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How To Think Beyond The Hashtag To Make Your Offline Event Go Viral

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Lia Haberman of LIVESTRONG.COM discusses how to leverage IRL events in order to make an impact in the digital space.

Brilliant ideas count more than big budgets when it comes to building pre-party buzz and that was one of the main points during the LIVESTRONG.com’s Social Media Week Chicago session.

Lia Haberman (Director of Social Media, LIVESTRONG.COM), discussed how to leverage IRL events, from intimate influencer dinners to national conferences, in order to make an impact in the digital space, and spoke to the importance of integrating a coherent social media plan around any event to successfully build anticipation, amplify reach and drive greater engagement.

Create a memorable experience

Unless you have a really great brand affinity, a lot of the people at your party don’t really care about sharing your brand message or your hashtag. With three out of four millennials valuing experiences over material goods, creating a memorable experience is the most important thing you can do. It doesn’t matter what type of budget your company has, making a memorable experience for your customers/followers is all about being creative.

Everyone wants to feel special and are constantly looking for experiences that reinforce that concept. Science says that people like to share content that is helpful, amusing, or interesting to their followers and brands need to keep that in mind when they are creating and posting content.

Make it easy to share

Offline experiences are just as important as online experiences, especially when it comes to event marketing. Brands should be creating experiences that are meaningful, personal, and unexpected.

Hashtags are extremely important when it comes to promoting your event. They help track the conversation, provide feedback, and show data.

85% of what people share at events is multimedia (photos, videos, and quotes). Selfies are the most popular form of media shared on social media. That’s why there are so many events with photo booths. If you’re giving them what they want to share their more likely to share it for you.

Lia shared an example of the cheapest and one of the most successful events that she helped put on where they put the Instagram account of every attendee on a banana instead of traditional place cards. It costs about 25 cents a person and was a fun and unique way to make the event feel personal.

When it comes to sharing on social, Lia says you need to follow these three simple rules:

  • It’s got to be easy
  • It’s got to be everywhere
  • It’s got to make sense

Incentivise & recognize

Although you might have created a great event and make it clear how to share your content, it’s impossible to know if attendees at your events will actually share what you want them to online. How do you make sure it actually happens? Lia provided a few ways to help push them along.

Add Incentives: Running contests or giveaways are powerful motivators to get people to use your hashtag as part of a larger event.

Add Recognition: If you have the budget, stream people’s tweets on a social media wall or shoutout someone during a Facebook live to make it more personal and give individuals recognition.

Add your own Influencers: Take a second look at your guest list and make sure you’re leveraging your relationship with those attending.

Lia also provided an amazing checklist that you should use before and after an event:

Further analysis and commentary:

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