After Party: How to recap your business event across social media
All your planning and hard work has paid off. Your business luncheon (or awards banquet or product launch) was a success. Everyone who attended is singing the praises of your company. This is all good, but you can get a lot more mileage from the event, even after it’s over, through strategic and powerful use of social media.
“Recapping an event is an important part of wrapping it up, but it’s also an important part of planning for your next event,” says Janet Jorgensen, a marketing consultant and advertising strategist based in Salt Lake City.
The key is to engage those who participated in or supported your event, connect them through social media and extend the event as an experience, something attendees can easily share, which raises awareness of your company and of future events. There are a few simple, impactful ways to accomplish this.
Create a sense of inclusion and foster good will for future events by sharing one “umbrella” photo that sums up the event and then by thanking everyone involved, using targeted hashtags and tagging integral participants.
“Thank the sponsors, event benefactors, in-kind donors and/or attendees,” says Jorgensen. “How to decide who gets in individual post vs. a group post is up to you, but major donors, sponsors and high-profile attendees deserve some sincere undiluted gratitude.”
Include the venue, caterer, event planner, entertainment, etc. in your thanks if these companies were keys in pulling everything together.
Hashtags are a simple, powerful tool—nothing more than a virtual conduit or “filing” system, but they can be shockingly easy to get wrong. When tagging your photos and event on Instagram, hashtags should be unique, simple and to the point, says Nicholas Giustino, social media strategist with Penna Powers. “You want to ensure the audience can easily use it and that it’s trackable across all channels for measurement,” he says.
It’s important that the hashtag is not already in use, adds Giustino. “This can lead to issues with other brands or something with a negative connotation.”
Jorgensen, self-proclaimed “hashtag queen,” emphasizes that hashtags continue the sense of inclusion by creating online involvement at your event for those who can’t be there in person. It also enables you as an event coordinator to track the mood of attendees or solve issues. “I had a parking issue outside an event, saw some posts complaining about long lines to get in, and we were able to send out help to get the parking resolved and move the people happily inside the event,” she says.
Creating a hashtag is as simple as adding # to the name of your event, i.e. #event, Jorgensen advises. “If it’s an annual event you can choose to add the year to the hashtag to differentiate year to year events, i.e. #eventyear.” Adding a simple, clearly visible hashtag to your on-site signage asking guests to use it when posting on their own accounts makes it easy for them to do so. This means free promotion, people.
All of this is creating the “second audience,” a wider circle of people interested in your brand and keen to be in the know says Chuck Penna, CEO of Penna Powers. “By measuring hashtag mentions, engagements related to event photos and blog posts, as well as press coverage that contain URLS, you are well-armed with valid information about what was most interesting/engaging for participants at your business event,” he says.
All this information, Penna says, gives direction to a company’s social media team of the pictures, content and takeaways that should be highlighted in the recap to be ready by the second audience.
If attendees mention your event, be sure to follow up with them by re-sharing their posts and check-in’s with your own message, retweeting attendee tweets with “thank you” messages, suggests Jorgensen. Further engage them by asking questions, such as “What was your favorite ____ about the event?” “Did you like the entertainment?” “Should we do it again soon?”
Give them more … but not too much
Followers and fans enjoy being kept in the loop but they don’t want to drown in an unchecked flood of images and tweets. Post images that have a message or powerfully convey a scene from the event.
“Instagram is not for every business,” Jorgensen says. “However, if your product presents well visually and you have access to high-quality photography and photo editing, I think you can post several times a day and not lose your engagement levels. … On any social platform, the better quality the content, the better the engagement.”
One may think that inundating an audience by, say, dumping 600 photos onto a Facebook page is a great idea, but it may have the opposite effect. Use discretion. “An image dump on Facebook creates a situation where the context is lost,” says Giustino. “Instead, the photos selected should tell a story. [Those that are] tagged have proven to attract more attention as well as increasing the likelihood that they will be shared.”
Sometimes it may be appropriate to post a video, something that has more oomph than a photo. Yet, as much as or more than photos, videos need to convey that context and no matter how short, tell a story from beginning to end.
“The best videos are ones that captivate the audience within the first five seconds and should be kept to a maximum of 15-30 seconds long for the highest engagement,” says Penna. “Motion graphics, how-to’s and animated GIFs have proven to also perform extremely well, delivering high view-through rates and engagements.”