Social media week is one of the biggest events of its kind and now that’s its drawing to an end. We examine the effect social media is having on corporate events and how it’s going to shape the future of the events industry.
During Social Media Week, David Adler (CEO, BizBash) opened the How Social Media Drives New York’s Biggest Events session and was heard saying that; “Social media is changing the face of events. It is the most exciting time in the world to be in our industry…” A statement I whole heartedly agree with, having worked for a UK based corporate events company for nearly 2 years now.
Adler goes on to say that “…events are really the new town square. Anytime you do an event, you’re basically the mayor of that event. You own that ecosystem and own all parts of it.” Now, if we’re going to carry on with the town square metaphor, then wouldn’t it make sense to consider the event attendees as the “town’s community”? And the basis for any good community is awareness and communication, which is what social media is all about!
Because let’s face it, social media is changing the way we communicate with our friends, family, businesses and brands, with over half of UK households accessing social media and social media being accessed via smartphones increasing by 40% in 2012 . Most businesses will have a social media presence, however most people don’t use social media to do market research. The events industry is though. It’s utilising social media in different ways and reaping the rewards.
Below are just a few examples of how social media is used within the event industry…
Every events company should have a Facebook page: it’s the most searched for social media site (according to Ofcom) and it’s the one of best to ways to promote your services to social focused consumers. Uploading photos, updating event details and encouraging fans to “like” and share the content is a good way to gauge event interest. Plus because Facebook is so versatile, you can upload polls asking for consumer feedback and supply exclusive offers, which only increases social engagement.
A great tool for reporting events and activities as and when they happen. Twitter is often the social media choice for fashion events and industry specific conferences. Most event organisers will create a hashtag before the event and inform attendees about it so they can tweet and join in on conversations. It also breaks the barrier between event speakers and guests, as questions and answers can be during the event. If you want to take your hashtags one step further, you might want to consider registering a tag on Twubs.
Much like Facebook, Google + is a great place to promote events beforehand and after. Organisers post events up (like Facebook) and promote it to your followers. Google +’s unique “party mode” feature is slowly becoming popular with many event organisers sharing photos of the event in real time, straight from their mobile phones! So although Google + is currently being used less than Facebook to promote events (at the moment…) We predict that Google will roll out more exciting and exclusive features that will make it more appealing to event companies.
Great for niche industry conferences and expos, when used appropriately this method is great way to attract and promote your event to targeted professionals within a certain industry. Use your company LinkedIn page to promote the event and promote it to appropriate communities that you’re a member of from your own personal account. This is also a great way to recruit speakers for your event too.
A relatively new contender in the social media arena, Pinterest is gaining users at an alarming rate and is proving to be very popular with female consumers. Regularly used by the fashion and wedding industry, Pinterest is primarily used as a way to promote the event after it’s occurred (once the event organiser has created a board and uploaded photos of the event.) Repins of these photos helps to increase event & company awareness and whilst not directly a converting medium, it’s worth partaking in if you are in a creative industry.
Overlooked (especially since you can check-in on Facebook now) but worth including into your social media event planning. Informing guests that there’s a unique Foursquare offer will also encourage them to check-in during the event, that and the unique Foursquare “badge collecting” feature. Plus if they do check-in, this bit of news will automatically be shared with their friends, not only on Foursquare but on Facebook and Twitter too! (That’s if they’ve allowed multiple sharing that…)
Finally, with social media set to be on the rise in the future we predict that it’ll become more relevant and influential within the events industry. Particularly since event feedback can be received instantly during the actual event (probably via Twitter) Perhaps attendees will be able to request speaker order or choose the actual subjects discussed via Facebook polls? Or create event inspiration pin boards and submit them to event organisers? Who knows what the future holds, but what we do know is that social is here to stay and the event industry is fully embracing it.