How to integrate technology into your events

By Angela Gibian, Marketing & Event Manager

The tech trend is expanding all around us. Every day there is a new platform, app or tool launched, it can sometimes be hard to keep up. The event world is no different. Most consumers are now acclimated to quick, clean, easy and responsive technology in their every day life and the expectation is set for that to carry over into their experience at events.

Streamlining events by integrating new and different types of technology is a great way to keep attendees informed, excited and engaged. Below are just a few of the many different types of technology that are on the rise in the event scene and some of their various applications.

Event registration platforms are a great way to incorporate technology into your event even before you get onsite. There are several popular platforms that allow you to build custom websites where you can email, register, track and profile event attendees. Many of these platforms also allow for simplified check-in processes, attendee mobile apps and important post-event reporting/analytics.

Event mobile apps are considered very mainstream in today’s event world. Many registration and event management platforms transfer over to mobile. In addition there are great independent applications to engage, inform and communicate with your event attendees. Text reminders, maps, itineraries, sponsor advertising/profiling, social media posts and more can be at the tip of any event-goers fingers.

Tablets/iPads are a great way to showcase material and capture user information during events. These portable devices allow you to maiPadintain and organize real-time data while on-site. They also gives your event a sleek and modern look, rather than having paper and pens for staff and guests to use. Going digital can also save money on print costs and allow for unlimited registration or subscriptions. In addition, iPads or Tablets can be great to feature your product or product website. Staff and guests can use onsite devices to peruse your website, view your products or read targeted content.

Social media is a huge way to impact your audience before during and after an event. Whether you are attending a large trade show or hosting a roundtable, sharing these opportunities and experiences with your audience using social media platforms is increasingly important. Creating an event hashtag, posting photos, live streaming or creating social giveaways or contests can keep your company in the social stream of consciousness.

Video and live streaming is now more popular than ever. With the advent of Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram Live, YouTube Live and other streaming tools, event activities can be promoted to audiences outside of the on-site attendees to a broader group, creating a buzz and allowing people could not be there an opportunity to get in on the action. Other ways to leverage video at events include using drones or Go-Pros to show unique, exciting perspectives on experiences, giving the viewer a first person view of what’s happening. Outside of live applications, filming attendee testimonials or interviews are another great way to engage your guests and also provide use post-event as a way to continue the connection with your audience, educate others and encourage attendance next year.

However you decide to integrate technology, it is a sure way to enrich your event. With the variety of options available it will not only benefit your guests, but also you and your business.


Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Promotional Communications from Cleveland State University. Angela has more than 10 years of experience planning and managing events, ranging from product launches to non-profit galas. Prior to joining North Coast Media, she was in charge of fundraising events for the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio, where she remains a volunteer. Her diverse background, along with her knowledge of marketing and public relations, helps her to execute impactful and results-driven events on behalf of NCM’s publications and clients.

Top takeaways from the Cavs’ social media strategy

By Allison Barwacz, Digital Media Content Producer

The Cleveland Cavaliers becoming NBA champions for the first time in franchise history gave Cleveland a spotlight it’s been yearning for since LeBron James first joined the team in 2003. Cleveland’s first major sports title in 52 years ignited an explosion of cheers, tears and—not surprisingly—social media posts.

With a victory secured by Kyrie Irving’s 3-pointer in the final minute of Game 7, the Cavs’ social media team prepared for what would soon be an ongoing influx of posts for months to follow. The 15-person digital team, including social media coordinators Lucy Matz, Matt North and Courtney Shilling, made its presence known as a social media leader among the 390,000+ Clevelanders tweeting and sharing their NBA Finals experiences.

It took some serious planning, though.

“Covering games during the regular season, and more so the Playoffs, prepared us for what was expected for Game 7,” Matz says. “As far as victory posts, we had a lot of copy planned that we genuinely had prepared for at the beginning of the season that we were hoping to use when we finally won. So, most of the Game 7 posting was very thought-out and planned for. Our digital team was very proactive to being prepared for winning it all. We had graphics and splash pages ready to go.”

With that in mind, here are some takeaways we can use from the Cavs’ social media strategy.

1. Promote your brand.

When your company is attending or hosting an event, heavily promote the event on all platforms using a short, catchy hashtag. Aligning with the previous year’s hashtag and Cleveland’s area code, the Cavs’ social media gurus made #Allin216 more than just a hashtag. It became a symbol spray-painted throughout city sidewalks, a logo plastered on Cavs T-shirts and a phrase chanted throughout Cleveland.

 

The #NBAFinals looks good on you, @TheQArena. #ALLin216

A photo posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

2. Encourage engagement.

Make sure you share or retweet relevant or interesting social media posts, as well as answer questions your followers ask you. There’s nothing wrong with additional content on your social media pages—especially if it catches your readers’ interests.

