Social media is now an intrinsic part of life, whether you’re a marketing manager, an online influencer or just a consumer of other people’s channels. In fact, when it comes to measuring the success of any event, online engagement has become a key metric.

So, how can you broaden the exposure of your next event? Here are our top tips for boosting those shares, likes and comments.

Build Anticipation

Content on social media platforms often feels spontaneous, but it rarely is. In order to optimise the social media buzz around your event, you’ll need to start planning your campaigns early. Start promoting your event across all channels at least a month in advance, looping in key guests, attendees and partner brands.

Sneak peaks, “behind the scenes” clips and countdowns, when responsibly used, all build momentum leading up to the event, especially if you can get guests doing the same. Be sure to keep an engaged dialogue going with people sharing and commenting – don’t just post and ghost.

Your event branding should be perfected by this stage, so make sure you’re broadcasting the correct brand hashtag, social media handles, landing pages, slogans and calls to action.

Beautiful Backdrops

If you really want to encourage your guests to share their experience, set up a dedicated station for them to take pictures.

The essentials for this are good lighting and picturesque backdrop. Fringe curtains, patterned wallpaper or wax paper garlands are fairly easy to set up, or you can invest a bit more and go for a flower wall, or a bespoke mural or chalkboard painting. Have props on hand for maximum engagement, and don’t be afraid to work your brand name or campaign slogan tastefully into the design for better exposure.

It’s a good idea to have more than one of these stands around your event so that as many guests as possible get the opportunity to take a memorable, shareable photo.

AR Geofilters

There’s an endless number of selfies, snaps and Instagram stories that feature augmented reality (AR) filters and lenses – and the trend isn’t going anywhere soon. Although these platforms have a basic set of filters that are always available, additional ones can be unlocked by following a certain account or visiting a certain location.

Building a unique lens or filer for your event will take a bit of development time but there are tools and platforms that can guide you through the process, so it’s not as tricky or time-consuming as you might think.

Photogenic Food

Choosing the right dishes gives your guests one more reason to share their day online. With almost 35.4 million tagged posts, pizza is apparently the most-shared food on Instagram. Other contenders to consider include sushi (22.5 million posts), cupcakes (18 million posts), macarons (4.6 million posts), tacos (6.6 million).

When choosing share-worthy food, there are a few things to keep in mind, like colour and consistency. Bright, structured foods are more aesthetically pleasing and should continue to look good throughout the night. Avoid anything that might congeal, become sloppy or lose its colour over a few hours, unless you can serve it hot and fresh on-demand.

Presentation is everything. Make sure the food itself is served in an appetizing way, and use elegant glassware, unusual plates and beautiful garnishes to instantly make your meals share-worthy. Understand what makes a good food photo and keep that in mind when you make your choices.

Interactive Experiences

Make sure that there’s more for your guests to participate in than just taking pictures. Engaging them into a game or activity is a great way to boost excitement about your event and your brand, particularly if you can make it relevant to your party theme or company persona.

Tech-focused organisations could try playing with VR headsets and interactive dance floors. Campaigns aiming to invoke a sense of whimsy or nostalgia might work well with retro fairground games. Creative companies could get their guests involved with a graffiti wall, while adrenaline-fuelled brands could arrange adventurous outdoor activities in the venue grounds.

Goody Bags

Giveaways aren’t appropriate for every kind of event, but product launches, brand awareness events or partnered campaigns are a great opportunity to gift your guests a few well-chosen treats. Keep the contents of your bag relevant to the event and your brand, though. The better your bags are, the more likely you’ll get “thank you” shares in return.

When the Party’s Over…

Social media coverage doesn’t end when the event does. Follow up with attendees and curate a gallery of the content that was shared. Compiling it into your own blog, vlog and social media posts will help guests remember the event and entice those who didn’t come to attend the next time it’s on.

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.