The world is run by social media today with new platforms emerging every few months. The evolution that platforms have seen just in the past 3-4 years is immense. India currently has one of the lowest data costs in the world and the internet penetration is increasing steadily. Due to these reasons, social media has increased in popularity among a wide range of audiences.Advertising on social media has therefore, become the norm with every brand and company having an established social media strategy. For the events industry, social media has become revolution with the new avenue it has provided for event planners and hosts to talk about their event and attract crowd. Flyers, word-of-mouth and mail invites have become outdated forms of inviting people to any event. Social media provides them with a way to reach a wider audience throughout different demographies and geographies. Social Media has become an essential tool through all stages of event planning.
Social Media is a great tool to attract new customer base. With people spending more than 50% of their time on smartphones, having an established promotion strategy on social media sites is a great way to spread awareness about the event. Attending events is a social activity and so, giving people a way to share the events they are interested in with their friends and family.What makes social media interesting is that it creates a way to be creative and to create channels for engagement. Online registrations allow attendees to have the convenience of being part of the event without having to wait in physical queues. For event managers, this has cut down costs in terms of manpower and physical setups and also helped in increasing efficiency in the ticketing procedure especially through apps like Events High, Insider, BookMyShow, etc. that have helped grow the events industry. Through the data collected by social media platforms, it is also possible to direct information about your events to the right kind of audience that might be interested to attend. Trending hashtags allow events to have a unique identity in the world of social media. Using them, events can encourage conversation and even identify what the audience wants to see. For example, Twitter is widely used for customer engagement. For conferences or seminars, attendees could tweet questions they want answered using a unique hashtag which can later be incorporated into the content of the event. Social media also allows event companies to host contests and give away freebies to create pre-event buzz without having to spend for expensive slots on TV or Radio. Having live countdowns and offering sneak peeks into the setting up of the event online are also great ways to grab and engage attendees.
During the Event
Once the guest list is completed and the event date has arrived, social media plays an integral role in sharing the event in real-time. With features like Facebook Live and Instagram Live, attendees get to share their experiences online in real-time. Further, it provides a way for people who missed the event to get a glimpse of what is happening. Live tweeting is often used as a tool even during the event to give out freebies or hold online contests. The social media generation of today loves to share every minute of their lives and therefore using specific and unique hashtags, it is possible for event planners to capitalize on that. Social media also often acts as a deliverable for sponsors. It allows event planners to give the brands that are associated with them to get recognition through their attendees. Branded photo booths to take photos in and share on their profiles allow hosts to make a unique proposition to both attendees as well as sponsors.
After the event is over, social media acts as a stepping stone to create and spread word for the next edition of the same event or to simply showcase the efficiency of event planners. Using photos and videos shared on social media platforms, they can lay down the foundation for the next event. Further, feedback is an important aspect of the events industry and the convenience of getting this has become much easier with the help of social media by monitoring what is being said about the event and provide for a way for planners to be in constant touch with their audience. It allows event planners to showcase their skills and maintain their reputation.
Social media is a powerful tool no matter which stage of planning you are at. It provides event planners to reach an audience that crosses boundaries and create a long-term relationship with their audience that was earlier not possible for event planners to do after a particular event has been completed. By creating innovative ways to reach out to the audience, social media has forced the events industry to evolve and think out of the box to bring bigger and better events for audiences. It has created a higher sense of accountability and responsibility with event managers because of which the industry has been forced to provide better services every time they create an event. Social Media isn’t an option anymore. It’s a necessity.
Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director, Dome Entertainment pvt ltd