Social media plays an important role throughout the event planning lifecycle, from early event promotion to event follow up. Having a social media presence is a great way to advertise upcoming events, take a multi-faceted approach to customer service by answering questions about your event, and track what people have to say about your event – are they enjoying it, is the food yummy, are the performances or speakers what they were expecting?

While we most frequently talk about using social media to get information out, event professionals are often using it organically to gather information as well. You probably already promote your events using social media and you may have explored areas such as live tweeting. And whether you know it or not, it’s likely you’ve employed some ‘social listening’ techniques.

What is social listening?

The simplest way to define social listening is identifying opportunities to engage with customers and users who are posting about your event, and tracking what people are saying.

So if you’ve been answering questions about your event on social media, responding to comments, etc, and have some sort of system in place to record what people are saying, you’re already employing social listening techniques. With a few tweaks to your strategy and toolset, formalizing your social listening can give you critical data that will transform your events.

Social listening has a role throughout the event lifecycle:

Before an event, you can determine if your event is making a buzz. During an event, you can track sentiment and mentions to identify and respond to issues as they arise. After the event, discussion (or lack thereof) can tell you a great deal about the impact that your event made in the community or segment that it targeted.

How can you capitalize on your social listening after your event has ended? There are a number of great ways to keep the momentum going on social media post-event. Often, people are really enthusiastic about what they’ve just experienced at an event, and eager to share their ideas and feelings. The problem is that they don’t necessarily have an organized forum for sharing, so it becomes a lost opportunity for event organizers who aren’t thinking about post-event activities.

Schedule a Twitter chat

A great way to keep the interest level up post-event is to schedule a Twitter chat where people can talk about their experiences and share their thoughts on how you can improve your next event. If you did a live tweet during the event or pre-event promotion on Twitter, you probably already have a hashtag that attendees are familiar with using.

Simply schedule the Twitter chat a day or two after the event, and mention it at the close of your event then post about it on your social media accounts.

Chances are that participation levels will be high because people will be amped up about sharing their thoughts and experiences with other event attendees.

Publish content post-event

You should also plan to schedule some blog posts after the event to help keep the momentum going. Consider sharing compelling content such as videos of performances, exclusive event photos, performer interviews, etc, and request that people post their experiences at your event in the comments. Share the posts on your social media accounts with your event hashtags. Attendees will appreciate that you’ve provided them with another outlet to share their feedback.

Best practises

Another important component of social listening in the post-event context is using the right tools to monitor discussions. Using the same Twitter hashtag and a social media tool, track the mentions and take stock of the major trends. Tools to consider include Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Hubspot. All of these allow you to track specific keywords, as well as hashtags, across various networks. Also be sure to set up a Google Alert for your event name to track any blog posts or traditional mentions of your event.

Scheduling some post-event opportunities for social sharing will allow you to track feedback about your latest event and make improvements for subsequent events.

Employing social listening techniques after your events should be part of your marketing strategy for every event that you host. So don’t miss the opportunity – start planning your post-event strategy today!

Elizabeth

Liz Alton's experience in event planning runs from renting out entire South
American towns to planning intimate gatherings for heads of state.She's
particularly interested in the intersection of new technology and event
planning to make events successful, efficient, and fun. Liz is now a blogger, copywriter, and social media strategist based in Boston.

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