Encourage engagement by starting conversations on your page, too. Ask your audience a question or invite them to send or tag you in pictures from an event. You can share those images to promote your brand and entice your followers.

“Content, fan engagement and marketing/activations fuel our social media strategy,” Matz says. “Whether it’s documenting a game, sharing a player feature, getting involved in trending internet topics or showcasing our community involvement, we drive most of our strategy based off of team-related content. Fan engagement is huge for the Cavs in social media. Unlike many professional sporting teams, we reply to our fans and listen to what they’re telling us.”

Your social media engagement will help build a community, as long as you keep your shares, retweets and comments professional and friendly.

 

3. Integrate multimedia.

People have become accustomed to seeing pictures on social media, so much so that the importance of visual social media is a given. Almost everyone has a smartphone, making it easy to immediately post pictures to their social media accounts.

“Social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, have redesigned their news feeds to place more emphasis on visuals,” says Catriona Pollard, director of Australian PR and social media agency CP Communications, in a Huffington Post blog. “Images are attention grabbing pieces of ‘snackable’ content which users can understand and engage with ease. Images used in your social media are far more likely to evoke emotional reactions in viewers and can portray information more efficiently than text.”

Videos, pictures and GIFs flood the Cavs’ social media accounts, making them interesting, appealing and informational. Matz emphasized using a slightly different strategy for each platform, based on character limitations, user interest and engagement.

“For our purposes, we find that photos, GIFs and videos receive more engagement with our fans,” she says. “We like to mix up our content across channels to stay fresh, so we keep a constant rotation of photos, GIFs and videos. On Twitter, we’re likely to use team-oriented GIFs over popular-culture GIFs, as that is more fitting to our brand identity. We’ve also utilized Facebook Live recently, which has received massive views, especially during the playoffs.”

4. Be personable and helpful.

If someone makes a positive comment to you, make sure you respond. It’s important to establish a friendly voice. The Cavs’ social media team assists followers who ask questions and offers helpful tips based off of other user comments.

“We often reply (as @cavs) to fans on Instagram or Facebook, and very often ‘like’ our fans comments or shares across all social platforms,” Matz says. “For any valid questions that concern the team or Quicken Loans Arena, we utilize @TheQAssist account to reply, to keep the @cavs handle game/team specific, while providing a customer-service-driven portal for fans to assist where needed.”

Your users will look up to you as a credible, reliable source for their needs.

5. Have fun with it.

While social media can be a challenging beast to tackle, keep this in mind: You can be both professional and fun.

“It’s important that we humanize our brand as fans come to our social media pages to be entertained and feel good about their team,” Matz says. “We try to keep things light-hearted and fun across the board in our strategy. That stands from game content to a corporate-partner activation. We always try to keep Cavs Nation enjoying our posts.”

The Cavs’ social media team carefully chooses which posts to share from the account’s followers, ensuring they’re appropriate and user-friendly. The team manages to intertwine business and fun, sharing posts that avoid dryness and embrace excitement.

“Your professional social media site is supposed to be about your business, though you still want to make sure that it’s getting the attention you want it to get,” says entrepreneur and penny stock expert Timothy Sykes in an article on Entrepreneur.com. “Simply put, you want to be popular on social media. However, you need to find that balance between popularity and business. You need to have a little bit of both and mix the more fun side that wants popularity with the serious and informative side that boosts the reputation of your business.”

And by doing so, the Cavs’ social media team has been reaping the rewards.

“We continue to see large impressions on all of our posts that we’ve shared from Game 7 to today,” Matz says. “We’ve also seen an incredible growth in our audience during the NBA Finals and since we’ve won. It’s amazing what winning a championship can do.”


Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism with specializations in Spanish and English. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

5 reasons you need YouTube

By Diane Sofranec, Managing Editor

If your company has Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, you may think you’ve got social media covered. But if you don’t regularly upload videos to YouTube, you’re missing out.

Here are five reasons why YouTube is a social media platform you simply can’t ignore.

1. YouTube has more than 1 billion users worldwide.

YouTube_640x427No surprise here. Everybody knows YouTube is the site to visit when you want to watch a video. In the United States, 81 percent of Millennials, 58 percent of Generation Xers and 43 percent of Baby Boomers use YouTube. What is surprising is that only 9 percent of small businesses in this country use YouTube, according to statistics compiled by DMR.

2. YouTube is more than crazy cat videos and movie trailers.

Because anyone can upload a video to YouTube, the videos are as unique as the people who watch them. Consider creating videos that showcase tips related to your company’s products or services, share your company’s history, and highlight fun employee events and activities. There’s an 11-hour(!) limit for videos, but keep them to just a couple minutes to hold viewers’ attention. There’s also a place to include a summary and web address, so videos can help boost traffic to your company’s website.

