How planners can use tools like Wechat, Weibo and Meipai at events in China
These social media platforms should be utilised to be in sync with an event’s lifecycle stages – from the ‘pre’, ‘during’ to the ‘post’ stages.
Use Weibo to blast out the initial advertisements and create mass awareness of the event. Content must be tailored for the specific target audience. For example, the China Annual Conference for International Education and Expo (CACIE) used Weibo to promote its Education Expo 2017 and communicate content to a targeted audience.
WeChat, on the other hand, is very handy once prospects have registered. Cultivating engagement prior to an event is crucial to ensuring emotional stickiness. Thanks to its relatively closed-off ecosystem, WeChat provides a great way to develop a tighter relationship with delegates.
One example is the use of WeChat by Coach – an American luxury brand – to promote an event aimed at recruiting new customers via existing customers. To create emotional stickiness prior to the event, Coach gave point rewards to customers who’d successfully converted their friends into Coach followers. Points collected during the event could be redeemed as cash coupons worth RMB300.
Video streaming and livestreaming are powerful tools used by event planners to intensify delegate engagement. For example, as a sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival 2016, L’Oreal invited celebrities Gong Li, Li Bingbing, Li Yuchun and Jing Boran to livestream behind-the-scenes segments on the Festival’s official Meipai account. The streams received 160 million likes in total. During the livestreams, Li Yuchun introduced L’Oreal products and recommended a lipstick she wore during the Festival. After four hours of livestreaming, the featured lipstick was sold out at L’Oreal’s T-Mall flagship store.
The power (and pitfalls) of social media to engage attendees
The most powerful aspects of social media include:
• Its ability to create UGC (user generated content). Co-creation has been proven to be an effective tool in creating powerful attendee engagement by many event marketers.
• Personalisation gives attendees the ability to choose how they participate, share and ‘consume’ an event with their loved ones. The key here is to provide ‘emotional freedom’ for attendees, and thus intensify their level of engagement.
Some of the most common pitfalls stem from not understanding the characteristics of each social media platform. Not all platforms are created equal, so it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of a campaign’s objectives, target audience and event lifecycle prior to choosing a social media platform to engage attendees.
The keys to using social media in event marketing
• Define campaign objectives
• Use KOL (celebrities versus non-celebrities) appropriately
• Ensure quality content
• Identify your audience demographic (age in particular)
• Know your social media platform characteristics
• Sync social media platforms with the event’s lifecycle stages
An edited version of this insight appeared in PCMA Newsletter on 28 November 2017.