The hard part is over—you’ve put together a rock-solid branded event, created awareness and people have registered to attend. But event marketers know that any conference is only as good as the conversation it starts. The key to making any event supremely effective and worth the investment is to keep people talking about it and your brand—even after the event that sparked their interest has long since passed.
Here are five ways to keep the conversation going after the event is over.
1. Provide Opportunities for Social Sharing.
An effective way to get people talking about your brand after they return home is to use the event itself to provide opportunities for posting to social media. Events are best when they feel fun and valuable to the attendees—and when that experience is clear to others who aren’t attending the event.
Stage experiences at your event that encourage attendees to post to social media. For example, you could set up a photo booth with fun props so your attendees are more likely to post about it.
A key component of social media marketing is leveraging your platforms and content to appeal to potential customers just outside your network. People don’t have to be following you to learn about your offerings. They may simply notice an interesting post from a friend and want to learn more.
2. Use Branded Hashtags.
Of course, if your attendees are posting about your event, you want to make it clear to their followers that your brand is associated with it. Hashtags are crucial for collecting posts from an event in one place. Display your branded hashtag clearly in several different places at your event.
If you know your target audience well, you can be creative with an unusual hashtag campaign. As Ethan Martin explained in Adweek, “Once equity and recognition are established with users, brands can roll out campaign hashtags with less overt branding, based on the target audience affinities and marketing initiatives. Brand engagement is built as brands speak directly to their target audience affinities and results in valuable content.”
3. Send a Post-Event Survey.
A survey sent out after your event is a great way to gather honest feedback from attendees and gauge whether they’d want to attend a similar event in the future. Platforms such as SurveyMonkey are very user-friendly—just create your survey and email it to your event attendee list! Ask them about things like food, venue, ambiance, presentations and speakers. Give customers the option to rank each item on a scale from 1-5, and allow them space to leave comments as well.
You can also use a survey as an opportunity to offer a discount code. This can both drive business and generate more interest in taking the survey in the first place.
4. Run a Post-Event Contest on Social.
Another great use for hashtags: after the event is over, host a social media contest for attendees, including a small prize. For example, you could invite guests to share photos from the event on Instagram or Facebook, and have them tag your brand and use the event or campaign hashtag to be considered. The photo with the most likes or shares wins.
Start drumming up excitement for the contest early—make it known to attendees while the event is still happening, and use your own social channels to promote it. A simple photo or caption contest is an excellent, cost-free way to get more people talking about and engaging with your brand on social media.
5. Extend Exclusive Offers to Event Attendees.
Finally, once your event is over, it’s a great opportunity to extend an exclusive offer to attendees. In fact, according to EMI & Mosaic, 74 percent of attendees feel more positively about a brand or product being promoted after attending an event.
If your product or service was being offered at a discount at the event, be sure to extend the offer for a day or so afterward—attendees may want to jump at the offer, or else miss out on a great deal. Additionally, you can extend an offer that is exclusive to event attendees. Perhaps a discounted rate if they pre-register for next year’s event, or maybe a free consultation for their business.
Staying connected with your customers online is crucial. That’s especially true when you’ve given them an opportunity to engage with your brand in person—you don’t want to squander it! Positive brand promotion, encouraging active social engagement and collecting feedback will do wonders for your ROI, even after your event is over.