Access talks to Richard Dodgson, founder and creative director of Timebased, about how you can amplify your event’s exposure using social media.
Its undeniable that social media is an integral part of 21st century society. Taking advantage of its many opportunities and benefits, for each event, can make all the difference to its success, and the amount of exposure achieved.
Not only can social media help to drive business enquiries, it also supports your authenticity as a brand and gives potential clients vital insights into your work. Used in the correct way, it can be a goldmine. Used wrongly, it can compromise the brand.
The first step towards successfully using social media to amplify your event exposure is to prioritise your goals and ask yourself: ‘what do I want to achieve?’ Do you want to raise awareness, would you like to promote a product, or do you want to simply drive direct sales? Once you have made this crucial decision, the choice of which social media platform to use, and how to use it, comes into play.
Know your platforms
With the incessant modern-day demand for creative innovation and instant visual content, Instagram has climbed up the ranks to become the most popular platform among a contemporary audience. Since its release almost eight years ago, it has developed its offering considerably with the introduction of IGTV, stories and videos.
This has given companies more ways than ever before to get their message out there and make an impression. When doing so, you should be conscious of remaining consistent in your messaging style. For instance, decide whether you will post high-quality curated photography or more ad-hoc mobile phone style content that creates the sense of being behind the scenes. Both are equally valid, but choosing one approach and sticking to it is vital for creating and maintaining the feel of your brand.
Thanks to the ascent of Instagram, we are seeing a marked rise in companies seeking to create ‘Instagrammable moments’. These ‘moments’ act as a backdrop, enticing attendees to take photos with powerful visual content, for instance an attractive floral staircase at an M&S fashion event, and post them to their Instagram channels. As a result, they drive authentic engagement and awareness of both the event and the brand as a whole.
Although it has seen a drop-off in recent years, Twitter remains an important channel for connecting with consumers and securing attention. A key way to enhance your event through the platform is to populate it with appropriate hashtags before, during and after the event itself.
Doing so will enable you to raise and sustain awareness, as well as shape consumers’ engagement, to secure a consistent message. A brand should use the same hashtags throughout the event’s lifespan, from the lead-up to the follow-up content. The latter could include tributes to the sponsors and partners, or you could draw on memorable highlights.
LinkedIn is another fantastic way to nurture your business connections, as well as attract potential customers and consequently drive sales. It offers a great opportunity to showcase your event and, by extension, your product or service. As such, it’s a platform that should not be overlooked.
There is an ongoing debate regarding whether focusing on fewer but more targeted engagements is the most effective way to amplify your event, or whether a higher volume of less targeted “likes” is the best option. While there is no single right answer, you should be conscious that while likes are often viewed as a significant criterion of success, if these are made by individuals who aren’t really buying into your brand, they won’t deliver as great a financial return.
Nowadays, influencers are increasingly dominating the social media landscape, particularly in relation to businesses, as they hold the key to significant numbers of relevant customers.
An Instagram post or tweet from a well-known name can be the difference between a company’s success or failure, due to the trust built between themselves and their following. As such, they’re a powerful tool for raising awareness of your event, but only if you’ve been careful to ensure that their following, and method by which they intend to reach out, is right for your business.
It is worth being aware that influencers usually ask for payment for promoted content, knowing the value of their own brand association.
Although having well-known names connected to your event can help promote it, you must be conscious that VIP guests often have specific requirements, such as not showing their faces or releasing information about their attendance on social media. Therefore, it’s crucial that your staff are briefed and are acutely aware of their limitations. You should focus on letting the brand do the shouting, and only publish content referencing your VIPs after the event and with their permission.
It’s clear that social media is a fundamental component in planning and executing a successful event. Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn especially are rapidly becoming unparalleled platforms, and when utilised to their full potential, they can grow audiences, entice attendees and maximise the impact of the brand. This, in turn, can drive sales and new business- the ultimate goals of your social media strategy.