New study highlights social media amplification of events

A joint study of leading event marketing and brand marketing executives by FreemanXP and the Event Marketing Institute (EMI) has uncovered the most effective social media channels to reach target audiences before, during and after events. Results show that social marketing is important but, so far, not always effective.

The study, The viral impact of events: extending and amplifying reach via social media’, shows a majority of marketers acknowledge that delegates are increasingly sharing event content through social media and believe their companies’ amplification of event social content to reach a broader audience is a top priority.

The study provides estimates of the social media impressions generated at past events, the most impactful social channels, and guidelines for enhancing social content.

“This research proves what we’ve been saying all along: the integration of social and live marketing channels is becoming one of the most powerful tools for brand marketers,” says Chris Cavanaugh, executive vice-president of brand strategy and business insights at FreemanXP.

“With the right planning and a robust content marketing strategy, brands can use the integration of social media and live events to engage audiences and extend the reach and frequency of their messages before, during and after live events.”

Other key insights from the study include:
87% of marketers surveyed believe attendees and visitors actively share event content
Approximately 50% of leading event marketers specifically budget for social efforts, and 97% expect to increase or maintain their spend levels in the next budget cycle
While a total of 70 per cent of the top brands ranked social marketing related to event programmes as ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’, only 16% of the survey respondents say they are ‘very effective’ at generating viral impact from their events and exhibit programmes ? and only 21% say they are ‘effective’
Top brands that serve both B2B and consumer markets believe the most effective social media platforms are: Pre-event: Facebook – 77%; During the event: Twitter – 73%; Post-event: Facebook – 55%
Only 13% of B2B marketers believe their organisations are ‘very effective’ or ‘effective’ at generating impact from social efforts, yet almost two-thirds believe this marketing effort is a top priority (‘very important’ and ‘somewhat important’) to their businesses.
Survey respondents reported the average social media impressions total is nearly 1.4m per event, and for companies with over US$500m in revenue, the average is 1.8m per event.

“The research confirms that face-to-face marketing is one of the most powerful ways to amplify connections between brands and customers,” says EMI senior director of member services Kevin Ritch. “It’s just another reason that event and experiential marketing is growing as quickly as it is.”

Carried out at the end of 2014, the study surveyed brand marketers and event marketing executives at 100 large corporations, representing a range of industries, including information technology, healthcare, financial, automotive and consumer products.

The full study can be downloaded on FreemanXP’s website. It also includes recommendations for brands on the best practices for social media engagement from FreemanXP.

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