Social media and events, at their core, bring people together. When used properly, they should go hand-in-hand. Social media providers have recognized this and are increasingly becoming more event-centric in their product offerings. Here are a few new ways this is happening:

Facebook
Facebook is the largest social media channel, with 1.67 billion users (one in five, globally).

  • It has long had an Events Page option on its Business Pages.
  • Last year, for Facebook Business Pages, “Call to Action” buttons were added, including a “Sign Up” button. Every event planner using an online registration form should consider including this “Sign Up” button on its FB Event page linking to its event registration page.
  • In April, Facebook partnered with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, allowing attendees to register directly on its Facebook pages. With an API (Application Program Interface), this should become more common with other online registration providers.
  • Also in April, Facebook added a video tab to its mobile apps that offers live streaming, Facebook Live, to events and groups in direct competition to Periscope (see below). It is possible to go live in Facebook Groups and Facebook Events. Interactivity is built in with Live Reactions for viewers to express their feelings, with reportedly 10 times more comments on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. Also, check out the Facebook Live Map on your desktop, where people in more than 60 countries share real-time video.

Instagram Instagram, with 400 million users, is owned by Facebook. The inherently visual and mobile nature of this app has proven to be helpful and increasingly used at events and exhibitions.

  • Instagram has become a common component of social walls, event photo booths such as ChirpE and selfie mirrors. These tools can boost brands and greatly amplify social media activity at events and tradeshows to a larger audience.
  • Instagram uses Twitter hashtags and should be incorporated in all event-related postings.
  • Both photos and videos (up to 15 seconds) can be posted about the events.
  • In January, Instagram started curating videos about live events. Although these have centered around large sporting events, it is an indication of the recognition of the importance of events.

Snapchat Snapchat, with 100 million daily active users, is much more than an app for teenagers to send disappearing chat messages. It has made a number of moves to make its app more event-centric.

  • The Snapchat “Story” feature displays content for 24 hours and could be a natural for many events.
  • Snapchat Experts can help plan a Snapchat event marketing campaign.
  • Last year, the “Our Story” feature become available, and offers direct applications for events. It allows multiple users to contribute to a public collection of photos and videos based around a specific geo-fenced area (the event location). These custom “Our Story” geofilters have been a significant success with users snapping events.
  • Targeting the “ultimate event,” Snapchat will dedicate a live story channel for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Twitter/Periscope
Twitter, with more than 332 million active users, provided the original social media back channel for events. Making its major debut at the 2007 SXSW conference, the Twitter hashtag is now a central social media search phrase at many events, and is used across multiple social channels. As of May, Twitter is No. 1 in the iTunes App Store, emphasizing the importance of its mobile strategy. (More than 88 percent of all tweets are mobile.)

  • Twitter acquired Periscope in January 2015. This live video streaming app was the Apple “App of the Year” for 2015, with over 10 million active users.
  • Periscope is increasingly used at events for event marketing and for attendees to share their experiences (for up to 24 hours) with each other and to a larger audience.
  • As Periscope is owned by Twitter, it is easy to promote these “scopes” using a Twitter profile and event hashtag. When you go live in Periscope, the Twitter bird can be selected so your steam can be broadcast live into Twitter (in addition to the Periscope app).
  • Also, although the Periscope streams are only viewable for 24 hours, there is an option to save a recording to your camera roll that then can be uploaded to Facebook or YouTube for longer lasting post-event promotion. Periscope is currently (May 2016) in beta testing to allow for saving the videos permanently within the Periscope app cloud.