Here’s something cool about our digital services team: We’ve all got specific roles and specialties but not a single one of us is even close to being a one trick pony. Take me, for example; I’m a programmer. I am also super interested in social media marketing. There’s a very practical benefit that brings to my daily work, in that I’m always thinking about what kind of programming tricks I could use to create more shareable, interactive sites for our clients. It’s also pretty useful to be able to contribute new ideas when we’re called upon for social media marketing expertise by clients and when I’m asked to write an interesting blog post around digital best practices on a regular basis. See? It’s a win-win!
So, today I’m going to share a basic primer to help event organizers make the most of their websites via the power of social media!
Making the Case
When potential attendees, exhibitors or sponsors are online, there’s a pretty decent chance they’re on a social media network. In fact, the average internet user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms – a full 28% of all daily activity online. If you play your cards right, that’s a huge opportunity for you to meet people where they are and successfully promote your brand, venue or event.
Aside from just increasing awareness, research has shown that social shares can have a real impact on the bottom line for events. Eventbrite reports that every time an event is shared on Facebook, it drives on average $4.15 in additional revenue back to the organizer. And on average across all social networks, the value of a social share drives $3.23 in additional revenue for the event each time someone shared.
Convinced? Good! Let’s move on to how you can get in on the action.
Event Website v. Facebook
At this point, you might be wondering whether it makes more sense to just abandon your event website in favor of a Facebook business page. If that’s where everyone is, why bother, right? Wrong. Social media marketing consultant, Bianca Van Meeuwen, sums up the reasoning for that pretty nicely:
- You don’t own your Facebook page or your fans
- It’s not designed for your business
- It limits your SEO & measuring capabilities
- It’s not the only player in the social media game
I’ll add my own point to that list and say that this strategy also ignores that perusing business pages simply isn’t the way people use Facebook or social media, in general. It’s important to represent your event there but with the firm understanding that your message is still peripheral in this space.
All that said, there are still some excellent ways you can set your event website set up for social media success!
Getting Your Website On Board
Start with the low hanging fruit: placing “Share” buttons/plugins on relevant pages. Tools like AddThis are a great choice for this both for their easy ability to allow customization and because they include general functionality like “email” and “print” alongside the sharing tools for social media. Whatever tools you use, it’s not enough just to plaster your site with them. Use analytics and UX testing to figure out what your key pages are and where the optimal place on those pages is for sharing tools.
Next up, capitalize on the conversations about your event that are already happening on social media channels by sharing this user generated content onsite. Services like Olapic, Pixlee and Curalate are examples of some tools that are doing this well.
Another easy way to pump up your site’s social media power is to offer social sign-in. Allowing users to engage with your site without having to create a new set of login information they’re likely to forget lowers the bar for interaction in a valuable way. In fact, research has shown that social sign-in users often spend more time on site and purchase more than users who don’t login with social credentials.
Finally, consider adding social-based comment systems to your site. Again, this offers another way to capitalize on interactions you’re already having with clients and lowers to bar for that interaction in the first place. It’s a no-brainer! Livefyre and Disqus are common and robust tools for this purpose.