Event marketing is one of the most promising ways for marketers to reach new and existing customers and engage with them in a way that is less overtly promotional. Indeed, one of the major benefits of an exhibition or event is the ability to build more meaningful relationships and have two-way interactions, while providing a positive experience.
When it comes to actually driving engagement, an event company needs to use the right tools to their advantage and one of the most important tools is social media. In this article, we will explore the uses of social media and explain how social walls and social content can help to create a more engaging event for attendees.
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The Role of Social Media
In the modern age, events and social networks are almost inextricably linked, with marketers choosing to use them as a promotional method, and attendees choosing to use them as a way of sharing their experience with friends and family members. This means that, for an event company, social media is often a top priority.
For example, according to statistics compiled by Certain, 77 percent of event marketers make use of social media for promotional purposes before and during an event, while 61 percent use social media as a promotional tool after an event. In terms of platforms, 89 percent of marketers use Facebook as their preferred choice.
The link between social media and event marketing also produces positive results the other way too. Indeed, Mareting Sherpa reported that year-round efforts combining social media marketing and event marketing actually increase click-through rates across social media platforms by as much as 236 percent.
Benefits of Social Media Walls
With the importance of social media established, the role that social media walls can play in driving event engagements starts to become clearer. Essentially, a social media wall is a wall that can be included within bespoke or modular exhibition stands, serving a 'live feed' for discussion about the event.
A key benefit of social walls is their ability to serve multiple purposes at once. For attendees, they provide an opportunity to allow them to express their views and see their posts up on the wall. For marketers, they provide user-generated content for the event itself and encourage attendees to post about the event. As a result, they offer a unique way to increase event outreach and spread the word beyond the confines of the event venue.
With that being said, there is one catch. Social media walls will only display posts that include your event hashtag within them and, according to Eventbrite, less than half of attendees remember to actually include this in posts.
This makes it imperative to choose a catchy hashtag and promote it as strongly as possible. The hashtag can be incorporated into the design of modular exhibition stands, should feature prominently on any literature you hand out, should be promoted on the social wall itself and should be included in the business's own social media posts.
Other Social Media Content
Away from live feeds, social media content is one of the most important drivers of modern event engagement, and there are many ways to take advantage. For instance, live video content can open up the possibility of event engagement even from those who are unable to physically attend. Facebook live is especially useful for engagement, with people watching live streams three times longer than normal videos and commenting 10 times more.
At the event itself, it can be beneficial to include elements that combine an in-person experience with social media follow-up. Photo booths are a particularly strong example of this, with event companies providing the facilities to take memorable photos, then uploading them to social media afterwards, ensuring post-event follow up occurs.
Nevertheless, it is important that the event itself provides content which is engaging to those who are in attendance and leaves them feeling as though the trip was worthwhile. Of course, wherever possible, this content should be presented in such a way that it is easily shareable on social media sites, improving its reach.
Finally, if you have expert speakers at your event, a great way to combine event content and social media is to use a screen to display social media posts from your speakers. This will provide your speakers with greater exposure and help to establish their credibility, while providing your audience with useful insight.
The Final Word
For an event company, engagement is one of the key concerns and social media provides a platform to assist with this in a number of ways. In particular, social media walls offer attendees the opportunity to express themselves, while simultaneously expanding the reach of the event to their social media followers.
Furthermore, video content can be live streamed or uploaded to social media, in order to engage an audience outside of the venue itself, while photo booths and user content screens can help people to share experiences and ideas with others in a way that remains clearly connected to the exhibiting brand.
Author Bio: Reno Macri is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in exhibition services in UK, event branding, event production, exhibition stand design, and much more. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.