It’s the number one mistake event organizers make: dropping the ball on marketing as soon as the lights go down. And who can blame you, really? After working tirelessly for months (years even!) to plan every detail and build an engaged audience, you’ve just spent the last several days drowning in last-minute issues and execution. At the end of all that, it’s easy to understand why you might want to send out a standard follow-up survey and be done with it! However, if this is where your post-event marketing plan ends, you’re missing out on your best opportunity to capitalize on all that hard work…and make it a little easier on yourself the next time around!
Here’s five post-event marketing tips to help you cultivate/captivate a community around your event 365 days a year:
1. Smarter Surveys
As I mentioned, if organizers do anything post-event, it’s usually a fairly standard post-event survey. Typically, this is a quick follow-up that prods attendees for feedback on their experience – certainly a valuable source of information when it comes to planning for next year! However, this is also an excellent opportunity to slip in a few questions that aren’t explicitly related to soliciting comments and suggestions about what just took place.
General questions about best practices or industry-specific issues can net you a goldmine of useful data that you can then package (and re-package!) and trickle out throughout the year on social media and/or original content. This could even score you some excellent, free advertising in the form of media coverage if what you uncover is good enough for trade publications or mainstream media to report on!
2. Don’t Go Dark
A short post-event break from social media/blogging, etc. is fine, but don’t let it turn into a six-month hiatus! Keep the momentum you’ve built in the lead-up to your event and during the event itself going with a steady stream of valuable content.
It’s helpful to create at least a rough content calendar well ahead of time to keep yourself on track and guard against turning out low-quality pieces in the mad rush to publish something (anything!). For ideas on content types and topics, look no further than the subject-matter of the sessions and keynote speeches from your show. Speakers and presenters could also be an excellent resource for new ideas or even production of the content itself.
3. Get Nostalgic
There’s a lot of noise on social media and even if your content is stellar, you’re going to need things to fill in the gaps between releases. Aside from curating interesting content from other industry thought-leaders and news sources, gathering and interacting with user-generated content from the event, etc., look to the popularity of apps that play on everyone’s weakness for nostalgia as inspiration.
Similar to the way TimeHop works, select photos and videos from the event that showcase the value of the experience to highlight on your Facebook page and/or Twitter feed. A catchy name and regular pattern—along the lines of “Flashback Friday”—gives your community something to look forward to in a format that is proven to receive the highest levels of engagement on social media.
4. Start a Tweet Chat
If you could give all those people who made valuable networking connections at your event an easy way to catch up, talk shop and keep the fires burning until next year, you’d do it, right? Good news! That easy way exists and it’s called a Tweet Chat.
Tweet Chats are live, moderated discussions on Twitter. They’re typically organized around a pre-defined topic or theme and participants use a hashtag to filter comments into a single conversation. Not only does this appeal to your existing audience, it’s also a great way to reach a wider one—not to mention, a good resource for new ideas for the original content you’re producing.
Here’s an excellent primer for hosting a Tweet Chat to get you started.
Engagement on social media and valuable content pieces will get you pretty far with an audience, but nobody knows the power of a real conversation better than an event organizer, right? Though you could easily incorporate video, what I’m suggesting here doesn’t actually have to involve true face-time to work. I’m talking webinars. A once-a-month-ish opportunity to have a live, two-way interaction with your community.
You could review and expand on the subject matter of the latest content piece you’ve released. You could feature a popular speaker or panelist from the event itself (past, future or both). You can discuss a hot new industry-related topic that’s in the news. The possibilities are endless and the payoff is huge!
Call in Reinforcements
If you’re thinking, “This sounds great, but I don’t have the time or expertise for it,” I understand. Maybe that just means you start small, choosing to focus on one or two of the suggestions I’ve provided. Something is certainly better than nothing!
However, if that still seems beyond your reach or you’d like to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of you, it’s worth considering hiring some additional help. Outside consultants/agencies are often your best bet in terms of cost and expertise. If you’re interested in what Ungerboeck Digital can do to help, drop us a line. We’d be happy to discuss how we can help you expand your post-event strategy into a year-round endeavor that pays dividends.