How Essential is Social Media in Events?

6 July 2015

There are a variety of reasons to incorporate social media into your events. Social media helps engage attendees, builds relationships between delegates, generates pre event buzz adding to the overall experience of the event.

How corporate event planners use social media

If you ask a group of corporate event planners if they use social media outside of work and the answer will most likely be “yes”. Yet answers will vary should you ask the same question about social media for work purposes. According to a survey conducted by C&IT Magazine, some 23% of corporate event planners (out of 60) said 100% of their events would incorporate social media elements in 2012, and almost as many (21%) said that none of their events would use social media this year, with the rest of the responses ranging between 5% and 95%. Answers also varied when asked how much time they spent on social media for work purposes. Some 21% said they do not dedicate any time to social media; others spend as little as 15 minutes, while some spend up to ten hours, but the average time is around two hours a week.

Social buzz for events

Social media can add huge value to your events in terms of creating a buzz before, during and after, enhancing communication between delegates and amplifying the reach of your event to a wider audience. Yet there is disparity in terms of usage. Inconnection’s Operations Director Adam Russell says: “There’s confusion surrounding how best to apply social media into events. Clients understand its value but are not sure how to apply it.” The value of social media is clear when it comes to consumer events, but for B2B it isn’t always obvious. Adam Russell added: “The relevance of social media heavily depends of the type of event and even the industry sector.” For example, the pharmaceutical and financial sectors are subject to strict regulation and are more risk averse when opening their events to the general public. There are a number of solutions should you not want information to be shared on a public domain such as Twitter. Inconnection’s Adam Russell comments on other approaches: “You can have the benefits of social media through private platforms such as delegate registration websites, where you can integrate private chat rooms and forums in a secure server.” The reality is that for every event there can be at least one form of social media that will be suitable. The challenge is in choosing the correct one and utilising it in ways that are appropriate to your audience in order to add real value to your event and help you communicate effectively.

Your objectives come first

Neville Staines, national events manager at Citroën, says the brand “probably has every element of social media woven into our events, whether it’s Facebook ‘likes’ or tweets”. He argues that social media is going to become increasingly important for events: “If you’re not social media savvy, you’re dead in the water,” he says. “We wouldn’t recommend using social media for the sake of it”, says Adam Russell. “It’s vital to understand what your objectives for the event are and look at who you are communicating to, then we’ll look if social media will assist with the delivery of your event objectives.”