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Social Integration for Event Planners

Blair Pettrey

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Social Media is continuously becoming more and more important for people.  Don't take my word for it, the stats speak for themselves. There are 39,757 YEARS of our time spent collectively on Facebook in a single day.  Social networking accounts for 28% of all media time spent online.  There are 271 million Twitter accounts, 300 Million LinkedIn and 1.3 Billion Facebook accounts!  There are 5 million images uploaded in Instagram every day.  Seems like a lot until you compare it to the 500 million tweets that are posted daily (1).  So what does all this data tell you when it comes to events and social media.

Simply put, use it!  Your attendees will use social media regardless if it is in the app or not.  So instead of having a possibility for distraction, why not gear them to using social media to post about your event by having it in the app and having event hashtags to use!  

When you use Social integration in your mobile event app, it helps connect your event to the outside world, and your attendees want everyone to know!  To best utilize social media at your event, here are some tips and pointers to help you create the buzz you want.

Choose an Event #Hashtag

This is crucial.  You need to pick a hashtag and stick to it throughout the event.  To choose the best hashtag, you need to understand that there are already millions of hashtags out there.  This being said, it is important if you are interested in any hashtag to search it on all the platforms you will be using (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook).  By checking to see if your hashtag is unique to your event, it will eliminate the chances of having excessive and/or inappropriate posts that aren't coming from your attendees.  

Hashtags can help organize a history of events and it also populates everything posted about your particular event in one place.  All you need to do is search the hashtag, and there you go, everything hashtagged with your event's hashtag is right there!

 It's popular to have the title of your event with the date at the end. For example if your event is Marketers Future Planning Meeting, maybe use something like #MFPM15.  This is just one suggestion,  so get creative and use what works best for your event, but make sure to check beforehand and encourage everyone to use the one with their posts!

Choose your platforms

With plenty of social platforms to choose from, it is important to choose the best ones for your event.  Facebook can be a great tool to use for pre-conference engagement.  Get attendees to post about the event or to the conference page.  Twitter and Instagram are perfect for during the conference.  Have Twitter and Instagram in your event app so attendees won't have to swap back and forth apps on their device.  Making it easy for them, makes it simpler to get the word out about the event.  Remember there are 5 million photo uploads a day on Instagram and 500 million tweets!  Tap into this opportunity for free word-of-mouth marketing and watch as your attendees post their thoughts and perspectives of the event.

Use Social Media as an outlet for feedback

Plain and simple, sometimes it is hard to get feedback from your attendees.  Filling out surveys over and over for every session can get repetitive and the feedback you are looking for might not come in as strong.  With social media it allows you to see feedback from your attendees and be able to communicate right back to them.  Twitter is a great outlet for feedback.  Event and conference attendees can use Twitter to express their feedback and this allows you to reply and ask to explain further or see how they think it could improve.  By adding this outlet to your feedback gives you more opportunity to receive feedback and take it a step further to gain insight for upcoming events.

Never Leave an Attendee Behind (Or a Sponsor/Exhibitor)

This is an important piece of advice to remember.  It is absolutely great to include a social media outlet in your event app, but one thing to remember is that not everyone will have an Instagram and Twitter account.  And that is OK! If you were to have only these social media outlets, it will leave some attendees behind and out of the loop, but with an event app you can include everyone in one place...The Event Wall. 

This is the wonderful part about integrating social media into an already social event app!  By having a social wall no matter if you have social media accounts or not, it is a place where all attendees can see what is going on. The event wall is populated with posts from all tweets and Instagram posts that are hashtagged with your choice of hashtag, as well as anyone who posts directly to the wall.  So not only can attendees without social media accounts see everything but they can also post to the event wall with photos or "tweet-like" posts.

Give your attendees all the opportunities to share their thoughts, photos and excitement about your event.  Knowing how to utilize social media at your event is the first step to seeing it all come to life.  After that it is up to your attendees to spread the word!

(1)"Social Media Addiction – Statistics And Trends." GOGlobe Social Media Addiction Statistics And Trends Comments. 26 Dec. 2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.

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