Guest post by Reno Marci
Live events have a unique value to marketers, because they afford businesses face-to-face time with potential customers, allow for physical demonstrations of products and services, and can be used for lead generation purposes. However, social media means that interactions no longer need to be face-to-face only.
Over the course of this post, we will look at some of the ways live social media coverage can be leveraged, in order to enhance overall event engagement and reach beyond the physical attendees of the event itself.
Live Video Streams
Online video has emerged as one of the most popular marketing mediums, with more than half of all marketers citing it as the type of content marketing that produces the best ROI, according to Hubspot. With live events, video coverage on social media has traditionally been recorded and edited, however that has now changed.
The popularity of features like Facebook Live, as well as the Periscope app, which is linked to Twitter, has enabled organizations to utilize live streaming as part of their event marketing and social media strategies. As a result, they can engage with an audience more effectively and immerse that audience in branded events as they happen.
Live video has also been shown to be superior when it comes to retaining the attention of its audience, with the average person watching Facebook Live videos for three times as long as they watch normal videos. Use this to your advantage by live streaming important parts of your event, including keynotes, Q&As and demonstrations.
Social Media Walls
With that being said, there are other ways for an event company to leverage live social media coverage away from video and one of the best ways to do this is to make Twitter and Facebook conversations part of the event itself, through the use of social media walls, which display the conversation as it happens.
There are several advantages to using this method to engage with people during your campaign. Firstly, it allows the conversation to extend to the social media followers of anyone at your event who Tweets about it. It also allows your Twitter hashtags to gain traction and encourages passers-by to interact with your brand.
"Live social media walls provide guests with the instant gratification of seeing their posts appear on the screen in real-time," says Ryan Gushue, writing for Enplug. "It [also] acts as a live social hub for your event, promoting your hashtag campaigns and showcasing the live stream of posts."
With parts of your event being live streamed and conversations and hashtags being actively promoted at the event itself, hopefully there will be a fair amount of online discussion coming out of the event. However, any event company worth its salt will use the discussion to its advantage in the follow up as well.
During your event, you should try to capture as many leads as possible and take down contact information. However, by using your social media feeds to look at the discussion associated with your hashtags, you may also be able to identify some high-quality leads who were not at the event, but were following it live.
Essentially, social media has allowed the scope of events to reach far beyond the walls of the building it is hosted in. This means that, in order to make the most of event marketing, it is important to also leverage live social media coverage to make contact with people who could not attend the event in person.
Thanks to social media, the scope of event marketing is now wider than ever, as live video streaming and online discussions can allow people from all over the world to interact with a brand and feel as though they are part of the action. The very best event marketers take advantage of this, actively encouraging online discussion from both those in attendance and those keeping up with things online, identifying high-quality leads from both groups.
Reno Macri is a founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions, a leading exhibition and event company, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office refurbishment, event branding, exhibition stands and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.