In a COVID-19 world where all in-person events and plans have been cancelled, companies are looking for new ways to connect with their audiences, and maintain and grow their business relationships.
Sprout isn’t exempt from this feeling: we’ve had our upcoming digital event for social marketers, Sprout Sessions Digital, in the works for awhile, but moved it up an entire month to support our customers with thought leadership and #SproutTips as soon as possible. Of course I’m biased, since I’m organizing the event, but I think we’ve got a really standout group of speakers across B2B (GitLab, Twitter, and several agencies that do B2B work) and B2C (CLEAR, CB2, Prana, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and so many other superstars).
Our registration numbers reinforce our direction here—don’t you love when data does that? We’re up to 4000 registrants and the event is more than two weeks away. People right now are hungry to connect and learn.
But just about every brand you can name is holding a digital event or webinar or “unique” online offering of some sort. How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the noise and provide true value for your brand’s audience? By leveraging your social channels, both organic and paid, to make sure you are creating the most helpful, entertaining, and connective experience possible for your audience. Here’s what you need to do as you plan your digital event and promote it on social.
1. Break down your social plan into pre, during, and post.
Right from the get-go, we made sure our social promotion plan was divided into three sections: how we were going to promote prior, where that was going to happen, and when that was going to happen; how we were going to engage during, where and when; and how we were going to close the loop on the back end.
2. Be hyperclear about what you want to achieve on each platform.
More importantly, clarify why your audience should head to each channel. For Sprout Sessions Digital, we are asking our customers to…
- Head to our Facebook Groups for community. Our plans include a live takeover with our Customer Success Managers, an opportunity for attendees to interact with fellow Sprout customers on megathreads, and a trivia happy hour to close out the day.
- Head to Twitter to share the content they love most with their networks. Our social team will be posting the day’s agenda across our social platforms, as well as asking and answering audience questions to keep participants engaged. To keep session-specific conversations in one central location, we’ll also be creating megathreads for participants to follow.
- Head to the chat function on the video for Q&A. During each of our sessions, we’ll be directing attendees to use the chat function on video to ask questions they want our panelists to answer and to submit any technical issues.
3. Include your whole internal team, especially your customer-facing teams.
We have our Customer Success Managers taking over on Facebook Live, our CMO presenting and members across the marketing team acting as moderators on sessions. We’re also identifying a Sprout team of engagers who we’ll provide cues for what to Tweet and when to chime in on the social conversation to engage with attendees.
Note here: Have a global team? Make sure you have representation from all over the world as you source volunteers and in the time zones that make sense for them.
4. Loop your speakers into social promo.
Be specific about these asks, whether that’s asking them to post a video on their own social channels or asking them to submit content to you to share on your owned social channels.
5. Create a doc with all speaker instructions and promo asks.
Don’t overwhelm your speakers with disparate asks. Reinforce via email and meetings, but give them one place to go for all information they could ever need about the event you are running and your expectations of them.
6. Incentivize your speakers and your social engagement.
We may all be in different locations, but there are still opportunities to keep social engagement high and to surprise and delight our audience. Consider pulling together a WFH kit for trivia winners or submitting a donation in a participant’s name for producing and submitting a piece of content day-of.
7. Leverage social in your content creation process.
At Sprout Sessions Digital 2020, you can expect to see content sourced by social marketers for social marketers. What does this look like in practice?
- Content themes and sessions generated from social media listening topics we have set up around social marketing conversations and COVID-19, plus customer questions we’ve received during customer webinars and live Q&As.
- Sourcing social posts in real time to drop into the decks we’re sharing at the live Q&A to give an interactive feel and encourage more engagement from attendees.
- Use social proof in your email communications, from invites to reminders.
8. Use paid when possible.
Widen your net for driving registration by putting some paid behind your social media efforts. One tip I gleaned from organizing the content for our session Strong Partnership, Strong Results: When Paid and Organic Social Work Together is to start out by boosting the organic content that’s working if you’re just starting to dip your toes here. You can learn more about Sprout’s paid social reporting capabilities here.
9. Tie promotion of your event into other comms and big initiatives you have coming up.
For instance, we’re launching our customer learning portal to all customers the Monday after Sprout Sessions Digital. That’s where all recordings and takeaway resources from the event will live. We have tied Sprout Sessions Digital to this in-flight initiative in a way that will feel seamless to customers and direct them towards the Learning Portal as their source of truth for continued education. This messaging will be reflected in our social approach after the event, which I referenced above in #1.
10. Leverage our tag report to track the efficacy and results of your social content.
As one of our Sprout Sessions Digital panelists put it when talking about the tag report, five minutes today will save you hours of work and headache later.