We’ve learned a lot over the past year in terms of promoting digital events. Here are the five things we focus on when planning a social media strategy for virtual events.
- Build excitement.
It’s more important than ever to have a large social media presence leading up to and during your event—particularly a virtual event. When attendees only need to log in from home or the office, you need to build excitement and engagement to make sure that last step happens. You can use organic social media to help build your digital event’s brand and theme, communicate key messages and content, and develop a new model for engagement. While paid ads drive home the need to register and add a sense of urgency, organic social posts can help create a sense of community and encourage a conversation.
- It’s never too late to register.
Organic social posts help drive engagement for attendees and also create FOMO for those who didn’t register for your event. The beauty of a virtual event is the ability to register up until and even during the event. By following along on various social channels, prospects can get a preview and then register to attend to participate in education, networking, and making business deals with exhibitors. So, use organic social media content to keep the registration cycle going until your event closes—or as long as content stays live!
- Be creative.
During your virtual event, your association’s main social accounts should include a constant stream of activity, so this is a great time to think outside the box. While the usual photos of crowds gathering, exhibit hall traffic, or speakers on the main stage don’t apply, there are other ways to show unique digital content. For example, take your followers on a “behind the scenes” tour of the platform before it goes live, host an Instagram live session with a popular speaker, share pictures of speakers, snippets from slides, and provide recaps from award ceremonies and networking events.
We have found being virtual lends itself to easily showcase a more personal side of an association. It’s the perfect opportunity to spotlight content from the CEO, CMO, or the social media manager. Featuring different people as the face/personality for your event shows your audience even more variety.
- Encourage participation.
Encourage attendees to post their own photos, videos and takeaways using the event hashtag to drive trending posts and overall traffic. Before the event, ask your community what they are looking forward to, and encourage them to share their thoughts on their social accounts, tagging your association. Incentives help too, such as a contest with user-submitted videos of key takeaways during and even after the event has taken place. Sharing video testimonials and quotes is a great way to keep up the conversation, especially if a virtual event offers platform access after it is over.
- Connecting in-person and virtual attendees.
As in-person events make a comeback—and we are thrilled to see so many of our clients planning for this later this year—many events will still include a hybrid component. It’s important to keep social media activities going as a way to bridge the connection between those who are attending in person and those who choose to participate virtually. If a virtual participant still wants a sense of participating, having a good mix of photos, live tweets, quotes, videos, and stories is the best way to give them the feeling of what is going on as a reminder of what to look forward to at your next event in 2022 and beyond.