Why Successful Events Start With Social Media

What do events teams and social teams have in common? Both are called upon to “work their magic.” But for both teams, that perceived magic is action rooted in strategy, data and user experience.

Listen below and read on to hear Sprout’s Manager of Events, Alysha Daytner, and Senior Manager of Social Media, Rachael Samuels talk about how they partner to produce outstanding experiences. 



Alysha:
I love that we’re talking about this in detail, because our partnership is so organic. Even though both of our teams can be big behind-the-scenes contributors, there’s a lot happening! Events couldn’t build experiences without your insight.

Rachael: Right? Your team brings us in from the very beginning, and that’s important for both sides of this equation.

Alysha: When we build an event, we’re building it for a defined audience. This is something your team does so well, which is why we always ask for your input, but can be an intimidating place to start. How do you validate your instincts for what an audience wants?

Rachael: Thankfully Sprout makes this easy. As social media professionals, we are constantly tuned in to our audience… not just from managing our channels day-to-day, but by using Listening to uncover the conversations our audience is having in real time. We can dig in on specific topics, understand sentiment, and surface things we might miss by relying only on instinct. 

Alysha: This is how, for example, we know when our audience has digital event fatigue, and that helps us make choices like designing shorter sessions or shorter events. 

Rachael: I am here for shorter sessions! 

Alysha: But this is an incredible boost to our program development too. We make smarter, more strategic decisions about the types of sessions we build (for example, a keynote speaker versus more in-depth workshops) when we look at our audience’s needs and wants using social data.

Alysha: Let’s talk about promotion. We rely on different channels to promote our experiences, obviously this includes social. How can events teams be excellent partners with social teams when it comes to building excitement leading up to an event?

Rachael: Because social strategy has so many inputs, the earlier we have information about an event, the better. 

Alysha: Right—I would never Slack you a week before an event and ask you to “work your magic.”

Rachael: On behalf of all social media professionals, I appreciate this! Everything from the logistical details of an event to the key messages to the target audience helps us make decisions around which channels and strategies to use. Events teams can also help social teams by sharing their own vision for promotion, which helps give us a starting place. OK my turn to ask a question…

Alysha:…Yes, please!

Rachael: What can social teams ask of events teams? We know y’all have a lot to do when it comes to producing an event. How can we be thoughtful partners while you navigate everything from promotion to speakers to branding…to those killer playlists you whip up?

Alysha: The playlists! A true perk of the job! I love that you’re asking this, by the way. I know I’ve been guilty of just trusting your expertise, without knowing specifics of what you need. Get real with me: tell me you need to understand the vision of the event or that you need images or quotes by specific deadlines… and share the impact to your work if I don’t get them to you. There is no “magic” here! 

Rachael: We’re making that our new motto. 

Alysha: You know I’m in.

Alysha: Speaking of timelines—events teams (and I am saying this for myself) need to remember that social teams need notice if an event needs live coverage. 

Rachael: One hundred percent. We consider ourselves part of the production team, so bringing us into run-of-show documents, key messages and what to expect, is critical to event-day coverage. 

Alysha: Wait, you mean you aren’t just waiting with your Instagram stories open, ready to make content?

Rachael: I mean…we are… but like any area of work, the more planning and more strategy we put behind it, the better. 

Alysha: I always say “I hate surprises I don’t know about.” That feels relevant. 

Rachael: Wait is that our new motto? 

Alysha: This is that partnership I’m talking about! You get it! 

Rachael: One last thing, which does related to surprises…making a plan for how our teams will communicate during a live event, especially when we are in different physical places, is another way we can be strong partners. 

Alysha: This is such a great point. If something changes, the entire production team — including social — needs a clear message about what changed and how to navigate it. This could be anything from a technical glitch (my nightmare) to how to manage Twitter threads that take off. 

Alysha: In summary, our teams work better when they work together. Collaborating early, using data to make decisions, being clear about what each side needs to be successful, and communicating helps us all! 

Rachael: I wish we could high five through the screen! 

Alysha: Thanks for the conversation. Excited when I get to share more about the next event we are cooking up. 

Rachael: Same. Thank you!

Want more insight into how social listening can help maximize your marketing spend? Read our guide to the ROI of listening on social media. 


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