5716026096_e275edf996_bThe importance of social media during live events is well established. According to Event Manager Blog, almost 70% of Event Planners use Twitter for their events, with just under 60% stating that they use social media for marketing activities before, during and after events. When it comes to awards, where interaction between the organisers and the delegates is integral to the ultimate success of the event, social media becomes increasingly influential and important.

Whether you’re planning internal company awards or large-scale industry awards, ultimately the goal is the same: create a great engaging experience. Social media can help you do just that:

Before The Event

As with any event, if you start building a buzz long before the big day, you’ll help drive attendance. Your social media effort, therefore, should begin as soon as you have the date confirmed.

It’s at this stage that you should decide on an event hashtag. Far too many events, including award ceremonies, get to one week before kick-off and realise they’ve forgotten to use a hashtag. As soon as you have one in mind, (you can use services such as TweetReach to make sure no one else is using it) apply it to all relevant communications. Don’t just use it on Twitter; add it to emails, registration pages, wherever you can to make sure people will see it.

The nature of awards gives organisers some great opportunities to have fun on social media. Something that we’ve seen growing over recent years in the inclusion of a ‘social vote’ category, where the winner is decided by the largest number of votes received on social media. This might not work for all types of awards, but it can be a nice way to involve delegates pre-event and tap into their competitive sides. They’ll naturally want to share the voting info as much as possible, so it could extend your reach exponentially.

During The Event

The real fun can start on the day of your ceremony. It’s important to be clear about who in your team will be managing the social media stream. It may be possible to have more than one person doing this, so long as your efforts don’t crossover. There are a whole host of tools available to make social media monitoring and posting that little bit easier. Two of the most widely used are TweetDeck (for Twitter only) and HootSuite (for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). Both tools are free, with HootSuite offering a premium option should you need to add more accounts or functionality.

Research carried out by Buffer showed that Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets. This goes to show how important it is to include a visual element to your social media content, so if possible it is worth appointing one of your team as social photographer for the day. With Twitter’s recent addition of video support you could even take some short clips of the festivities.

Twitter Walls at events can receive some mixed responses. Some love to be able to see all the social media content from the day displayed, while it could make others reluctant to tweet. If you do go for a Twitter Wall, make sure you have someone moderating the posts before they go live to avoid any unflattering content being displayed!

Of course, being an award ceremony the most important thing you can be doing is sharing the names of the winners and, where possible, @mentioning them directly – this will encourage them to share the news too.

After The Event

Just because the awards are over, doesn’t mean you can stop with the social media posting! This is especially important if you’re planning to attract delegates to another event later in the year – you want as many people as possible to see what a success it was.

Tools like Storify will let you summarise the social ‘story’ following your event, based on the hashtag. This will give a breakdown of the top tweets from the day and highlight key moments. This can then be shared with your network as a neat summary. Make sure you shout about the statistics from your ceremony too – the number of attendees, number of winners – all of this is great content to share.

Click to get in touchFinally, make sure you take the time to drill down into the social media analytics. Visiting www.analytics.twitter.com will give you a detailed view of how each tweet has performed, meaning you can improve and grow next time round.

 

If this post was useful, you’ll also like our ‘Top apps to help your event run smoothly’.

 

photo credit: SSJ100 Hunt: Clue #4 via photopin (license)

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