How to Execute Measurable Social Media Marketing for Events

How to Execute Measurable Social Media Marketing for Events image iStock 000013189752Medium1How to Execute Measurable Social Media Marketing for EventsIndustry conferences and trade shows offer a unique opportunity to promote your brand (or your client’s brand) through various social media channels. For starters, it’s a rare occurrence that a huge segment of your audience is present in the same place at the same time. Not only are your customers in attendance, but your competitors and industry influencers (depending on the event) are likely there as well. You can potentially expose your brand to all three segments at once, while still keeping your messages targeted and relevant.

To execute social media marketing for an event successfully, you first need to have a plan in place, which should include measurable and achievable goals, dedicated resources and specific tactics outlined. If you approach events with a loose strategy of “live tweeting”, you not only miss out on a valuable opportunity to engage with your audience on a more personal level, but you also set yourself up for a reporting failure.

How to Execute Measurable Social Media Marketing for Events image 326491121How to Execute Measurable Social Media Marketing for Events

Social media marketing for events can (and should) be fun and effective. Follow these simple steps to put together a plan for success.

Set Measurable & Achievable Goals

You can’t meet your goals if you don’t set them in the first place. Before you even begin putting your plan together, think about what you or your client hopes to achieve. Set measurable and achievable goals appropriate for each social channel you plan to utilize (so, you’ll need to prioritize which channels you want to use, too. It likely isn’t feasible for you to use all of your social channels to the same degree).

Keep it reasonable, especially if this is your first time launching an aggressive social media strategy at an event. You want to make sure the KPIs you set can actually be accomplished. These will vary from brand to brand, so you will have to evaluate what success looks like for your team.

To really show the ROI of your plan, especially if you’re executing on behalf of a client, tie your goals to the lead generation goals. If you have a table or booth set up, how many sign ups are you hoping to get from the event? Promoting through social media is a powerful way to drive foot traffic to your booth, so make sure you set yourself up to get a piece of the reward.

Dedicate Resources & Create a Tactical Plan

No matter how awesome your plan, you won’t be successful if you don’t have the necessary resources to execute. I’m talking about both manpower and financial resources. It’s not usually a one-man band, so if you need to send a few team members, ensure you can foot the costs of travel, accommodations and event admission.

Make sure you have money set aside in your marketing budget for the event. Your budget will determine a lot of what you’re able to accomplish, so make sure you have one! And if your budget is zero, that’s fine – but your plan will have to reflect that.

Once you have all the prep covered, it’s time to create your tactical plan. I prefer to break out the plan by channel for organization’s sake. Based on the goals you’ve set, determine which tactics are best suited to accomplish those goals. Whether it’s live tweeting, contests or giveaways, you’ll want to outline each tactic and make sure someone has been assigned ownership.

If you need to pre-draft content for each channel, now is the time to do it. If you don’t pre-draft content, you might still gather links to any relevant, owned content that you plan to promote during the event. Make sure these are all in one place where the entire team has access – and make sure they’re trackable. Use tracking parameters so that you can trace visits from your social shares to activity on your website and leads generated.

Do some pre-event research. Is there an official hashtag? Are there Twitter lists of attendees? Pre-promote your participation in the event so that you give yourself a head start.

Execute

Keep in mind that during the event, you might not actually be able to stick to your entire plan. Things will come up and you might decide to move in the direction of an unexpected opportunity. This is fine. Just make sure that all of your activity, planned or otherwise, is documented. You’ll need this later.

When you’re posting content, make sure to use the tracked links you’ve already set up. Track social engagement manually or use a tool that does it for you.

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When you’re not actively posting or engaging, be sure to monitor all channels. Check out the feed around the event hashtag – are there any conversations into which you can insert yourself? Likely there are.

Measure & Report

After the event, it’s time to show your boss or your client all the fantastic work you’ve done. Since you’ve been tracking and compiling all of your activity and results, this should be fairly easy.

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Go back to your KPIs. Did you achieve them? If not, why? Keep your report as data-oriented as possible. I like to start with a high-level snapshot of results and then drill down into the various activities and the traction garnered from each. You’ll want to highlight which activities performed the best and generated the most leads versus those that didn’t perform so well and that you’ll want to pass on the next time around. Remember, every experience is a learning experience, and not every tactic will be as successful as others.

Do you have any tips for executing social media marketing at events? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

image credit: iStockPhoto, memegenerator.net

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