Using engagement as a metric for ROI is standard practice in the events industry—but how and what you track is an art that constantly evolves based on your objectives.
Here are some tips in using social media to track what attendees are talking about.
We’ve seen many occasions where content that’s being shared is not part of an official hashtag or mascot. You can plan, but you can’t predict what’s going to go viral so on the actual day, track everything. Track variations and misspellings of your hashtag, tweak your keywords and search parameters again as the day goes on and as speakers come and go, track even your smallest sponsor and its products, and track the after-party venue as well as the caterers.
Track your geo-location
Sometimes attendees are having a great time, but what they’re actually motivated to post on their Instagram feed is not the keynote speaker, but the amazing flat white near Booth 12 with the great coffee art. This is where geo-location tracking is your friend. It helps you track by location and lat-long—so that even if the photowall wasn’t so popular, you’ll get the Happy Hour pics that didn’t make use of the hashtag but still indicated engagement.
Track your sponsors and speakers
This is not only handy for figuring out what resonated with your audience, but also good for proving ROI to sponsors. Did sponsor content get photographed, tweeted, or shared? Who had more social traction—your keynote speaker or the blogger? You might find the results surprising.
Track behaviour changes
During the event and post-event, it’s important to track how your audience’s perceptions have changed. For example, if your objective was education, were you able to impact the conversations people had?
Context is everything
Whether you’re trying to understand if content is social- or news-worthy, it’s important to comprehend context when you measure engagement. For example, if a product announcement was shared on news platforms but not on social, continue to work on your content strategy.
Prerna Pant is a general manager of Circus Social.