Header photo reads: Prepare Engage React

Whether you’re having a small product demo in your store or attending a full-fledged community event, utilizing social media and other public relations tactics can amplify your event and help you reach more people. At a recent PRSA luncheon, Carrie Bratcher of Hallmark explained how she uses social media for event marketing to reach millions of fans and influencers.

Bratcher has worked on several large-scale events for Hallmark and used two examples for her presentation: CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival in Nashville and the San Diego Comic Con. She first shared this important slide with the audience: PRSA Slide - 3 Phases of Event Coverage: Prepare, Engage, React

Bratcher then explained in-depth how to take the ideas on this slide and put them into action to amplify your audience reach at an event:

PReCon = ReCon

  1. Assemble your tribe: send out news releases and social media alerts to notify the media, influencers and others about your event. Build lists of influencers that you want to engage with during the event on Twitter and other social channels. Call your friends who participated last year or might be interested this year.
  2. Know before you go: familiarize yourself with the event, topics surrounding the event and possible opportunities. Bratcher wasn’t extremely familiar with country music before working at the CMA Music Festival for Hallmark. However, she did her research prior to attending to ensure she didn’t skip a beat. (Pun intended 😉) Reviewing last year’s coverage will help with this.
  3. Strategize & schedule: Curate and create content to preschedule and promote so you have less work to do at the event since it could get hectic! Know what content you have and build a shot list for content you want to create when you’re onsite at the event. Make a plan for posting cadence so you don’t overwhelm or underwhelm your social feeds.

The Main Event:

  1. Get the best content: overshoot while you’re at the event and then edit when you have time. Don’t post bad content under pressure. It’s okay if you’re not posting right when certain things are happening. Also, walk around – you may find opportunities you didn’t know existed by venturing around the event.
  2. Maximize and amplify: use event hashtags and geotag filters. If you’re at a trade show or have your own booth, encourage sharing from your particular space. Tag your tribe: make sure you’re tagging influencers and partners, and encourage them to tag you. This helps you reach your audience AND theirs.
  3. Make new friends: just like everyday social media use, don’t just push your message out. Instead, engage with others and join the conversation surrounding the event hashtags. Retweet and reply to others – add value to others’ experiences. Also, don’t be a wallflower – put in the extra hours at post-event events like happy hours. Some of the best content and networking comes from these smaller events.

You’re Not Done Yet:

  1. Reporting: measure your success and share it. Then use it to benchmark and build new goals for the next event.
  2. Nurture the relationships you built: follow up with new contacts and stay connected. Break out the branded swag and share it with important influencers you met.
  3. Plan for the next year immediately: ask yourself, “What worked?” and “What didn’t?” Then, identify any missed opportunities.

By taking time to do some research and prep before the event, you’ll be able to maximize your time effectively while you’re at the event. In addition, recapping the event immediately after it is complete will help you recall the lessons you learned and ensure the next event is even more successful.

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Cara

About Cara

Why do I work at AWG? “I work with an amazing team that values creativity and innovation. I enjoy tackling new opportunities and challenges each day that, of course, always involve food!” -Cara

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