By Katie Zupancic Wymer and Jim Hennessey

Welcome to 2017! As brands and organizations prepare (or in our case, are already knee deep in the process) to refresh social media plans, content, and the look-and-feel for the next event season, it is important to look back at the learnings from 2016 and apply them to 2017. Feeling puzzled by buzzwords like omnichannel and geo-fence? Let’s explore the highlights from 2016 and how we can grow them in 2017.

Go Live with Facebook Live.
While first available just to celebrities, brands and all users received the ability to “go live” via the Facebook phone application in April of 2016. When you share a video via Facebook Live, Facebook users can watch, comment, and react to the content in real time. The video then lives on your page and can be viewed like a normal video. While Facebook’s promotion and the algorithm of live videos to a brand’s followers continue to adjust, your team needs to invest time and resources into Facebook Live. Not sure what you’d share? If you’re a nonprofit, give a behind-the-scenes tour of your event or host a fundraising webinar via the platform. If you’re a brand, do a Q&A with your leadership or execute a product reveal using Facebook Live. Want to see some great examples of how to go live?

2017 Tip: If you’re not on Facebook Live, go live NOW.

Video is King.
Video is everywhere, and this will only continue to grow. When it comes to brand videos, the concept of quality over quantity will continue to increase in importance as users’ news feeds are flooded with video content, and as the algorithms for Facebook and Twitter continue to tweak their favoring of video. This concept has always been integral to content marketing, but as the lines between social marketers and content marketers continue to blur, this will become even more relevant for video. Not sure how to get started? Check out these links below for details.

2017 Tip: Quality doesn’t mean you have to use an expensive video production company. A great user-generated video testimonial is perfect social video content.

Don’t be Over-Produced.
Organic-feeling creative performs, and on social media, you’re always up against a dancing puppy GIF. If your creative on social media is overly-produced, your audience will always feel like you’re being salesy. Post genuine visuals, mix in user-generated content, and don’t make everything look or feel like an ad. Websites like Canva can help you create graphics without the need to loop in your creative team for a fully-designed graphic. If your event is visual, rely on your photography instead of doing too much design work that takes away from the authentic impact of the event photo. As Snapchat and Instagram Stories continue to expand, these platforms can help personalize you to users through in-the-moment, more conversational content that’s not overdone in the editing room.

2017 Tip: Rely on your power users for organic content! Consider placing a geo-fence around your event site and purchasing a Snapchat geofilter for your event day. The user-generated content you receive from this and other event-day social media efforts can power your social during the offseason.

An Omnichannel Approach Boosts the Effectiveness of Social
While we can preach about trends, video, and the growth of live, at its core, social is about being at the right place/platform at the right time with the right content for the right audience. As content marketing and social media marketing continue to merge, your users need to experience a seamless message and look and feel from platform to platform. This doesn’t just include a seamless social media experience – omnichannel marketing goes beyond social into emails, blogs, your website, paid digital advertising, and other marketing efforts.

2017 Tip: Don’t keep your social media content calendar in a silo. Work with the other members of your team to build an overarching content calendar that social media can help support and drive.

As we move into 2017 and beyond, it is important to make sure that your social media team keeps up to date on new advancements in the industry and applies best practices to your brand. Check out platforms like Lynda or this great list of industry blogs to ensure you’re in-the-know. Curious what other trends we’re seeing in the event production, event marketing, and P2P space?

Ultimately, be on the platforms that make sense for your brand, and always make sure that you’re creating content and speaking in a voice that will appeal to your readers based on their participant profiles. Finally, use the analytics tools available to track and learn from what’s working and improve what’s not. Want to kick off 2017 on the right foot? We’re here to help.

Katie Zupancic Wymer (LinkedInTwitter) is the Manager, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. She manages digital marketing and social media strategy and sponsorship for MuckFest® MS, the FUN mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. She also manages digital marketing for other fundraising events like Bike MSNewly Minnesotan, she enjoys exploring her new home with her tiny dog, Annie.

Jim Hennessey (LinkedInTwitter), is the Director, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. He leads the marketing and social media strategy for MuckFest® MS and works with other organizations including Bike MS, the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival, and the MMRF Team for Cures 5K with digital marketing and social media strategies to support their peer to peer events and fundraising. Jim lives in Chicago.

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