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The social media component of your event shouldn’t be a mere afterthought. As platforms like SnapChat — which averages 150 million daily users and counting — continue to skyrocket with popularity, promoting and showcasing your event via digital channels is smart.

Here at Pink Monkey Solutions, we work hard to design an event so good it will gain notice across all social media outlets. Not only do we design with the guests attending in mind, we create scenarios that encourage our guests to share with a larger audience online as well. Your  branded hashtag is always a good start, but it’s important to think bigger. If you want to weave social media into your event, take it seriously, and plan it in three stages: pre-party, mid-party and post-party.

Pre-Party: Create The Buzz

Social media strategist Esteban Contreras stresses that when brainstorming ways to have active social media participation during your event, “you need to add value or create utility.” Give attendees a reason to use social media during your function, by creating an interactive map of the venue. You should also post real-time updates via Twitter or Facebook, and add a surprise element to the event that will be announced online that day.

Using social media in a purposeful and meaningful way at a corporate event isn’t always an easy task. This is why many of us in the event planning and design business recommend putting someone in charge of the event’s social media strategy. Your point person can help you lay out a plan of attack and execute this during the event. Even if you don’t have a designated strategist, make sure there’s someone responsible for live-tweeting and managing your company’s Facebook and Instagram pages during the function.

To promote your event on social media ahead of time, it’s important to think about how you can reach your target demographic and new audiences as well. Sponsored ads on Facebook, and Instagram are one great option to introduce qualified prospects to your event, and work well alongside a strategy that promotes double-sided social media referrals.

Double-sided referrals work like this: people who sign up for an event automatically receive a special link. They can then use this link — which offers a small discount for those who sign up using it — to post about the event on their social media accounts. It’s a great way to get  attendees to promote the event to their friends, colleagues and followers across multiple platforms. Companies like Genius Referrals can manage the heavy lifting for you, offering a good way to track how many of your participants heard about the event through this type of referral.

Also, everyone loves the chance to win free swag. One easy tactic is to create a contest where fans can win prizes for liking, sharing or retweeting your company posts across social media platforms.

Mid-Party: Make Social Media Fun and Engaging for your Guests

Lately, social media cutouts have become extremely popular, and can be customized with your company logo or branded hashtags. Cutouts allow companies to get their message across in an inventive way.

Another new trend is the use of live Twitter stream displays, where a digital backdrop shows who’s tweeting about the event in real time. People love seeing their own tweets on the screen behind the podium and it’s a way to have conversations that extend beyond the room and create engagement online.

At Pink Monkey Solutions we want to emphasize that in order for your event to be a success from a social media standpoint, you need to provide guests with accessible internet. If the WiFi connection at your venue or location is spotty, supplement this by having iPads or digital tablets guests can use to check in, or encourage them to post on-site by offering a prize for the attendee whose post gets the most likes before the event has ended.

After-Party: Boosting Your Social Media and Brand Presence Post-Event

A winning corporate function should not only trend online while the event is happening, but also garner praise and adoration for your brand well after the party’s over. Production design is one of the central aspects of getting your event to go viral. For example, when the dating app Tinder rolled out its Tinder Plus subscription service last year, the airline-themed launch event featured a boarding station with mock flight attendants where guests checked in before the party, which was held on an actual airplane and allowed attendees to take selfies while sitting in airplane seats. If this type of spectacle seems to grandiose for your creativity, don’t fret: Pink Monkey is well-versed in ways your company can add share-worthy design elements that captures the attention of your attendees.

While partygoers will be snapping pics throughout your company shindig, be more deliberate about what your brand shares on social media. Have your event photographer take elegant and appealing photos prior to everyone arriving, so that you’re able to highlight the design, look and feel of the event in bite-sized pieces.

Following your fabulous shindig, it never hurts to ask for feedback from attendees, and social media provides a less formal way of doing so. Post an online survey asking them what they enjoyed most, as well as any specific moments that made the event a success.  If you want this to be a more public affair, ask attendees to use a specific hashtag to share their thoughts amongst their peers. You can even incentivize the process, offering participants the chance to receive free tickets to your next event.

The best social media campaigns tell a story that everyone can connect with. When imagining the social media strategy for your next corporate event, ask yourself, what story do we as a company want to tell? As your boutique event design company, Pink Monkey Solutions can help you answer that question. For more social media and event engagement tips, give us a call or email us and, of course, you should also see how we embrace social media.