We all know social media has become much more than just a ‘trend’ – it’s now ingrained in our culture, with over 1.86 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, with over half of that activity via mobile. It’s obvious – wherever you go, people have their phone out. It feels like sports, kids plays and music performances are watched predominantly through a camera lens so it can be uploaded, tweeted and posted about in real time.
This has its benefits if you are the event organiser – you just have to know how to get the most out of all that online traffic, which is where a social media wall comes in.
Firstly what is a social media wall?
Put simply, it’s a real-time curated display of posts from social platforms which is displayed either on screens or within a website. You define the posts you want to see featured on your wall by choosing social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram etc), account handles (@yourbusiness) and hashtags, and boom – you are good to go.
Four key reasons why you need a social media wall
To be honest, most event organisers we speak to just love the enjoyment and wow-factor that a large social wall brings to their events, but we know mushy stuff won’t get you budget sign-off so here are some bankable reasons for the bean counter.
Increase online engagement
Social media has a lot of influence on people’s perceptions about brands, products and events – particularly based on what their community is saying. Your event is a key moment in time to boost your social media engagement and generate excitement about your event through influencer marketing. You are bound to have planned social media activity relating to your event, and there are always a few folks adept at dropping a hashtag into their post, but a social wall encourages even more people to socialize your hashtag. Social media walls give your online community a face – people who may not have been inclined to tweet or post about your event become motivated to do so because they get a certain buzz from seeing their posts up on the big screen. Plus of course, when your attendees see others doing it, they’re more likely to follow their example.
Add the ‘wow’ factor as a visual feature
You can view social walls on your mobile or embed them in your website, but the real ‘wow’ factor comes from projecting or streaming to a large display. The great thing is that unlike posters or big banners, you can roll this product out at different events, in different years, and the content is always customisable and fresh.
Show your sponsors some love
Events often rely on sponsorship, and when you are competing for their dollar with other events, being able to show additional value is key. Everyone will offer them logo placements, but being able to offer them a prominent, visually engaging live channel to reach their target market might just give your event the edge.
Create interactive opportunities
Making your event’s social engagement interactive brings another element to your event. Because a social wall keeps the online world visual, you have the opportunity to bring in aspects such as live polls, competitions and giveaways. This is especially helpful if your event has queues (for the bar, the concession stand, or maybe even at the gates). Reduce the angst of waiting by offering your captive audience the chance to win by posting the best event pic featuring your hashtag.
And finally, our pro tips for social walls
Stay in Control
Don’t stress about inappropriate content – social walls would have died a pretty fast death if event organisers couldn’t build in some pretty tight moderation. How tightly you need to set that up will vary based on your event and audience, but just be sure your platform gives you options to blacklist users, keywords or hashtags.
Custom brand your wall
Take the time to personalise your wall to your event – feature your logo, use your brand colours and include messages to encourage engagement.
Encourage contributions to Q&A sessions
Invite attendees to post questions for presenters using hashtags. Being able to post a question reduces anxiety for the person asking it, and encourages others to add questions when they see what others are asking. This also gives your presenter something to work with other than an awkward silence when the Q&A session opens!
Create a selfie-spot
Depending on your event this might be anything from a place to take a photo with a celeb, with a backdrop at an awards event, or maybe with a box of props for some fun ‘photobooth’ style pics.
Share your stream!
Include a link in pre-event emails, share it on social media, and ensure your hashtag is visible on all your promotional content. Embed your stream into your website to create a social hub and keep your website full of fresh, authentic content.
Keep an eye on your analytics
Analytics on the performance of your social media wall give you insights that will help you refine your content and engage your contributors (see our analytics tips here). Information on your top contributors, top performing hashtags to continually refine your social media wall. Keep an eye on it when you first set your stream up, and then make sure you check them regularly.