How To Avoid Event Social Media Pitfalls

February 21, 2018

Whether you’re running a school fete or global conference, your event needs to have a social media profile.

Social media provides a forum for you to connect and share ideas and information with your attendees. It can generate buzz and enthusiasm for your event, boost ticket sales, create lasting positive impressions and inspire raging FOMO in those who missed out.

However, it can also go horribly wrong.

While the examples given the Inc.com post are extreme cases, it’s easy to trip up on social media. Here are some tips to avoid your hash-tag turning sour:

Have A Policy

While posting on social media can seem like freewheelin’ fun times, in reality it pays to have clear and widely understood policy that provides an engagement blueprint for you and your team.

You may have a social media/content manager who fully understands the event social media brief, including content language and tone, but what about team members who may post event related content across their personal channels?

Team cheerleading across social media can be important and influential, so help them understand them how to craft their event related posts. Issue guidelines around language, hot- button issues, personal opinion vs. company line and appropriate image use.

Pro tip: a useful analogy is to ask team members who want to post event related content to think about how they would act if they were at the event in person – and post accordingly.

Don’t Ignore Reputational Weaknesses

If you’re running a conference for an industry renowned for poor service or terrible time-keeping or low quality standards tread very carefully when attempting to spark conversation on social media.

The weaknesses may be a necessary by-product of low-cost, for example, but pretending they don’t exist or glossing over them with an inappropriately upbeat hash-tag could backfire. Understand how people engage with the event industry or brand you’re promoting and use this to craft your social media strategy and posts.

Keep Watch For Timely Issues

Your on point hash-tag might be the perfect reflection of your event, but don’t forget that every post will exist in the wider social media universe.

Whether it’s an emerging natural disaster, a political movement or troubled brand ambassador – a hash-tag that inadvertently connects to a divisive or important issue will appear clumsy at best and wilfully ignorant/malicious at worst.

Research your event social media themes and hash-tags in the hours leading up to posting. If a situation emerges during your campaign, don’t be afraid to change strategy. A few explanatory posts with the new hash-tag makes any negative associations easier to avoid.

Monitor and Respond

Keep an eye on your event mentions and respond to any potential difficulties quickly.   Include referral guidelines in your event social media policy. If team members encounter complaints, negative feedback or inflammatory event related content they are best referred to (and dealt with by) the appropriate marketing or customer relations expert straight away.

Fast and appropriate responses avoid public arguments that can quickly degenerate into a viral nightmare.

Pro tip: if your social media posts go awry, take responsibility and apologise where necessary – don’t ignore and hope it will go away.