Is your event doing live streaming on Periscope, hosting Twitter parties and setting up 3D Photo Booths? If so, unfortunately, this article is not for you.

This for the many great events across America that have been around for decades in towns with passionate volunteers, local sponsors, and loyal attendees. These events have small teams, low budgets, and limited marketing expertise. They know they must embrace social media but don’t know where to start. If this sounds familiar, then you are in the right place.

This checklist provides some simple steps to get your event a social media presence. If you complete this checklist your event will experience three benefits:

  • A new way to engage attendees
  • Drive new traffic (friends of attendees)
  • Create new sponsor revenue

There are dozens of things you could do when diving into social media, however, you should walk before you run. Here are the Top 10 steps to get you started.

1) Hire An Intern

Let’s face it, the only Tweets you like are ones you hear while you drink your morning coffee. That’s why you need help. Post an ad for a “Social Media Intern” on your local college job board and you will be flooded with applicants who understand and are passionate about social media. You’ll both receive great exposure, and more tangibly, understand how social media is used.

Learn more on hiring a social media intern.

2) Identify A Hashtag

You probably love hash-browns and now it’s time to embrace hashtags. Your event needs one that is unique. Hashtags help your attendees create posts that make them feel a part of the event community. This is a simple task and your intern should be able to bring you recommendations on day two.

To learn more read this Adweek article on effective hashtags for events.

3) Pick An Anchor

You need to set up a social media account that best aligns with your audience and make it your anchor. We recommend you start with a Facebook page. Yes, you’ve likely heard it is becoming “uncool” to use Facebook, but the truth is that it is the most widely adopted platform. And frankly, it is utilized by millennials as their most common news source.

Your anchor page should have all the information anyone needs to know about your event. You will end up with thousands of people viewing this page, so take the time to find good photos and graphics to make it look good. Remember, you can make it, and then make it better.

4) Create A Calendar

In social media, timely and relevant “content” is king. You might be thinking, “How on earth are we going to come up with new ideas, write content, edit it and post it?” The good news is that people don’t like to read much anymore. So, all you need to start is some “quickie content” (i.e. event news, calendar, reminders, fun photos). Create a Content Calendar and set up a monthly meeting with your team to identify 3-5 posts for the month. For bonus points, make it a working lunch and knock out the “quickie content” on the spot.

5) Make A Video

Remember that tid-bit about people not reading? Online video content far surpasses effectiveness of written content. We know you probably have a small marketing budget and making a video sounds expensive. Well, think again. Remember you now have an intern who grew up with an iPad! He has produced many videos using iMovie and just needs a script.

If you have a small budget, there are many boutique companies that can produce professional videos for under $2,000. The P4 Directory of Video Producers is a great place to start.

6) Organize Outreach

Now that you have a social media foundation or a renewed focus on a page that didn’t get much love in the past, it’s time to create a following. Set aside a couple of days for your team to do outreach to your event supporters, volunteers, entertainers and past attendees. Let them know you have a new way to keep in touch with them and share updates. Ask them to follow you, share with others and use the event hashtag. You will quickly see your “Likes” go from 0 to many.

7) Increase Bandwidth

Your attendees will be on their mobile devices often, regardless of how engaging your event is. That’s great! They are sharing content about their experience at YOUR event. Make sure connectivity is not a source of frustration. There is not much you can do to make the cellular network better, however you can ensure there is plenty of WiFi. You should view Wifi as an opportunity for your attendees to broadcast high impact marketing from your event. Do not consider Wifi as an overhead expense, it is an investment with a high rate of return.

8) Create Photo Opportunities

This may be the most important to-do on your check list. Think about it this way – if you create photo opportunities, then your attendees will essentially be broadcasting thousands of social media ads live from your event. 70% of people ages 18-34 say that what they see on their friends’ social networks influences their decisions. (Harris Interactive) Truly, there is no better marketing than friend-to-friend advertising.

There are a few proven strategies to do this:

  • Photo Places: Use signage to mark “photo opportunity” spots throughout your event. Attendees simply use their own camera or mobile device to take and share photos. Create a “chance to win” incentive if they include your hashtag. This will give you visibility to their posts.
  • Photo Booth: This is a hot trend and you should jump on the bandwagon. Hire a Photo Booth company that can create an appealing display with fun props and a camera that instantly sends photos to attendees via text or email. Don’t bother with the printing of pictures or sending them to a website later. Those methods are dead- instant gratification is in.
  • Virtual Photo Booth: This is super cool! (ok, yes I have something to do with it). GoldCamera is a new, innovative mobile app that provides your attendees with event branded souvenir photos instantly on their smart phone. This allows guests to get memorable photos anywhere and everywhere throughout your event. You can include your brand, hashtag and sponsor logo on the photos to create high impact impressions.

TOP SECRET: If all of the above did not cost you anything and you were actually able to generate new revenue, would it be too good to be true? Well it is too good and it is true. Learn how to create an Official Photo Sponsor for your next event.

9) Have A Gameplan

During the event, you will need to step up your efforts of sharing content via social media. Create a lead on your team (this could be your intern) to capture the moments, send out alerts and monitor activity. The goal is to create a conversation with your followers, not just push things at them. Engage your volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers to post photos with your event hashtag. Make your attendees are aware of the fun photo opportunities and that the schedule of events is available on your Facebook page.

10) Continually Optimize

The dust has settled, you are exhausted and it’s time for vacation. But wait, there’s one more thing. It’s very important to review the final results with your team and discuss what went well and identify areas of opportunity to improve. Work together to produce a Final Report with a summary of the activity, basic statistics and ideas for next year. Heck, since you are now a social media guru, you may even decide to do live streaming on Periscope, host Twitter parties and set up 3D Photo Booths ; )

About The Author

Aaron Horvath is a business leader with marketing, e-
commerce and business strategy experience. He has held executive leadership roles with start-ups, a large non-profit organization, and Fortune 500 companies. An author of six United States Patents for game changing business ideas, Aaron is passionate about innovation with a strategic purpose. He is founder and CEO of Mobilize Solutions, an agency that creates marketing apps to engage customers to promote brands on social media.