Supporting delegates to use Social Media

What’s in it for the delegate?

I’ve opened up with this questions because as obvious as it seems I don’t think event planners every really ask it. We tend to just take it for granted that our attendees will tweet about their engagement and their experiences at our event. We have to make our attendees very comfortable when using social media.

We hope that our attendees will do our job in amplifying our event and our messages across their social platforms: that they will earn their promoter badge for your event is almost just expected. Aren’t we being a bit presumptuous? What really is in it for them? And most importantly how are we supporting delegates to use Social Media?

Socially engaged attendees are your VIPs!

There are platforms available like Gleanin and Event Sneaker that can tell you who is most engaged and, oh yes!, who is the most influential in scooping up actual attendees for you. These are the people I would want to engage with at a very early stage and show them the love. I want to offer them VIP status at my event and I want to thank them for their support. Again this is probably obvious but really, actually how many event planners utilise this type of data to do this?

So that’s the who but what’s the how many?

Even for an event of say 5000+ attendees I don’t think you will find many really active people on Twitter in the lead up to the event maybe 30 to 50ish? I would class these really engaged as attendees who are tweeting on average once a day in the month or so before. We all know twitter traffic peaks during but again the really active people (using my totally arbitrary method) maybe number less than a couple of a hundred?

Although a surprise in part you are probably agreeing that this low level of genuine interaction is similar to a lot of our events and is evidence that event planners need to be supporting delegates to use Social Media: to persuade attendees that there is something in it for them.

Giving these engaged people some extra love is certainly one way to do that but this only deals with the people who are already engaged and this number is annoying small. What about the majority who are on social networks but aren’t showing you much love?

Let’s get back to basics and offer some more support on social media

It’s up to the planner to offer support and to engage with attendees. We need to take a step back and think what can we do to encourage more Social Media support?

Last year we were challenged with ensuring a mainly NHS audience engaged in Social Media at a medical congress. In the end we managed to have just over 75% of the attendees on Twitter before, during and after and we were mightily chuffed. One of the ways we did it was to use a “how to guide” to encourage an uptake of social media as well as some examples of how they could support the event. We of course did a lot more but I can’t cover it all in a blog post.

In our material to attendees we focussed on how they could help their association to amplify the content not our event. We think this is a good strategy to support your attendees. They become the badge wearers for great content and not just your event.

With more and more events likely to be entering your particular space it is so important to create a buzz about your event on line. Concentrating on your VIPs and encouraging the majority to support the content are two useful places to start.