Social media is an internet- based software that allows people to interact with each other or with customers (in a business environment), by sharing information such as: details about their lives (or product), professional information, personal or business related photos and up-to-the-minute thoughts or offers (Investopedia, 2017). Nowadays, social media is considered to be one of the most powerful internet based tools that is available to any event manager (Walker, 2016a). However not all of us have been taught how to use social media correctly and why it is essential to master such skills. It is merely important to understand how social media can be used in order to boost an event, and in this scope many tips and tricks have been suggested (Hurt, 2014). But how are event managers using these advice is usually dependent on the knowledge they already possess, technology and the generation they have been born in. According to the Millennial Marketing (2017), Millennials are represented by people born between 1977 and 2000 however there has been a lot of discussion based on the specific years in which each generations have entered. The image below briefly categorises four of the present generations as following:
Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 2000
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
Now each of the generations have been through different learning methods and technology developments, and it is considered that Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of leading edge technologies than any other generation. Perhaps this is true, as PwC estimates that Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 (Lawrence, 2016). Then let’s learn alongside the Millennials how to use social media in their events in order grow a bigger audience.
- Millennials want experiences more than anything and are willing to spend considerable amounts on event experience (Walker, 2016a). So as an event manager we should be looking how to deliver it to the right people, especially by targeting them by demographic characteristics (Walker, 2016b). Find their favourite social media platforms and use them; create an on online experience specifically targeting the audience.
- Traditional Media is Important – These refer to offline media such as posters, flyers and magazines. On one hand the younger people of generation Y have never seen a world without technology therefore this sort of advertisement might not have a big impact. On the other hand it does attract the elders of Generation Y, as they tend to take their news from more traditional sources. Additionally Hurt (2012) suggests texting over e-mail, so smart phones can be a useful tool to add
- Let them participate – They will tell their vision, what and how they want it. Event managers out there listen and apply their wishes. The majority of Millennials are active consumers and they like to feel they have been in the development of their favourite brand or that they helped shaping the event experience. From an event manager’s perspective, this could be introduced on social media through polls (on Twitter), feedback survey, and any other way that could allow the potential attendees to be involved with the event. By letting them participate, people will share content related to your event, allowing you to improve it and create a better experience.
- Use your brand – The power of personal branding and online reputation should not be overestimated. According to Millennial Marketing (2017) Millennials tend to conduct most of the conversations online, directly interacting with the brands. However, be aware, a wrong step followed by a nasty tweet from an attendee could negatively impact on you event image, so be careful and do not forget the hashtags.
Even though these tips can be useful for any event manager, perhaps each type of event should require a different approach, upon its type, size and numerous other factors which should be thoroughly examined. Personally I have used social media across multiple businesses that I have worked or work with in present. Mostly I have worked with management teams from generation Y and X and currently with baby boomers, each requiring a particular approach in order to have a productive relationship. It’s either teaching your friend, your mum, your boss or your grandmother, in each of the cases you would be challenged to find a different way to make it more enjoyable.
Summarising, it can be difficult to reach Millennials, to grow the event audience. But by understanding the events market, the generations and their audience and how to use the right tools, event managers can expand their events at different levels.