If you run events for your nonprofit, association, charity, community organization, or business, then you will find the use of social media as a good way to enrich the experience. Here are some basic tips to consider when using social media for events:1) Depending on how social media savvy your event participants are, it might be worth creating a “Social Media for this Event” flier. This is to give people a basic overview of how they can contribute to the conversation via social media, if they’re not used to doing so. This may be in the form of a PDF document, a blog post, a page on your event site, a hard copy flier, or a combination of two or more of those things.
2) In your “flier”, you should share the URLs to all of your organization’s social media platforms to let people know how they can continue the conversations. Promote the advantages of keeping in touch before, during, and after the event.
3) Assign conversation points and promote those avenues leading up to the event. This way, all participants are aware of them and are prepared to use the information to socialise. Some people even use this as a way to get to know people from the event beforehand, especially if they’re attending the event without knowing anyone.
Some examples of event conversation points on social media: Twitter hash tags, where to share photos, where documents will be shared, will there be group-edited documents available for people who wish to contribute, etc.
4) Choose an event-specific hash tag to capture the day on Twitter. As mentioned, Twitter is a good way to encourage conversations before, during, and after an event. And, the best way to do it is through assigning a hash tag for your event. Apart from event-specific hash tags, you might also consider a long-term plan of assigning a universal hash tag so people can continue the conversations. Although, there are event organisers who just assign one hash tag to be used for the event, and even continuing after. This will depend on your strategy.
5) Consider how you will handle contributed photos and documents. You might consider promoting the hash tag on image sharing networks like Pinterest and Instagram. Or, assigning a Flickr tag. You might also consider having an event section in your Facebook Page.
6) If you’re planning to share photos on Facebook, try to do so as soon as possible and tag individuals when possible. Please note that if you’re not “friends”, you would be unable to tag, but you can encourage others to tag people they know in the photos. Try not to make too many updates referring to the same event.
7) Documents, slide show presentations, and should be shared in a pre-assigned location and should be promoted at the event. Some popular places to share and/or collaborate on these types of information include: SkyDrive, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Facebook Groups.
8) Consider promoting your event in different channels or platforms. Even if you already have an event page, you might still want to find places to list your event, such as Facebook Events, Jedo, and Lanyrd.
9) Make sure you have social sharing enabled on your event page! Allow people to share your event easily on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, etc.
10) Measure your event’s impact through different tools. For example, when measuring impact on Twitter, you can use tools like TweetReach.
11) After each event, a curated version of your event’s content would be good to have as documentation and reference. This way, you will be able to capture Tweets, photos, videos, slides, participants’ blog posts, and other information people shared before, during, and after the event. One of the most popular tools for this is Storify. You can also easily embed your Storified event in your blog.
So, in summary, remember these when using social media for events:
Image source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Shai Coggins is the Manager and Chief Digital Media Specialist at Vervely, an Australia-based agency serving local and international clients. One of the company's main clients is Microsoft. Shai has been featured in a number of media due to her online work, including being named as one of Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list (2009).