In a nod to the increasing digitalisation of our world, the Townhouse Events Centre has put together a set of handy social media tips for conference and event organisers keen to boost their social media presence.

Terry Voigt, Online marketing manager at the Townhouse Hotel, says: “Last year, we launched a new website to place guests’ and browsers’ increasing use of tablets and smartphones at the heart of our web design and service offering. Social media, particularly, has become integral to conference planning practice. It is an exciting and dynamic platform for engaging with new and existing customers across multiple channels – thereby boosting brand awareness and raising the profile of your event,” she explains.

“Hotels and the conferencing industry are closely entwined, and with that in mind we’ve compiled the following top social media tips for conference organisers interested in maximising new media opportunities.”

Broadcast Handles – At your event make the Twitter handles of your key speakers and influential people (with large followings) known. Either ask them to disclose their twitter handles at the beginning and end of their presentations or have it visible on a screen for the audience to see. This will allow for attendees to tweet, follow and interact with key figures.

Encourage Photo Sharing – Photographs are ‘must haves’ in the social media space. Visuals attract more attention than text-only posts, so encourage your audience to tweet photos to enhance your brand’s presence on various social media platforms. Also ask attendees to take photos of specific things – themselves with someone they met at the conference or of the speaker they most enjoyed listening to – and occasionally remind them to share, share, share.

Create a Hashtag – Create and enforce one hashtag for your event that links all tweets and Facebook posts. A hashtag is a unique phrase that is identified by using “#” before it. A strong hashtag is one that is unique to your event and does not relate to anything else.  When formulating a hashtag it may help to add the year – or your location – for example, #DesignIndaba2014 or #DesignIndabaSA.

Join the Virtual Conversation, Silently – Do not ask your attendees to switch off their phones and devices but rather ENCOURAGE them to put their devices on silent and actively participate in the conversation online. Take this opportunity again to mention the event hashtag and any important handles.

Check-in to your location – While the event is in progress, all attendees will be at one specific location. Create a Facebook page with a physical address to allow attendees to check-in online and increase your brand presence on Facebook. Ensure that the attendees have the correct Facebook page in order to drive traffic to the page. Encourage further participation by mentioning that questions can also be posted here and will be answered by the organisers.

Be fun, light and creative – Social media should be enjoyable and create great positivity for your event. Actively introduce humour, for example, appropriate jokes and light-hearted comments that will appeal to your attendees.

Also use your e-mails confirming attendance & your program as a means to communicate your hashtag/ twitter handles and Facebook page to your delegates.

These basic social media tips will clearly differentiate your event and help drive registrations and increase your followers across your various platforms

Voigt concludes: “As the social media world is so dynamic, it’s very important that event and conference organisers stay up to date with trends and developments in the social media space.”