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5 W’s to Enhance Audience Engagement

Think back to English class in grade school. You may remember hearing some form of litany from your teacher on the “5 W’s” of good writing and he or she might even have thrown in an “H” for good measure. Hopefully those lessons stuck with you, because we’re going to use them today to share our brief commentary on the intersection of audience engagement and social media.

What?

Interaction, engagement, excitement, enthusiasm, camaraderie – these are all words that could be used to describe the vibrant nature of well planned events.  What if you could build on these descriptors and enhance your event to add an entirely new layer of engagement?  Wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?  Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can help you do just that. You may already know these companies for personal use, but many organizations do not take advantage of the powerful impact social media could have on their ability to express and promote themselves to a mass audience.

Why?

These platforms can add a vibrant layer of engagement to your event. Capitalize on that by making it easy for them to engage and be engaged. In this digital age, many people are accustomed to and have even come to expect some level of social media. It is no longer the case that a guest pulling out his or her phone means that they are less engaged; often now it’s possible that your guest is using their phone to be more engaged!

When?

While your organization may be accomplished at using social media in general to drive your organization’s overall mission, you might not be using it to its fullest potential to enhance your event. Perhaps you get wrapped up in the logistics or last minute programmatic details, but regardless of the reason, the social media ramp up often gets lost in the fray.   Make sure to plan and have a strategy for each and every event.

Before an event, it’s helpful to build up the anticipation by posting multiple times before the event, showcasing different things that might engage guests. Doing so has the benefit of reminding followers and attendees that the event is coming and also allows an organic way to share hashtags or other social media handles that you have designated for your event. Continue the buzz by engaging your audience during the event, and then extend the follow-up as appropriate after your event concludes.

Where?

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of social media platforms exist in addition to the  most popular and commonly used. You cannot possibly be active on all of them, and it is not necessary or beneficial for you to be involved in all the popular ones. Be selective when choosing your methods; know which ones best suit your purposes in getting your message across to your target audience. Resources such as this one from the Pew Research Center can be invaluable for selecting one or several platforms to use.

For your event specifically, consider incorporating additional social media tools like TweetBeam, TweetWall Pro, or LiveTweetApp. There are many free and paid software programs out there to help you incorporate social media into your event, so make sure to review your options and select the best one for your needs. You can even take social media to another level by using programs like Text-to-Pledge or Greater Giving which incorporate technology and social media to drive live donations at your event.

Who?

Ideally, your event-related social media reaches several audiences: your confirmed attendees, invited guests who couldn’t attend, as well as prospects who may be interested in supporting your organization, buying your product, or otherwise engaging with you. Social media is an excellent way to reach the masses and allows those who follow you to easily share your content to their own followers who may fall into the “prospect” category you are trying to reach. This year’s prospects might just turn into next year’s supporters, so be sure to share the highlights to pique interest!

We’ll keep you in suspense for now on the “How.” Stay tuned for a future blog post soon on our TME’s “how to” tips, but for now we hope this gets you on track with your organization’s event-related social media!

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