3. There’s more than one way to use YouTube.

Sure, YouTube has billions of users, but they don’t all create and upload video. YouTube makes it easy to share, comment on, and rate videos, too. Create a compelling video, and it might make the rounds on other social media sites, like Facebook.

4. YouTube is widely believed to be the second-largest search engine behind Google.

YouTube is comprised of a lot of videos. Users upload an astounding 300 hours of content every minute. To find the content they’re looking for, YouTube users search the site, which has pushed YouTube toward the top of the search engine heap. To ensure your company name pops up in a YouTube search, post a video. As an added bonus, YouTube videos rank in Google searches because Google owns YouTube.

5. YouTube makes it easy to upload and track your videos.

It’s easy to shoot a video on your smartphone and instantly upload it to your YouTube page. Then, you can use YouTube Analytics to track its popularity. There’s no need to notify subscribers to your YouTube channel that you posted a new video, because YouTube does that for you.

So what are you waiting for? Create a company video, establish a channel, and get your company’s information out there, for billions to see.


Diane Sofranec has more than 25 years experience in B2B media. She joined North Coast Media in 2013 as a digital content producer. Now managing editor of the company’s Pest Management Professional magazine, Sofranec frequently writes about social media and mobile trends and techniques.

Photo credit: Rego – d4u.hu via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

5 ways to use social media for page view optimization

By Allison Barwacz | Digital Media Content Producer

istock-social-media-blog

There’s no doubt that social media is an efficient outlet for news dissemination. And why not? Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are easy to use, inexpensive (if not free) and connect you to a lot of people. Social media encourages conversation, rather than stifling it, and doesn’t present any limitations. That’s why it’s an important tool for generating page views, whether you’re a personal blogger, magazine writer or social media manager. With that in mind, here are some steps for optimizing page views using social media.

First, ask yourself these questions, writes Daniel Newman in Forbes, before posting:

  • Who are we engaging with?
  • What platform are we using?
  • What type of content are we using?
  • What are our bigger goals?
  • How can we measure our results?

Once you’ve answered these questions, keep these tips in mind:

1. Post on all platforms.

Make sure you post on all of your available platforms. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest or whatever outlet relates to your business. Make sure your posts are consistent across the board, using your brand’s voice.

2. Share, share and…share.

It’s simple: The more an article is shared, the more page views it’ll get. Even if the article is posted on your company’s social media pages, don’t be afraid to share, retweet or even comment on the post. Utilize your own social media accounts to share your work and encourage your co-workers to share theirs — after all, who doesn’t want their own work to be seen?

3. Engage.

Use your social media platforms to build relationships with readers. Professionally respond to their comments, whether you agree with them or not, in a timely matter. Either way, keep in mind: Any response is good. It helps build brand identify, recognition and your brand’s following.

4. Personalize.

A unique feature that many social media platforms offer is the ability to personalize your posts. On Facebook, you can add images to the posts you share. You can edit the headline of the post, as well as the description under the photo. On Twitter, you can add hashtags, which will help you key in on your target audience. (Note: It’s important to look up potential hashtags on Twitter to see how often they’re used.) Use these tools to be creative and set your brand apart from others sharing similar information.

5. Repost.

Don’t be afraid to repost your articles. Use a web analytics service, such as Google Analytics, to determine which of your posts generated the most page views, and repost those articles with new teasers and hashtags. Use the engagement/impression data from the duplicate posts to determine what types of posts your readers best respond to.

5 dos and don’ts of social media

By Joelle Harms | Senior Digital Editor, North Coast Media

thumbs_up_smSocial media is a blessing and a curse.

Promoting valuable and relevant content through personal, professional social media channels — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others — will help drive traffic to you or your company’s website, increase demand for your content and raise your visibility.

“Social media was once thought of as a mere pastime for teenage procrastinators,” writes Sports Marketing Surveys in a blog post. “It then developed into a dubious marketing scheme whereby businesses barely considered it viable and worthy of considerable time and resource. Today it is a huge promotional machine that no real business can do without.”

There’s no clear strategy to managing a personal social media account, especially when using it professionally, but there is a way to avoid social media disasters.

Keeping up with best practices and techniques for effective social media can be a challenge, but it’s very rewarding. Social media is indispensable. You can view social media as a free tool for you or you or your company to gain awareness, respect, attention and, most importantly, community.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when posting to social media.

Dos

1. Post often. Staying active raises your credibility and allows you to share your passion with like-minded peers.

2.  Use photos. I’m not talking about your average selfie. We love seeing your work, we love seeing your dog and we love seeing what you did after work. Yes, we love all of the visuals.

