There is something magical about attending events. When you make a decision to purchase a ticket and attend a function, you are taking a leap of faith in many respects because, in all honesty, so much of what you are to experience is completely unknown. I believe this is all part of the thrill. The anticipation of what you are going to learn, how the event is going to unfold along with the wonder of imagining who you are going to meet is simply refreshing. Developing innovative ways to keep this sense of childlike wonder alive from the inception of your event and days after your event has ended is a critical element of event planning. As we mentioned in our previous post, 10 Tips to Consider While Planning Your Next Event, your guests' experience must be the focus of everything that you do. Sometimes as small business owners, we tend to get wrapped up in our message and our objectives that we forget the people we are serving.
There are tools you can use that can assist in creating a memorable experience for your guests. Creating an unforgettable experience is your objective and a way to achieve this is to foster social interaction. In addition to breakout and networking sessions, leverage the power of social media. In this digital world, everyone is obsessed with their smartphone. Take advantage of this truth and incorporate smartphones into your plan. In this blog, I am going to focus on ONE Mobile App that you should utilize to foster engagement at your event and that is Twitter.
As an event planner, you have to identify which social networks you wish to concentrate on when marketing an event. There are so MANY on the marketplace that it may be difficult to decide where you wish to devote your energy. Be that as it may, I firmly believe that one of the BEST social networks to utilize during an event is Twitter. The reason being that Twitter is very fast paced and used to share quick updates on daily happenings. Furthermore, mobile devices have the biggest impact on Twitter with “the highest proportion of mobile vs. PC photos sharing of any social network.”
With such a powerful tool like Twitter in the palms of all your guests, one way to motivate them to take the conversation beyond the four walls of your event is to create a tweet wall that showcases all the live tweets surrounding your particular event.
Thankfully, we live in a world where we have more options than we can choose from and the same is true when it comes to finding a platform to host your twitter wall, many of which are free. There are a few that definitely stood out to me the most that I am going to quickly share with you.
HootFeed by HootSuite - First of all, this is a free tweet wall service and it’s also pretty amazing! In case you have a crowd that is a little uncensored, this tool has a profanity filter, is fully customizable, and it scales to fit the size of your screen, which is AWESOME.
TweetWally - This is a very simple tool to use with hardly any kind of set up. All you have to do is enter a hashtag and customize your tweet wall. It is worthy to mention that, Tweetwally allows you to "display images inline," which can capture interesting moments at an event. Be that as it may, you have the option to deselect this option if you may be concerned about spam or inappropriate content.
TweetBeam - Aesthetically, this wall is pretty and very easy on the eyes. I do like TweetBeam, but am not sure I will use it at any upcoming events because of the associated cost. While this tool displays the content beautifully, there are options out there that are a little more budget friendly.
ENCOURAGE SOCIAL MEDIA USE
It would be a shame to have an amazing TweetWall with no tweets, so make sure you encourage your guests to leverage Twitter throughout the course of the event. Most of us choose to refrain from using social media out of respect to the host and presenters. Therefore, it is vital that you reiterate that it is completely acceptable and preferred that guests leverage social media during the event.
DEVELOP AN AWESOME HASHTAG
In order to truly leverage the power of a TweetWall, you are going to need to create a hashtag for your event. This is a hashtag that is short and super easy to remember. The purpose of a hashtag is to create a community around your event and foster conversation under a central location. Make sure that you share the hashtag and twitter handle repeatedly throughout your event and display it on screen before each presenter. Note: The hashtag you utilize should be consistent across all social media channels.
PHOTOS OF YOUR GUESTS
As I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite parts about attending an event is meeting new people. It is so much fun when these new relationships are captured in pictures. This is a great opportunity to increase engagement on Twitter. Take a ton of photos of your guest and of these new relationships being made. When you share these photos on Twitter be sure to include their Twitter handles and your event hashtag.
GET SOCIAL MEDIA VOLUNTEERS
Even if everyone in attendance at your event engages online, it is still vital that you have someone on your team that is solely responsible for managing social media throughout the event. These volunteers are going to monitor, share and reply to everyone that is engaging with you and your event online. They are so important to fostering a sense of community around your event. Do not skip on securing volunteers.
USE HOOTSUITE OR TWEETDECK FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to tweet from different Twitter accounts, monitor multiple account newsfeeds, mentions and hashtags at once and receive instant messages about engagement. With Hootsuite, you can also schedule messages to post to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. With live events, you never know what is going to happen, so I do not recommend scheduling tweets. If you do, there is a chance tweets are posted too early or are not mentioned by the presenter at all and this will come across as inauthentic.
KEEP THE ENGAGEMENT GOING POST EVENT
After your event, there is a significant chance that you will have a ton of photos, videos, and additional content to publish after the event. Do not be afraid to ask your guests to share additional photos or reviews using your event hashtag after the event, as well. Remember that people LOVE to feel a part of something and the intrigue surrounding your event increases the more people speak and post about it.
The only way to know what works for you is to try and see what is effective. At the Mist, we thoughtfully curated a space to foster human interaction. Our venue is magically interactive. With that in mind, it is only natural that the conversations for all of our events extend beyond the four walls of our space. Speaking of which, The Mist can be adapted to a range of events, including art showcases, fashion shows, seminars and workshops, small parties, and book reading events etc. We believe in human interaction through unique design and innovative spaces and we would love to be a part of your next event. Please contact us today to schedule a time to visit our unique space.