Social media at events and conferences instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction must be used when promoting RMIT events and conferences on social media. The best-practice advice contained within is designed to empower staff to use social media to promote the event, enable online spaces for real-time discussion, awareness and feedback, and encourage attendees to share content before, during and after the event.

Exclusions

Nil.

Instruction steps and actions

Instruction (including key points)

Responsibility

Timeline

1. Communication plan

1.1 Plan out key milestone dates and decide which social media platforms you will use to promote your event. Consider the unique features of each platform and adjust your messages and content accordingly. Cross-promote and amplify content across platforms – try not to stick to one. Twitter and Facebook are frequently partnered for event promotion. Twitter can provide announcements and daily updates, linking to Facebook for images and videos from the proceedings.

1.2 Refer to the Core Channel instructions (for blogs, Facebook and Twitter) and the Presence and Experimental instructions for channel-specific advice on setting up accounts.

1.3 Keep content fresh rather than repetitive. Do not think of your promotional material as just advertising but as a way to allow audiences to engage with the event’s themes ahead of time. Consider using infographics and images, which are effective for social media promotional purposes as they are more likely to be shared than large slabs of text.

1.4 Check the RMIT Social Media Register for like-minded external entities or interest groups. Connect with these to help spread your message.

1.5 Nominate an RMIT staff member to oversee your pre-event communications and distribution of material. This will ensure feedback and suggestions are responded to in a timely fashion.

1.6 Contact Engagement to promote your content through RMIT’s central social media channels, and compose a short description of your event for that purpose. See the Core Channel instructions (blogs, Facebook and Twitter) for channel-specific requirements.


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Before the event

2 Before the event

2.1 Start promoting your event on social media as early as possible. Promoting early gives you the chance to create anticipation and, if necessary, to convince people to attend by allowing potential attendees to ask questions and receive more information. As part of this, consider location and community based social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Foursquare for attracting people to the event. You might also conduct polls to harness preliminary feedback about the event and program, with a view to fine-tuning details.

2.2 Assist attendees by linking to practical information such as maps, parking, accommodation, transport and venue information.

2.3 If using Twitter, devise a conference hashtag. This should be short and relevant to the event. Make sure it is not a popular previously used on Twitter, and check that there is no double meaning when running several words together in the hashtag style. Promote it prominently and encourage attendees to use it early when discussing your event. Include it in any briefing documents you give to attendees.

2.4 Other suggestions:

  • Create a Twitter member list for networking among attendees;
  • Encourage attendees to share event details early by offering incentives such as ‘early bird specials’;
  • Create pages on Facebook or LinkedIn to generate creating interest ahead of the event.

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Before the event

3. Promoting speakers and invited guests

3.1 Find ways to celebrate and promote the stories and people around your event. For example, when speakers and special guests are confirmed, gather information about them and promote it through your social media channels. This information could come from their websites, blogs and social media profiles, linking to online articles where attendees can find more information about speakers and their work.

3.2 Other suggestions include:

  • Use Twitter to tag guest speakers, if they have their own account, and encouraging speakers to re-tweet your messages.
  • Ask your speakers to leverage their networks by inviting their associates, colleagues and followers along.
  • Ask your high-profile speakers to record a brief promotional video (no more than 60 seconds) for your event page, blog or website (this could be in the form of an interview).
  • Ask speakers to tweet about the event in the lead up on their personal Twitter accounts; to join your event-related discussion groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and so on; and to promote the event on their own websites and blogs.

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Before the event

4. During the event

4.1 If you do not want content from the event to be shared through social media, let attendees know at the start of the conference. This is particularly sensitive issue at academic conferences, where some papers may be considered confidential.

4.2 When live-tweeting an event, give notice ahead of the event along with details of the event hashtag so followers can filter their accounts accordingly.

4.3 Remind attendees of the event hashtag and other associated communication channels.

4.4 If you are taking questions on social media, suggest that attendees tweet questions, with the hashtag, for presenters to respond to. Be mindful of concerns around ‘flaming’, however. Appoint an RMIT representative to collect comments and feedback to put to the speaker when appropriate.

4.5 Think carefully before displaying tweets live from the stage. Having a running commentary can be distracting and, if uncensored, may go off-topic or turn negative. Consider a screen in a communal or break-out area, away from the live event.

4.6 Monitor tweets and updates and re-tweet where relevant. Keep the conversation flowing in the virtual realm as well as live at the event.

4.7Allocate resources to update and answer questions arising from social media.

4.8 Encourage virtual attendees to participate on social media. You might also live-record your event on services such as UStream or YouTube. See the Presence Channel Instruction for information on setting up an RMIT YouTube account.

4.9 Another option is to set up an official photo sharing event account on channels such as Flickr and Instagram for attendees to upload their own photos and build a record of the event. Make sure it is clearly communicated that these images may be used in future promotions and that responsibility for the image rests with the uploader. See the Presence Channel Instruction and Experimental ChannelInstruction for guidance on using such platforms, and follow the Moral Rights Policy to alleviate any copyright concerns.

4.10 Where possible, attempt to share publicly as much content as is feasible. Before you do, confirm that you have the rights to do so. Ask permission from people before taking photos of them at the event and communicate clearly that you’ll be sharing photos from the event. The same applies to quotes from event presentations – follow the Media Policy for further guidance.

4.11 Make sure moderation of all user-generated content aligns with the Moderating User-Generated Content on Social Media Channels Procedure and the Moderating Social Media Instruction.


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During the event

5. Post-event

5.1 On social media, thank attendees, partners and presenters and post follow-up links to any presentations or resources that will be available after the event, such as slides, PowerPoint presentations links for any upcoming events.

5.2 Provide an avenue for attendees to submit feedback, such as an email address or survey.

5.3 Promote official social media event channels to stay up to date and capture interest in the next event (if ongoing). For example, you could create a ‘wrap up’ blog post for promotion through official RMIT channels that collates tweets, videos and photos. Encourage people to share or embed these. Storify is an excellent tool for collecting tweets and generating a social media ‘narrative’ or ‘story’ from them.

5.4 Use analytics tools to measure the success of social media for your event. Share your key findings with the Senior Social Media Analyst and the Social Media Forum.


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Ongoing

[Next: Supporting documents and information]