by Rachel Fullan | November 01, 2017
Using social media has become automatic when it comes to event marketing and promotion. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked­In or blogs, there are many resources out there to not only drive up pre-event ticket sales, but to connect your attendees while at the event -- and in the weeks and months that follow. Like any good event, a solid social media plan takes thought and planning. These ideas, courtesy of Rachel Fullan, public relations and social media specialist at Creative Marketing Alliance in Princeton Junction, N.J., can serve as guidelines to create your own social plan for your next event.


BEFORE THE EVENT
 Establish your social media goals. Are you trying to gain more followers, increase your engagement on a particular platform or boost web traffic? You might say you want to achieve all of them, but thinking about this will help you decide where you want to drive your audiences.

 Consider apps to boost engagement, including with gamification or crowd-sourcing. Want an easy way for attendees to submit questions in real time to presenters? Dozens of apps have voting or question-asking elements. Some offer gaming too, so you can get attendees to engage with a scavenger hunt or meet new people via online icebreakers.  

 Create an event hashtag. While this sounds easy, be sure to search on social platforms to see if your hashtag is being used already.  You want to keep it unique so that only content from your event shows when the hashtag is searched. Also, try to keep it short. It can be tiring for attendees to type out a 30-character hashtag each time they post an update.

Update social media cover photos. Think of your cover photos as a billboard for your business. Ideally, they should be updated every few months to keep them fresh and relevant. When promoting your event, update your cover photos on your social sites. Include high-level details about when the event is, what it's about and how to get more information.

 Create or update your website. Include helpful information such as speaker bios, places to visit in the area during down time and FAQs. Also, be sure to use the link on social media to drive people to this site.

 Engage with influencers. Are there popular bloggers or influencers in your niche who have a large social media following? Think of ways to have them be a part of it. Whether giving them a complimentary pass, inviting them to be a speaker or offering their audience a raffle for a chance to win free items, engaging these influencers is a good a way to let many others know about your event.


DURING THE EVENT
 Live broadcasting. For people who can't be there in person, a live broadcast of the meeting or keynote via Facebook, Instagram or Periscope could be a great way to build engagement online. Make the live broadcast known on your website and social platforms.  Think about if you'd like to involve any A/V professionals and if so, involve them early in the game.

 Posting on social. You did so much work to get to this point that you might get caught up in the on-site fires that come with event planning. Make sure to assign the task of social media to one specific person (or more), and make sure that they are snapping photos and retweeting anyone using your hashtag.


AFTER THE EVENT
 Set up a way to connect. Whether a private Facebook group for attendees or an email newsletter to cover the event, make sure there are ample opportunities for post-event communication.