3.  Share your successes. People do want to see you shine. Sharing successful results may motivate others to improve or could give them the answer they are looking for.

4.  Mix up your content. Try new social media channels. Some superintendents are even trying out Vine!

5.  Ask questions. If you have a question and no solution, chances are someone in the Twittersphere has the answer.

Don’ts

1.  Brag. It’s one thing to show us the result of hard work that’s paid off, but no one cares about your trillion-dollar budget. An easy way to alleviate bragging is to share what others are doing by retweeting or posting a link to a cool blog.

2.  Complain. Social media is not a forum for you to complain about life. It’s OK to bring up concerns you may have, but also be open-minded to what others are trying even if you don’t agree with them.

3.  Be obnoxious. Liking and sharing others’ posts shows you’re interested, but don’t go on a “liking” spree on Instagram to make it seem like you’re interested. Liking a photo or tweet from 63 weeks ago is a red flag. It’s generally easy to tell if someone genuinely likes your post or if they’re just one of those “likers” who “like” everything.

4.  Show us your wild (and I mean wild) side. It’s nice to get a glimpse into your personal life, but some things are not meant to be posted to social media. If you have to think twice about whether it’s appropriate, it’s probably OK to post, but if you have to think three times about it… I’d steer clear.

5.  Take it easy on the selfies… and meals. Met LeBron James? Cool! Post that selfie you and him took together, but not the selfie you took of yourself holding a thunder stick in the crowd — we get it, you’re at the Cavs game. Have an amazing Thanksgiving? Cool! Don’t post your dinner plate — trust me, we’re all eating the same thing.

If you have any questions about social media best practices or how to make your accounts shine, I’m here to help. Email me at jharms@northcoastmedia.net for more tips and ideas.

Why social media trends should matter to B2B marketers

‘Glomming on’ isn’t just for those in B2C anymore

By Bethany Chambers | Digital Operations Manager

If you can’t tell a #TBT from a #TT on your social media feeds, it’s time to read up. Where trending topics were once a hallmark reserved for business-to-consumer (B2C) messaging, they’re now just as important for business-to-business (B2B) marketers.

To be clear, trending topics still have greater prevalence in the B2C space, where going viral and getting the attention of brand influencers are two surefire signs of social media success. And it’s true that as B2B marketers we still need to ensure the majority of our social activity or web traffic via social referrers is people within the niche markets we serve.

It’s a common trap of the B2B marketer to think of our target consumer as the person they are from 9 to 5, focusing solely on their professional persona. That will give you a one-dimensional picture of the person you’re trying to attract, a person who spends two-thirds of his or her time somewhere other than an office, factory or job site.

If we’re competing for their attentions only during business hours, we’re ignoring the reality that we’re all divided between work, family, friends, hobbies and a multitude of media channels, platforms, brands and products 24/7.

Here are some tips for glomming on:

 

Don’t think that your audience members don’t care about what’s hot.

They do, and they’re scanning their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other feeds all day long looking for it. Even at work. (Managers, sorry to break it to you.) And before you generalize, I assure you: No matter the demographic group, social media is only ever as far away as their phone.

View your social feed as a one-stop shop for your audience.

Your audience already trusts you and turns to you for information pertinent to their careers. Now you need to serve them the chocolate with their Brussels sprouts (or whatever food analogy you prefer).

Your follower is busy, with limited time to spare; if you meet them where they are (Twitter, Facebook or otherwise) and tell them what matters today — most of it business and some of it trends and entertainment — you have saved them time. And that is the most valuable service of all.

Use trending topics or hashtags to show your relevancy in the marketplace and engagement with what’s ‘now.’

Does your Twitter feed look a lot like a bunch of headlines and links with no hashtags or personality? Is the tone buttoned-up and the conversation one-sided — with your feed delivering information without analysis or engagement? If you answered yes, you have two options: Delete your Twitter account and save yourself the effort, or reimagine the platform as a two-way street, one where your brand is as multi-dimensional and fun as your reader.

Start by learning the most commonly used hashtags.

For the record, #TBT is #ThrowbackThursday (the zaniest images at least 5 years old, if you don’t want to offend the social media elite) and #TT is #TransformationTuesday, a time to show how you’ve changed over time. Pretty much every day of the week has a few go-to trending topics that you can start using right away. Make a goal to start this Friday (I’m giving you two days to plan!) with one of the following:

#FBF or #FlashbackFriday, where you show how your products have changed over time.

Flashback Friday Screenshot

#FF or #FollowFriday, to give a shout-out to your current customers, vendors or partners or those you wish to start a conversation with in the future.

follow friday post example

 

Check back Friday (after you’ve made your trending posts) for my blog on advanced trending skills, or how you can use free tools on the web to see what’s trending for your audience specifically.


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