As an event professional, social media can be your best ally or your worst enemy - it all depends on how you use it. Take the right steps to build an engaged audience on social media and you’ll be rewarded with increased event recognition and revenue.
But if you’re new to social media it can be daunting, often feeling like nobody is listening. If you crave more interaction with your posts, follow these five golden rules for increased social media engagement with your entrants.
Respond quickly to comments and messages
Think of social media like a conversation. If you were talking to someone and they ignored everything you said, would you stick around for long?
When an entrant does engage with any of your social channels, responding quickly to their questions and comments is a must. If you don’t, you can bet they won’t bother engaging with you again.
Ideally you need to have people in place to respond to social media throughout the day, even outside of work hours. Achieving Facebook’s coveted ‘very responsive to messages’ badge will drastically increase the amount of engagement you receive with your page.
To earn the badge, you’ll need to respond to 90% of messages to your event page within 5 minutes or less. That might sound like a tough stat to achieve, but it’s worth the effort. Turn on push notifications for Facebook page messages, and get into the habit of replying straight away through the Facebook Messenger app. If you need to, simply send a holding message and wait until the next working day to compose a response
Know your audience
Your audience will only engage if your content is relevant to them. This might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed what some people post on social media.
That’s why getting to know your audience is key. Social media is a numbers game, and you need to keep your focus where the majority of your entrants are.
There are plenty of ways you can find out more about your audience. From emailing out a survey to talking to them in person on event day, anything you can do to build a more detailed picture of your entrants is invaluable.
Even knowing when your audience is most active on social media is important. You’ll soon get a good idea of this as you post more. Good times to post are often first thing in the morning, or between 12:30pm to 1:30pm when people are likely to be taking their lunch break.
All social media platforms will have various statistics on offer to show you how your posts are performing. You should be watching this like a hawk. If a particular post has a lot of engagement, consider it a learning opportunity. What did you post about? Who commented on it? What time did you post it?
Ask plenty of questions
One surefire way of generating social engagement is to ask questions. This triggers a natural response in people to, well… respond!
Not only does this increase engagement, it also makes your audience feel more valued. Being able to have their say on important event matters establishes a unique connection with an entrant that they won’t forget anytime soon.
It doesn’t all have to be serious though. Informal, humorous polls or questions are a great way of eliciting a response, especially on Friday afternoons or weekends.
Use call to actions wherever possible
A good call to action (CTA) is invaluable when it comes to generating engagement. It gives you the chance to give your audience direction, putting the focus on what you want them to do.
Every social post you put out there should have some sort of engagement based goal, paired with a single CTA to achieve that goal.
For example, you may want to increase the organic reach of a post on Facebook. A great way to achieve this is to ask your followers to ‘tag a friend’. This quickly expands the reach of your post by bringing people to your page who may not be fans already.
Here’s one you can try today. Post a great finish line picture of a group of people crossing the finish line of your event hand in hand. Caption the photo “Tag a friend you’d love to cross the Event Name Here finish line with!”
Use competitions to offer your audience a reward for engaging with you on social media. You’ll also enjoy a boost in traffic to your page and awareness around your event.
To really kick engagement up a notch, make sure there is an interactive element to your competition. Competitions that simply ask people to ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ a post will keep them on the page for the two seconds it takes to press a button.
Instead, ask users to interact in some way to enter your competition. Perhaps you could ask your entrants to share their favourite race day photo, with a prize for the best entry. This is also a great way to source content to use in future marketing activities.
The prize on offer could be anything from event merchandise to access to the VIP area on race day. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but make sure it’s something relevant and valuable to your audience.