How to Create Social Buzz for Your EventRecently, I attended an event where vendors were selling their wares, and I was so enjoying myself that I decide to tweet and Instagram about it.

But when I looked around the event, I saw no indication that there were any social profiles associated with the event. I looked at the first few pages of the event program and saw no social affiliations mentioned there. Eventually, in the middle of the program, I saw a list of social icons, but just the icons with no indication of profile names, which are of little use when you can’t click through them. So I got on my phone and went to the individual social platforms and searched for the event by name. For names to show up in search, you have to spell them exactly as they appear on the profile — so if your business has an “&” in its Twitter name, and I write “and,” you’re not going to show up in search. It took awhile, but eventually, I found their social profiles.

But I feel confident that nearly no one else went to the trouble to track down this information like I did.

It struck me as a missed opportunity. A few well-placed social mentions at your event, and you can receive a slew of free publicity.

Here’s how best to alert event-goers to your social presence:

  • Create a unique hashtag for your event. Announce it on Twitter, so the first use of it is an explanation. That will help people who stumble across your hashtag on Twitter and aren’t sure what it stands for.
  • Place social buttons linking to your profile on your event website above the fold on all pages of your website, so visitors see them immediately. Talk up your event weeks prior to it. Use your hashtag
  • Assign someone to keep an eye on social activity during the event. Social chatter tends to skew positive at these types of events, where attendees have a particular interest in the subject matter. But it’s easy enough for someone to say something negative, and if that happens, it’s best to handle it quickly and professionally.
  • Include your social profiles and hashtag on the print banner everyone sees when they walk into the event. Use the typical social icons for easy recognition but also include the exact name that appears on your profile beside it.
  • Include this same information on your program on the cover or inside cover — at the very least, place it early on in the program. Don’t make attendees hunt for it.
  • If you have vendors at your event, get them involved socially as well. (And if you are a vendor, get involved socially even if you aren’t asked!) This will extend your social reach by more than you can imagine. When working with vendors, do the following:
    • Make your social presence known to them upfront, preferably early on in a short email welcoming them to your event when they sign up.
    • Request their social information, and present it and link to it wherever it makes sense. So if you have a write-up of them on your website or program, include their social profile names and links when online.
    • Request they include their social names and the hashtag of the event on signage at their stand.
    • Ask for their involvement! Tell them that Instagram photos, tweets, etc., from the event are encouraged. After all, this benefits all involved!

Please include your own tips in the comments!