By now, every meeting planner understands the importance of building a social community. With billions of daily Facebook posts, Tweets, Snaps, filtered photos and other user-produced content, social media is the place where attendees are talking to each other. It’s where they’re hearing their peers’ perspectives of an experience before they decide to register, and it’s also where they’re sharing their own pictures and reviews once they arrive on-site.
While social media provides so much potential for brands and businesses to connect with their audience members, engagement isn’t as simple as creating a hashtag, scheduling some posts and watching the conversation unfold. In 2015, the Recording Academy and CBS kept the social buzz soaring throughout the evening, generating a TV-special-record 20.9 million tweets from the time the stars stepped on the red carpet until the finale. While the numbers aren’t in yet for 2016, last night’s broadcast took digital engagement to another level. As you work to outline a social strategy for your own event, here are three tips to steal from this year’s Grammy Awards.
1) Everyone needs a reminder — and then more reminders.
Having a dedicated hashtag for an event is only the first step; the audience has to actually know what it is in order for the term to gain any traction. At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS worked to make sure that everyone knew to tag their posts with #GRAMMYs. From placing the hashtag in the corner of the screen to having host LL Cool J regularly remind the live and at-home audience members of it, #GRAMMYs was impossible to avoid.
For meeting planners, those reminders are equally essential. Why? Because if you don’t give attendees a hashtag reminder, many of them will either fail to use it, or they’ll simply make up their own. The result? The conversation will be out of your control, and you won’t be able to monitor the good comments or the bad chatter about the experience. Be sure to post your hashtag everywhere around the venue. Tell your keynote speakers to mention it from the stage. Put it on the screen in the general session room. No matter your attendees turn, remind them how they can be part of the social experience.
MORE: 4 Reasons Why Meetings Fail At Social Media
2) Boost your social profile with your sponsors.
When searching #GRAMMYs on Twitter last night, this tweet was always the top result.
Intel was a top sponsor for the event, and by the looks of Twitter, the tech company helped pay to sponsor the hashtag to ensure everyone recognized its partnership with Lady Gaga.
More intimate and niche conferences may not be looking to invest in paying to promote a hashtag; the price tag can be pretty steep. However, meeting planners can harness the power of a wide cast of sponsors by encouraging all of them to engage with the conference on social media and post about their presences at the meeting or conference. This can greatly expand your meeting’s reach.
MORE: Is Your Meeting Making This Common Mistake With Sponsorship Packages?
3) Everyone wants something exclusive.
“Go to facebook.com/CBS for exclusive content from tonight’s awards,” a voiceover said during the broadcast, inviting the at-home audience to turn away from their TV screens to explore more about the Grammy Awards. In addition to branded exclusive content, LL Cool J, country star Luke Bryan and R&B singer Kehlani all posted Instagram-exclusive images of their experiences at the awards show.
For meeting planners who are also offering a virtual experience, there’s a big need for additional content to keep at-home attendees engaged. From behind-the-scenes footage of the backstage production to post-keynote address interviews with big-name speakers, there are loads of opportunities to offer more material for those watching from the comfort of their home offices. Check out “3 Key Virtual Engagement Lessons For Meeting Professionals” for more tips.
So what else can meeting planners learn from the Grammy Awards? Just how crucial it is to avoid audio issues. Adele’s performance may have been the most anticipated three minutes of the evening, but the song was marred by a microphone error.