More and more people are attending events, especially Millennials. In a survey by Eventbrite in 2016, about 89% of Millennials aged 18 to 34 said they attended an event, and feeling connected with other people is one of their biggest reasons for booking their tickets.
For brands and marketers, this growing popularity of live events presents an excellent opportunity to engage with their advocates and interact with prospects face to face. And in this guide, we will look at some of the biggest trends that pulled crowds into events.
Read on and give your social media marketing arsenal an upgrade.
First things first:
Chatbots are not new.
The first chatbot ELIZA was created in 1966 in an effort to make human-to-machine interaction feel like a human-to-human interaction. The prototype passed the Turing AI test but didn’t impress in mimicking human conversation.
Today’s chatbots, however, are miles ahead of their earliest predecessors. In their engines are rules and workflows, which enable them to converse with prospective attendees. Some even come with AI and natural language processing modules, allowing them to get better the more they interact with users.
And the best part:
Modern chatbots can live in your event website as well as chat applications and social media networks like Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and more.
The advantages of using chatbots for event social media marketing are plenty.
But probably the biggest draw is the increased efficiency it affords your team.
With a chatbot handling FAQ-like questions (ex: When does the keynote start?) about your event, your team can focus on handling more complex inquiries from attendees. Moreover, a chatbot is up and running 24/7. It won’t tire and will deliver the same level of service even if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning!
Events like SXSW 2017 and IMEX Frankfurt put chatbots to great use, handling thousands of questions, generating a ton of engagement in social media, and filling in the for the events team when they experience technical issues.
2. Influencer Marketing
In a nutshell, an influencer is an individual who can affect buying decisions of consumers, thanks to their authority and expertise within an industry. These people have a lot of followers and generate a lot of engagement social media.
And you want to enlist their aid when marketing your event socially!
You see, we didn’t really outgrow our teenage selves.
Just as 14-year olds are eager to attend a house party because the cool kid signed up for it, today’s audiences are also excited to come to a conference, product launch, or concert if their favorite social media celebrity is coming.
Many events in 2017 – both big and small – used influencer marketing to great success.
The Gigi Hadid X Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Carnival was one fine example of influencer marketing done right. You’ve got a model with more than 37 million followers on Instagram help in the design process, while pieces from the collection were promoted via social media.
A sold-out collection and a sold-out show!
If you plan on partnering influencers to promote your event on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you need to keep a couple of things in mind.
Priority number one is to pick the right influencers.
The number of followers is a major factor, of course. But more importantly, you want to work with someone whose audience profile either matches yours or it’s one you haven’t reached yet but want to. You will also want to team up with an influencer who actively engages with their followers.
Next, know that influencer marketing is a give-and-take affair.
Yes, a social media celebrity can lend you their clout and standing. But what’s in it for them? It better be worth their while.
So before you approach an influencer, make sure your brand and event is one they’ll happily represent, their audience will like what you offer, and lastly, that you can compensate them appropriately.
3. Videos And Live Streaming
Live streaming and videos have become ingrained in social media.
Facebook now has FB Live where everyone – from average Joes and Janes to big-name celebrities – broadcast parties or weddings they attend or even simple day-to-day activities.
As for Twitter, they acquired Periscope which became famous for its animated hearts that represent likes for your stream. YouTube has caught up, too, with YouTube Live. And for anything gaming-related, there’s always Twitch TV.
#Eventprofs have all the tools and platforms they need to broadcast their show.
And the reasons for doing so are compelling, too.
When you live stream, say, a one-night-only party, you’re creating a sense of urgency for those who didn’t get to attend. Users don’t feel excited about something they can access 24/7. But if your broadcast will only stay online until the event is over, people are more likely to tune in.
And let’s not forget:
Live streams and videos are accessible by anyone from anywhere so long as they have an internet connection.
They enable your event to break down physical and geographical barriers, reaching people you wouldn’t otherwise and translating to a bigger audience and greater brand recognition.
To broadcast your event successfully, however, you need to come prepared.
Start by getting the right audio-visual and broadcasting equipment.
Sure, smartphone cameras are more than capable of streaming content. But if you want to give your broadcast a more professional feel (which you should especially if you want to capture international audiences), you should invest in better hardware.
But don’t forget about the software!
To be specific, you want to use an encoder so your stream is compatible with Facebook Live, Periscope, or whatever platform you intend to use. And lest we forget, make sure your internet connection can handle the demand.
Once you’ve dealt with the hardware and software part, you should put up a page on your event’s website where you’ll broadcast the happenings. The page should also contain social media widgets that allow people to chat and engage with each other.
And last but not the least:
Have your social media and events team interact with viewers of the stream. Doing so ensures potential attendees for next year’s edition are properly warmed up!
And that wraps up this brief guide on the biggest trends in social media and event marketing. While far from being comprehensive, we hope that this guide has given you a few ideas for using social media and getting more attendees to your show!
Author: Reiss Kennedy is a geek and a department manager for COS Rental, an event equipment hire company based in London. During his downtime, he loves catching up on the latest buzz and trends in technology and digital marketing.