some vendors, special guests or speakers. You can tie this online experience into a live panel of events or educational sessions. Take questions from social for the speaker to answer live. And of course, the moderator should be reviewing the questions on social to ask the speaker on behalf of the audience.


Use social media to drive attendees to special affairs, secret giveaways or product demos

Use social media to drive attendees to special affairs, secret giveaways or product demos throughout the day. Running a hashtag contest with some vendors on their social media in conjunction with yours. This gives you the opportunity to increase brand/event awareness for you both and extend the reach of the event’s influence and engagement.


A live event is a great place to discover and share user-generated content. Share content widely and often throughout the day. Showcase real-time sentiment and highlight positive and engaging attendee experiences. This adds real social value to attendees at the event and to fans/followers that are following along elsewhere.


The most important action to take is monitoring the conversations about your event. If someone tags the brand, a vendor, a speaker, or the venue, be ready to engage, answer questions or assist with critiques or questions. You won’t be able to interact with every attendee in person but on social media, you can virtually engage with everyone.


After an event

The event might be over but the social buzz hasn’t ended yet. Now is the time to take advantage of this audience and recap all the great moments that people may have missed during their busy day(s). Thank your special guests or speakers and share some of their best moments. Always tag or @mention them in your posts so they will have the opportunity to share your posts and extend the reach of your social media campaign.





When planning your social media strategy for your next event, remember the three key parts of the plan: before, during, and after. And after you’ve done all the work to prepare, just phone it in.

About the Author

Amy Kelley

Amy is the Global Digital Content Marketing Editor at GES. With a strong background in content marketing, social media, and communications, she is a passionate writer and self-confessed word geek. She is also the founder of a non-profit and a health and wellness online community.

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