Social Media and Live Events
Whether you are attending or creating an event, know that a lot more goes into it than sitting and listening. A great event should inspire others to take action and extend the event past the four walls they find themselves in. Events are useful for attracting business and strengthening your involvement to the community. Free or paid, events offer knowledge and invaluable expertise for those who are interested. Utilizing social media gives a common factor to all attendees.
Once you’ve gotten some butts in some seats, it’s time to reach further. Here are some key points to utilize in your next live event to connect further.
1. Make Your Audience Matter
Making your audience feel involved is one of the main things they will take away. They will feel sympathy, compassion, interest and most important, retain what you’ve told them. Making them feel involved brings them from a listener to an active participant.
#HASHTAGS For Events
Get people talking. Get people engaged. Get their friends to become involved even if they aren’t there. One of the easiest ways to get recognition across social media platforms is to use hashtags. This gives users the power to give their two cents on the event as well as find other people who might be attending.
Creating a hashtag during your initial event planning will help BIG time. Put your event hashtag on promotional items, print or digital, to get the word out before the event even starts. It is majorly important to use a unique hashtag. You wouldn’t want to see something NSFW or questionable if you used a quick anagram for your event hashtag. Do your research before you get anything printed. Seriously. For example, if you’re hosting a First Friday event, you may want to use #FFLakeland or #FirstFridayLKLD.
Like I mentioned before: make people know they matter. During your live event, prompt people to use the hashtag. Making mention during the event such as asking a question and prompting the audience to ‘answer’ it with the hashtag helps people become involved and puts them in a proactive position.
2. Capture the Moment
Recently, I attended a concert that really made an impact on me. Besides the amazing performances, the main singer stopped in the performance to take a picture of the event. A selfie, with the entire sea of people in the background, was promptly posted on the band’s official Facebook.
Pictures can often say things that words can’t. I couldn’t even begin to describe the electricity that I felt through the crowd during the concert, but some of my pictures did. The energy was contagious!
I’m not saying to get a professional photographer – I’m saying to stop and (gasp!) connect with your audience by taking a unified selfie. With the use of a hashtag, as mentioned above, you can also interact with your audience when they post pictures of your event. Heck, prompt them to use the hashtag while doing so!
Add some personality to your presentation to boost engagement on social media. Maybe designate a 3 minute window after intermission as a “Selfie Segment.” Even have a slide on your power point for it! You don’t want your event to be just business, you want it to be an experience.
During breaks or intermissions – check to see what others are saying. Retweet, share, favorite. Your audience is taking away select nuggets of knowledge you’ve offered them or enjoying things you’ve prepared for them. Connect with people you’ve made impact with – they may be your future customers or business partners!
I went to a live event in spring 2013 for my local ADFED. Not only did I win a bottle of wine (which is why I suspect giving it to my professor earned me an A for my course), I won something more valuable: a connection to a highly praised public speaker. It was then that I met Chrissanne Long. I introduced myself after her keynote speech and then promptly added her on Facebook. Months later, I merely sent her a message and thanked her for being a positive force in Lakeland. Long story short, we met the following week and she hired me personally to work for her.
That kind of connection was possible because of social media. Connect with the people you respect or those who respect you. Bring that type of attitude full circle and you’ll find yourself in a land of opportunities.