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Digital marketing for conferences and events

The role of technology and social media marketing for conferences and events is constantly growing. The events industry has embraced all forms of social media as a powerful and cost effective way of marketing not only to your target audience, but also reaching potential new audiences which previously may have been unknown.

Before social media, there was print marketing and email. Social media has created a new dimension for event planners to interact on a more intimate level with event attendees of all ages. There are many social media platforms out there and developing a social media campaign is a lot more than simply having a Facebook page.

Here are our top tips for using technology and social media to market your conference or event.

convergence digital marketing

  1. Electronic Direct Marketing (EDM)

An EDM campaign is a digital version of direct mail. Consider who you wish to communicate with that may be involved in the event – attendees, exhibitors, speakers, suppliers and then tailor your EDM accordingly. An effective event management tool (Expert Events uses EventsAIR software) should enable targeted communications (documents, emails or text messages) to be sent before, during and after an event.

  1. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

With so many people using their social media accounts on the go, if you’re not tapping in to this market, you need to be! Social media is one of the world’s largest connection ports and the advertising is free provided the page is linked to a real persons account. Boosting your posts (for a small fee) allows your connections as well as their connections and others to see your post, increasing your market reach. It’s also very useful for getting in touch with people who have liked your page and getting them involved in polls and surveys you want to conduct. If you are running short of time for posting, set aside some time to create a week or two worth of posts using Facebook’s schedule function.

Most website designs allow you to share everything to your social accounts – including LinkedIn. This can also be true for registration sites and can be a very handy way of linking attendees to your event. If there is an event page on your website – that is where the conversation surrounding the event should be taking place.

Across all of your social media accounts, creating event specific pages allows possible participants to get involved in the conversation prior to the event. This can be a great secondary avenue to let people know deadlines that are coming up and other event specific information such as hashtags, competitions and the introduction of speakers and exhibitors who will be at the event. A useful way to use hashtags during your event is to encourage posts with questions for specific speakers and then have the chairperson or MC ask the questions at the end of the session (often much more effective than using roaming microphones).

  1. Plan ahead

The content you’ve been sending to your contacts via newsletters (if you have one) is also great in shorter form for your Facebook account. If your webpage has a blog, it’s a great idea to ensure that your newsletter content is varied and placed in a blog or a short post on your social media feeds. Blogs can also be used in place of newsletters to keep your connections on any platform informed and enable two way conversations on the topics that you post.

  1. Be involved in conversations in your field of interest

There are many platforms that can link all of your social media accounts together and assist in monitoring the activities, interests and conversations taking place throughout your networks. Social media management tools such as Hootsuite allow you to post to all of your social media accounts from one general dashboard. This can be a real time saver and can also track and manage your social media updates. Another way to stay up to date is by using Social Mention, a site that allows users to search phrases and hashtags that are trending on social media.

  1. May apps be your friend

Engage attendees, sponsors and speakers at your event, conference or meeting with a customised app. Conference apps allow you to create personalised schedules, read speaker biographies and abstracts, check maps, answer surveys instantly and even pose questions to speakers during their presentations. Delegates can respond to polls, post on discussion boards and connect with others through social networking integration. Additionally, conference apps facilitate more sustainable events with less printing required. Digital material means last minute changes can be made live.

  1. Event creation

Facebook and LinkedIn both have an events feature. Using this feature to create events allows the networks of those who have clicked ‘Attending’ to see the event, creating a wider reach for possible event attendance. Linking this to your website’s event pages ensures your contacts and connections are being reached in every possible way.

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