Social media can be used very effectively to promote business events. Even if your firm or organization hasn’t yet utilized social media to promote events — here’s an inspirational story: One very high-profile business organization has successfully gone from opposing the use of social media to promote its’ events — to enthusiastically embracing the use of social media: The World Economic Forum (WEF).
As the BBC reported in 2016 — in the past few years – WEF has gone from opposition to social media use – to a highly active and successful example of its’ best use. As many will know, WEF’s annual meeting occurs in Davos’, Switzerland. Attended by many prominent business and political leaders from around the world — in the last few years the organization has been superb at promoting this event using social media. I wrote in more detail about those efforts here – and emulate them in another blog and social media channels I publish here.
As the BBC details: “In the past couple of years, the World Economic Forum’s social media operation has come into its own. A decade or so ago, sharing what was going on at the WEF’s meetings was verboten, but opposition to using social media as a communication tool at Davos has changed in a big way.”
WEF’s social media team in action
As the BBC explains, WEF now has a social media desk staffed by two professionals who search for what is being shared or provoking online discussion. They then repost or repackage this content in a way tailored to reach a broader audience. When WEF conducts its’ annual meeting at Davos, the WEF social media team live-tweets the event — often adding original posts focused on its’ followers on its’ widely followed social media channels. In addition to Twitter, Facebook and it’s own blog — WEF also utilizes Weibo, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.
Mike Hanley, Head of Digital Communications for WEF (@mikeh101) told the BBC that these outreach efforts are intended to harness the power of social media to amplify the conversations at Davos: “It helps us emphasize the importance and complexity of the issues that our participants are discussing, it helps us make those issues understandable, and it helps us bring the voice of the general public into our proceedings.”
How can your organization emulate WEF’s social media success?
Social Media-focused blog Tint has published an excellent article about how you can promote events via the use of social media. Below I’ve distilled that post into 9 basic tips for promoting business events via social media:
- Create a short Twitter hashtag for your event and use it often — It can markedly increase awareness, participation and attendance for your event.
- Be proactive with your Twitter hashtag — “Promote it everywhere including your event website, dedicated emails, social networks, and the event’s mobile app. The hashtag is a great way for your attendees to engage with the event content, speakers, and each other. You’ll be able to watch what is trending around your event in real-time and get relevant feedback in the process.”
- Promote your event as early as possible — “The earlier you promote the event and dedicated hashtag, the greater your chances are for success. Promote early to create momentum and reach a larger audience. Social media is an ideal channel for initiating conversations.”
- Create enthusiasm before the event — which in turn will encourage others to promote the event. “Reach out to attendees, speakers, and prospective conference-goers to get them excited about the event.” Share other related content about the event, e.g. blogposts by influencers, news reports, social posts by those interested in the event.
- Leverage Thoughts Leaders — “Using social correctly can help your attendees to become your biggest promoters. Encourage attendees to leverage their social networks to help spread the word. Create mutually beneficial relationships with industry and thought leaders by sharing their updates and engaging them in conversation online. They already have loyal fans and are admired in their industry.”
- Encourage event speakers to promote the event. It’s helpful for them to promote conferences where they’ll be speaking.
- Engage guests before the event — Here you might publish and promote shareable content with interesting facts, discounts or other creative efforts.
- Use All Your Social Channels – Or Create a Dedicated Event Channel — “Create a LinkedIn group and a Facebook page for your event. Post topics including activities, photos, sponsors, special guests, speakers, agenda info, and anything else that is relevant for the conference. Organically growing an attendee community on these networks means higher shareability for your event”.
- Follow Back — “Engage with and reward attendees [and dedicated social followers] who are regularly promoting and mentioning your events on social media and encourage two-way communication.”
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