How to generate interest during an event using social channels
An interview with Stephanie Cegielski, PRSA Vice President of Public Relations
Social media is a great avenue for promoting an event of any size. It’s available to everyone and works extremely well in getting people interested and engaged – especially when you use a combination of channels like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Each platform gives you a different way to convey content and generate excitement. Social media also makes the entire event an interactive experience where attendees can share their own opinions, stories and images – and provide valuable feedback to you, the event organizer.
At the recent PRSA 2013 Interactive Conference (PRSAICON) in Philadelphia Marketwired’s President and CEO Jim Delaney interviewed Stephanie Cegielski, PRSA’s VP of Public Relations. Read Stephanie’s take on the event’s success and glean valuable tips from her experiences.
Jim: Congratulations on a very successful conference! Tell us about some successes of this year’s event that stand out for you
Stephanie: 2013 was a very successful year for PRSA overall. That success carried over into the conference where we announced several new initiatives that got attendees very excited; the new Diversity Career ToolKit and Moving Veterans Forward programs were very well received by attendees and it showed in our social media traffic. Our Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, did a great job getting everyone excited about PRSA and about the conference. Attendees were then able to take that excitement and build upon it at the incredible professional development sessions we offered.
Jim: What social media platforms did you focus on when developing a promotional strategy around the event?
Stephanie: We used a combination of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest this year. Each platform allowed us a different avenue for conveying our message, and each provided for the opportunity to tell our story through photos.
Jim: We saw the #PRSAICON hashtag all over Twitter throughout the conference. Of course, PR professionals are inclined to share their experiences while at an event. How do you encourage posting and using the hashtag with audiences who are, maybe, less inclined to share their experiences and opinions?
Stephanie: We try to make the entire conference an interactive experience for attendees. We provide hashtag information in our materials so it is easy for attendees to follow along and/or participate. During #PRSAICON, our PR and Publications staff live tweeted the General Sessions as well as, for the first time this year, the professional development sessions. Attendees feel the energy generated from such active tweeting and are then motivated to join in the conversation, even if they are only retweeting or sharing what we or other attendees are putting out.
Jim: The PRSA International Conference draws a diverse group of PR and marketing professionals – from agency, to consultants, to corporate, and beyond. When developing messages for social media promotions, how do you appeal to multiple audiences while still staying true to the brand voice?
Stephanie: The sessions we offer at conference help drive some of that messaging. We spend a lot of time looking at our professional development offerings and planning social media around each of the more than 100 sessions offered. This allows us to tap into relevant headlines and get the information to professionals by industry and/or interest while keeping our brand messaging consistent.
Jim: How do you find a balance between creating your own social content and utilizing what attendees are saying? Any tips for the best content to re-tweet and repost?
Stephanie: We create most of our own content with the intention that our followers will share it with others. But we also closely monitor our social media channels for content that moves us or feels like something others would be interested in seeing or reading. The best content to retweet and repost is that content that elicits an emotion or reaction from the reader. Content that tells a story or includes a photo that tells a story is always great for sharing.
Prior to being name VP or PR Stephanie served as Associate Director overseeing the advocacy, ethics and diversity platforms for PRSA. Her career began in corporate finance then moved to the public sector after graduating from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She specialized in public policy, Election law, Campaign Finance law and ethics while serving the Governor, Attorney General and Secretaries of State. She was named a 2011 Top Political Influencer by Campaigns & Elections Magazine.