How To Add Social Media To Your Events: The 4 Resources You Need to Consider
Adding an online social component to your events isn’t quite as simple as having someone take a couple of pictures and post them from the event. If that is your entire strategy, here’s why it’s not effective:
SO MANY TIMES I’m scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and I see a photo from some event that looks like it would have been fun to attend. The sad thing is that the event is nearly over and it’s the first time I’m hearing about it. And unless there are a series of follow up posts, I’ll forget about it within a day or two, and the cycle will repeat itself next time.
Being effective on social media actually takes a lot more time and consideration (and yes, sometimes money) than most people realize. So let’s look at what resources you may need to be effective: money, time, people, technology. The resources that you’ll need are always affected by each other. For example, if you have a very tight event budget and can’t hire anyone to do your social media, then you will need to budget more time, or you will need to get more people.
Let’s get this one out of the way first, since it’s the one that most people get hung up on. You may need money for the following things:
- Consultants to create and/or execute your event social media strategy
- Paid trainers to show you how to use networks and execute a good strategy
- Technology (more on tech farther down!)
- Social media ads
- Any content that requires an expert creator i.e. graphics for posts/ads, video to share, copywriters, etc.
If you are doing it all yourself, your time budget it going to be pretty big (even for a small event!). Make sure that you are prepared by thinking about these things ahead of time and making sure you are aware of when you are needed:
- Creating your event social media strategy well ahead of time
- Creating content & posting consistently during your promotional period
- Monitoring your social performance to ensure your efforts are effective and changing your strategy if it is not (this is a check-in that needs to be done on a regular basis during promotion)
- Creating & monitoring ads
- Responding promptly to people who engage with your event posts
- Live posting on the day of the event, including photos and video
- Compiling results of your efforts & evaluating if you were successful
- Posting follow up information to keep the excitement of your event alive
- Educating yourself about any of the above tasks - whether it be on your own, or by hiring a trainer or taking a class
Tip: if you are the event organizer or have another significant role throughout the event, you will find it nearly impossible to do a really good job live posting unless you can a) clone yourself, or b) time travel so you can be in 2 places at once.
The right people helping out can make a massive difference in how smoothly your event runs and how effective your social media marketing efforts are. Keep in mind though, that you’re not just looking for bodies - you’re looking for people who are comfortable on social media for business/professional purposes, or who are willing to be trained.
Tip: if you are looking for people on short notice, you want to get people that already have the skills you need.
Look at all of the tasks in the ‘time’ section and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need someone to help with any of these tasks
- Will those people be volunteers or can I pay them?
- Do they need to be trained?
- Could I offer an event sponsorship in return for their help?
People resources can also refer to your contacts that may help you promote by sharing your info with their audiences. This can be colleagues, business partners, groups you are a member of, and media contacts. An important note about media contacts: these are relationships that need to be cultivated in advance of your event - they will not take kindly if you start talking to them and immediately try to promote something. Find them on social media and start engaging with them. Create a genuine relationship so that they will be more receptive when you ask for their help later on.
Technology that works can save time, create efficiencies, improve communication, and create that WOW factor. Technology that goes wrong is usually the only thing that people can remember about an event.
Make sure that you understand what tools you may need - and don’t forget to consider their cost (if any) and their learning curve:
- Content creation software - for graphics, video, image editing
- Scheduling software
- Tracking software to monitor how your social media is performing
- File sharing - especially if you have multiple people
- Live social wall (displays live social media feed at the event)
- Online streaming of event, presentations, or the social media feed
- Everyone involved in social media at the event needs a mobile device
- Communication app for all team members
- Access to wi-fi
- Mobile charging stations
If you have a healthy budget, a large committee or pool of volunteers, and plenty of time, feel free to do every single thing on this list! Unfortunately, most of us do not live in a perfect world and are often only rich in 1 of these resources. When business owners are planning an event and adding social media into the mix, the second biggest mistake I see (behind not doing anything) is trying to do too much, or doing the wrong things based on available resources. Below I've compiled a download that will help you choose which tasks you should do based on what resources you have available.