Pre- and post-event communication strategies to improve the donor experience
As we all well know, the experience surrounding an event starts long before the attendee arrives at the physical location. Events should be designed with the pre- and post-event communication in mind and the experience of those components should be managed and branded with care.
In the age of social media, there are new opportunities to engage participants (even those who cannot attend or were not invited) in the pre- and post-event experiences. Not all events warrant broad promotion in advance of the event, especially if the attendance is intentionally limited. However, it is wise to create parts of the experience that can be shared with a larger audience, accessed long after the event and used to promote future events.
As I plan an event, I ask these three questions of myself or my team, on behalf of the donor:
· What of this experience can I share?
· What of this experience can I keep?
· What of this experience can I revisit?
The following is a list of ideas for using social media to extend your communication reach. Keep in mind, a “promoter” is any individual who speaks positively of the organization and helps you spread your messages within their own network. This person may be an official volunteer or he or she may be just a friend. In our line of work, promoters do not have to be donors (or donors within your scope of service), but it is helpful to have some who are.
· Set up/update social media pages
· Create social media event pages
· Create hashtags
· Create event content calendar
· Create promo ads/videos
· Issue event news release
· Post on related groups and forums
· Mention event in comments on other social media postings
· Create a contest or content contribution strategy
· Advertise on relevant social networks
During Event ENGAGEMENT
· Include wi-fi and social media instructions in program, slides and on tables
· Prepare several posts to be launched automatically
· Live post during the event
· Use photos/video whenever possible
· Use promoters as much as possible
· Monitor and respond to comments in real time or asap
· Talk about event on related forums
· Use services/apps to spread content across multiple channels
· Promote hashtag(s) during the event to encourage others to contribute
· Display a live Twitter feed
· Consider ways to integrate the virtual audience in the live experience (polls, social media challenges, etc.)
Post Event CONVERSATION
· Schedule multiple post-event postings across all channels
· Address three audiences: all invited, all that attended, and all that learned of the event from a promoter
· Consider a post-event question or survey (keep it brief)
· Share link to audio, video or slide presentations
· Share the results of polls or contests
· Write a summary blog that will serve as a public archived record of the event
· Encourage the participation of new promoters
· Always include ways to participate/ways to give contact information
· Promote this event within sets of similar past events (iTunes or YouTube collections)
· Create avenues for feedback on the event an your promotion plans
· Promote upcoming events
Encourage peer-to-peer dialog by providing meaningful content and communication ideas to your promoters–those who talk (or tweet or post) positively about organization and events. Keep these ideas in mind:
· Provide Readily Available Content
To maintain accuracy and some editorial direction over the content shared by your promoters, it is wise to prepare content for them to use. Compile the same sort of information you would for a press release and tolerate a similar amount of creative liberty in the use of the pertinent detail by the individual. You want your promoters to have fun and put a little of their own personality into the outgoing communication. Do monitor your promoters’ activities and provide constructive feedback when warranted.
· Consider Audience Segmentation
Your promoters will have their own network of online relationships, which you will want to consider. You can help foster growth in those networks by assisting in defining the audience and providing the most meaningful content for that subset of the overall audience.
Many of the ideas in this post come from monitoring the recommendations from those who are familiar with using Facebook events. Link to the Facebook Event Playbook, the Facebook Help Center and monitor the most up-to-date user information on the Facebook Help Community page.
POST WRITTEN BY ANNE MANNER - MCLARTY · OCTOBER 5, 2016