And finally, how can you use social media following a face-to-face event? Be sure to continue to leverage the tools and communities that you’ve built to assist with audience generation and dialogue pre and during your event.
I’ve utilised the following, but would love to hear from others on the what they’ve found to be particularly useful.
Be sure to target your registration list AND your initial invite list. For all attendees a “Thank-you for attending” email can be sent directing them to the presentations from your event, video footage, photos & any other material/assets/marketing tactics that may be useful (e.g. relevant white papers, brochures, case studies, other events, etc.), all of which can be posted on your corporate website where you’ve created your event page. By sending a series of emails you can maintain regular contact with your audience.
For those that didn’t attend, either no-shows or cancellations, you can send them the same material to give them an idea of what they missed out on and encourage them to attend future events.
And for those that you invited but didn’t register, it’s a useful way of highlighting the content from the day to encourage them to consider attending your events in the future.
The actual event is a fantastic way of generating content – be sure you have a plan in place for what you want to create and how you’re going to leverage this afterward. Otherwise you’re in danger of producing material that is never going to be used, or taking too long to produce material and thus missing the window when your audience still have your event fresh in their mind.
Video assets can be posted on YouTube on your event site including event highlights, vox pops, keynotes/presentations, speakers Q&As, etc. Following last year’s SOA Architect Summit, we recorded the audio of the keynote presentation, and then re-shot this in Second Life, posted the video on Livestream, and then made this keynote available to everyone that had registered to attend the event. The image below shows a screenshot of my Livestream channel and featured four on-demand videos: two videos are follow-up events run in Second Life, one is an event highlights overview video, and the final clip is the keynote from the live face-to-face event. I re-shot the keynote in Second Life as I only had one cameraman at the live event and the video footage wasn’t particularly engaging. The benefits of using Second Life meant that different camera angles could be used to make the footage more compelling.
You can post the presentations on Slideshare. Photos from the day can be posted onto Flickr. All delegates for the SOA Architect Summit have an opportunity to go on a free lap around the Mercedes Benz World track with a professional driver. I’m aiming to take photos of all the delegates as they go around the track and posting these on Flickr to give everyone a memento of the day.
Social networking forums (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) created well in advance of the event, facilitate dialogue between your delegates and your speakers/experts. You can utilise these sites to ask attendees for feedback on agenda topics that could be included next year, and encourage delegates to ask answers of your experts or of each other. By gaining this insight you can ensure that your event is focused on the needs of your audience. In addition, you can ask your customers whether or not they would be prepared to speak at your event. As customer case studies ALWAYS get the best feedback at events, you’re not only enabling your customers to boost their own profile, you’re also building an agenda that is going to really interest and appeal to your audience.
Use your Twitter profile to recap on the event, retweet and respond to attendees at/post the event who are actively tweeting, remind attendees to join your forums, ask and answer questions, and keep discussions alive.
Provided your event contains some newsworthy material and you are looking for PR, you can submit social media news releases before, during and after. The fantastic thing about a social media news release is that, amongst other things, you can promote your communities, suggest relevant tags to boost your search efforts and flag multimedia assets to help bloggers/journalists/influencers & customers write about you and socialise your story.
For any of your community efforts, be sure to allow enough time to build up a following on the sites that you are leveraging. Give people a reason for connecting with you – be helpful; offer incentives; think about THEIR needs, not yours.
All of the above takes time – planning, devising your strategy, creating assets, building your communities and then participating online. Look to leverage agencies where it makes sense to help with your efforts. For me, the jury’s still out on where I see agencies adding value to my social media efforts. Certainly with content creation and the initial effort required to create an online presence, but would you outsource the interactions you have with your customers?