By Richard Dodgson, Founder and Creative Director, Timebased

There is no denying that social media is part and parcel of our modern-day society. Fully capitalising on the numerous opportunities it presents can make a huge amount of difference to the exposure and success of an event. When used effectively, it supports your brand’s validity and gives potential clients crucial insights into your work, resulting in new business enquiries. However, when used incorrectly, you run the risk of damaging your brand.

First and foremost, you must learn to question what it is that you want to accomplish, and then prioritise these aims. Are you seeking to promote a product, drive awareness or purely increase direct sales? Once you have ascertained this you then must choose which social media platform to use and how to use it.

Understanding which platform to use and for what purpose

Consumers and businesses alike are driving a demand for innovative and instant visual content. As a result, Instagram has taken the crown as the most popular contemporary platform. Since it came onto the scene, Instagram has developed hugely, introducing stories, videos and Instagram TV. This has provided companies with more advanced ways to make a lasting impression and get their brand out into the public eye. One crucial factor that they should bear in mind when doing so is keeping their messaging style consistent. It’s necessary for you to decide whether you would prefer to take an ad-hoc route, giving viewers a unique sense of being ‘behind the scenes’ of your event, or whether you will stick to posting more high-quality curated content. Both are legitimate ways of getting yourselves noticed, but the key is to maintain one single approach, so your brand has a consistent identity.

As a result of Instagram’s success, we’re beginning to see an increase in businesses creating memorable ‘Instagrammable Moments’ at their events. Something simple yet effective, such as the visually arresting floral staircase at an M&S fashion event, will encourage Instagram users to take photos with this memorable content, and then post it on their Instagram channels, driving awareness and engagement with both the event and the brand.

It’s undeniable that there’s been an evident decrease in Twitter usage over the last few years, yet it’s still a valuable channel for personally engaging with consumers and securing more attention. Hashtags are vital on this platform and using them throughout every stage of the event will ensure consistency in your messaging, to allow for reliable consumer engagement, and to enable you to create, push and sustain awareness. Using the same hashtags, from lead-up to the follow-up content will help bring about a sense of completion. After the event, you could even include tributes to the partners and sponsors that you worked with or highlight your best moments of the event.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn is a great way to not only attract potential clients and push sales, but also cultivate business contacts. As with the other platforms, it also allows you to showcase your event and, as a result, demonstrate the value of your product/service and brand.

Privacy is key

Whilst well-known names being part of your event can help raise awareness, you need to remember that VIP guests often have precise requirements for social media, for example some specify that you don’t show their faces or promote their attendance. Hence, your employees must be made aware of their limitations, in order to stop any lines being crossed. Instead, let the brand speak for itself and only publish content about your VIPs following the event and, crucially, with their consent.

The power of influencers

Influencers are taking over the world of social media, especially when it comes to businesses, as they have the platform to communicate with a huge number of appropriate clients in a way that no one else can. A tweet or Instagram post from a well-known influencer can make the difference between whether an event flourishes or fails. This is predominantly due to the levels of trust cultivated between influencers and those who follow them. Essentially, they’re a great device that can raise the profile of your event, if of course, you have made sure that their following and posts fit the criteria for your business. When considering an influencer strategy, it’s worth remembering that Influencers typically request payment for promoted content, as they are acutely aware of their unparalleled importance in our current social climate.

Is it always all about the likes?

For years now, there have been discussions surrounding the issue of ‘likes’. Namely, is it more beneficial to obtain numerous less targeted ‘likes’, or focus on gaining fewer yet more targeted engagements? In all honesty, there is no correct answer to this question. Nowadays, ‘likes’ are undeniably viewed as a substantial criterion of success, however the key thing to remember is that if said ‘likes’ are made by users who aren’t entirely invested in your event or brand, they will not bring about the necessary financial return.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are all unique in their own way, and if you use them correctly and to their full potential, they can encourage people to attend your event, grow your audiences and maximise the impact of your brand. All of which will inevitably drive sales and new business- which are, of course, the definitive end goals of any social strategy.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.