Galvanize Your Online Community by Including Your Social Media Manager at Events

conference attendees having funSo you've hired a social media manager for your association. If you've spent time thoroughly screening potential candidates for the most useful combination of qualities and skills, you are in good shape.

But you'll want to empower your social media manager to do the best job possible. One of the best ways to do this is to include him or her at your events.

While your budget may not allow for this situation every time, having your social media manager (SM manager) there in person, even for one event per year can result in:

  • Increased promotion of your event and association in general
  • Buzz-building conference tweeting
  • Enhanced networking
  • Better communication w/ attendees
  • Education and empowerment of  members with social media tools
  • New ideas for marketing
  • A stronger online community

Provide Opportunities for Attendees to Get to Know Your SM Manager

Even though you've probably already introduced your social media manager to any communities your association manages online, you may want to give everyone a chance to get to know him or her better via a webinar on social media presented before your event. 

The webinar can include basics for newbies as well as information particular to your association such as hashtags you use, discussion groups and chats you manage. Make sure your manager also includes activities to get them using social media right away.  One easy way to do this is to have webinar participants tweet questions on Twitter using your association's hashtag.

Also, provide teasers about your event during the webinar.  If you will be encouraging conference tweeting, give webinar attendees a few tips or refer them to more information about conference tweeting online. If you will be offering related social media education at your event, be sure to mention it during the webinar.

At the event, introduce your social media manager as publicly as possible. You may want to task him or her with conference tweeting. Make sure everyone knows who is tweeting for your association and what your event hashtag is.

Social Media Concierge

You may want to set up a special table so that he or she may act as a social media concierge, greeting people and answering questions about social media in between sessions.  He or she can also run contests and giveaways to drive more social media interaction. 

Encouraging online engagement at your event has many benefits including enhanced networking opportunities for attendees; better communication; and online buzz that can drive awareness & eventually result in increased registration at subsequent events.

Have your SM Manager Provide Instruction

Take the opportunity to educate your attendees about social media through a more formal social media presentation or workshop at your event. You can schedule a presentation on the value of social media within your association niche; a hands-on workshop for newbies; an introduction to content marketing; or a panel of members sharing how and why they use social media.

If you're social media manager will be presenting alone, make sure he or she reaches out to your more social media savvy members so that he or she can point to examples of success within the community.  Also, be sure to provide opportunities for Q&A and one-on-one tutorials whenever possible.

Fringe Benefits of Having Your SM Manager Onsite

If he or he has been at it for a while, your social media manager may be the most well known, unknown person at your event. Those who have been engaging with him or her will feel there is an established connection.  When this online relationship is taken offline, positive feelings and relationships grow quickly.  Members may share things with the social media manager that can provide useful insight.  They may also have helpful content ideas for your online marketing.

You may not have time to meet with your social media manager during your event, but be sure to touch base with him or her afterward. You may be surprised at the insights and ideas you get.  Likewise, you will be able to fill in the blanks and answer questions about members that will  give your social media manager a better understanding of your association community.

To learn more, read Turn Your Marketing Team into Digital Rockstars with a Social Media One-Pager and How to Capitalize on New Social Media Behaviors at Your Next Meeting.

photo credit: libraryman via photopin cc

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