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How to use social media to increase audience engagement during an event

Here’s how to make the most of your go-to social media platforms during your event. 

a group of people raising their hands in a room

Using social media to interact with attendees during an event is a great way to increase audience engagement (with a healthy side-dose of boosting your brand awareness online).

With that in mind, here’s how to make the most of your go-to social media platforms during your event. 

(PS. You might also be interested in our article on using social media to engage attendees in the run-up to events.)

1. Display your hashtag prominently around your event

Let’s start with the basics. Any social media engagement strategy needs a memorable hashtag, so it makes sense to ensure that yours is displayed prominently if you want attendees to use it during your event. 

2. Use polling to get live feedback from your audience

A recent study showed that 71% of marketers use polling during virtual events to increase audience engagement – and there’s no reason this logic can’t be applied to in-person events too. 

There are a range of super-easy, super-fast ways to run polls on social media – for example, Twitter lets you ask a question with up to four multiple choice answers, and Instagram Stories has a feature that allows you to ask a question with a simple two-answer choice for participants. 

Using polls during an event is a great way to gauge what your audience actually wants to get out of your event, while also providing a fun, interactive feel. For example, a key speaker at your event could arrange a quick poll half-way through their talk, asking their audience to decide whether they’d prefer to hear more on X, X or X topic. 

3. Use a hashtag system for audience requests

Everyone knows that encouraging audience participation is an effective way to energise a conference talk. One easy way to do this is to use a social media hashtag system that allows audience members to make specific requests. For example, at the start of a talk, the speaker could let the audience know to Tweet questions using a specific hashtag, which they’d then do their best to answer. 

Not only will this make for a richer, more worthwhile experience for attendees, it’ll help give your speakers some great exposure too. 

4. Offer incentives for social media interaction

Social media competitions can be a really effective way to promote your event before it happens – so who’s to say you can’t use the same tactic to engage your attendees during it?

Got a cool photo booth stationed at your event? Get attendees to share posts of their pictures using a dedicated hashtag, then award a prize to the one that’s the most hilarious or original (free drinks tokens are sure to go down well!). Or it could be that you’re using a hashtag system to nominate questions for a key speaker (as outlined above). In this case, you could offer a prize for the most thought-provoking question – say, a VIP ticket to your next event. 

5. Answer and share attendee posts 

Another great way to engage attendees through social media is to take the time to actually respond to posts that crop up during your event. Of course, it makes sense that you’ll be too busy yourself to do this, which is why it can be a good idea to hire someone for the job. Responding to both positive and negative posts about your event is a great way to make your audience feel genuinely heard – which can only be a good thing when it comes to securing that all-important engagement, right?

6. Arrange for influencers to interact with attendees’ social posts

Getting influencers involved with your social media marketing is definitely a smart move. So why not take this one step further and arrange for them to personally interact with some of the posts that crop up about your event while it’s taking place? This is a pretty easy way to create some extra hype around your event, while simultaneously boosting attendee engagement. Nice. 

It can be easy to get bogged down in nuanced advertising strategies and complex content marketing campaigns when it comes to using social media to promote your event. But sometimes it can be just as effective to use simpler methods to secure one of the most crucial metrics for success of them all – audience engagement. Good luck! 

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