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Social Media Marketing for Events – Interview w/ The Social Lights CEO Martha McCarthy

Social Media Marketing for Events – Interview w/ The Social Lights CEO Martha McCarthy

If no one posts on social media about an event, does it actually happen?

In order to increase engagement and leave a lasting brand impression on attendees, social media should be a key component of your event marketing strategy.

We interviewed Martha McCarthy, co-founder and CEO of The Social Lights Social Media Agency, to find out how event coordinators are leveraging social media to generate buzz, multiply impressions, and market their event effectively.

What additional value does social media provide for events?

Being present on social during events provides so much additional value for clients. This value comes in the form of awareness, ticket sales/event registrants, website visits, social media impressions, Q+A responses, brand recall, brand sentiment, etc. When event organizers decide they’re “too busy” or simply forget to check in on social conversations, they lose out on several engagement opportunities—especially in the form of establishing connections with brand loyalists.

Having a plan in place and not loading too many responsibilities on one individual can help get you set up for social media success for your next event.

What are the steps or phases for running a social campaign around any event?

When it comes to events, we plan for three distinct phases: Before, During and After.

    • Before – Pre-promotion for event awareness
    • During – Live-tweeting, monitoring and response, attendee engagement, broadcasting the event on social so those not present can experience it (or see what they are missing out on)!
    • After – It amazes me how many people call it quits immediately after an event. We try to leverage the momentum and social experiences that took place during the event and showcase them online. This can come in a variety of forms and becomes extremely valuable for marketing future events. That way, there are multiple places you can point online to show “Look how much fun we had at XYZ event last year! Don’t miss out this time…”

How quickly should content be posted during the event?

As quickly as possible. When on the road, it’s important to plan to be as mobile as you can – since it’s easiest to publish content in real-time from your smartphone or tablet (vs. lugging a laptop around and experiencing spotty WiFi) you’ll want to have the right tools and processes in place to capture, edit, and post content in a timely manner.

In order to do so efficiently and effectively, we recommend implementing a “Divide and Conquer” method. For really big events we’ll put a social team in place vs. having one person in charge of managing all of the platforms. In this case, you’ll want to be clear about who’s monitoring the channels during which time slots. Even a small team can accomplish a lot when roles are divided and expectations clearly outlined!

You recently worked on the “Ford Food Truck Challenge,” a 6-week road tour campaign. How was social used throughout the tour?


Ford Food Truck Challenge social media
Social was an integral part of the Ford Food Truck Challenge Road Tour. First, we started with strategy—developing a social media toolkit to assist in communication with local car dealers, food truck competitors, and PR partners. The social media toolkit provided access to all social media-related campaign resources. From there we:

    • Developed a digital press kit to announce the campaign to regional media outlets
    • Established a social media strategy to connect to the customer base within each regional market and drive people to the event, yielding high event attendance and online voting at individual events
    • Sourced and trained a Community Manager to travel with the Ford Food Truck Team and handle on-site and online social media engagement on behalf of the auto manufacturer. The Community Manager acted as the eyes, ears and voice of the brand on social media, in addition to being an on-site resource for the division, dealers food truck competitors, and PR partners
    • Established a client portal tailored to the road tour campaign, and developed a process for managing real-time campaign material, updates and analytics over the 6-week campaign period

We outperformed objectives by 252%

What impact does Enplug’s Social Media Displays have on how events execute a perfect social media campaign?

Having digital signage set up at events makes our job so much easier. The interactivity and ability to showcase social content in real-time presents a very compelling reason for event attendees to share their experience on social. Since we always have a social support team set up during events (the size of the team scales with the size of the event) we have someone constantly monitoring and responding to social conversations. This strengthens the event experience for those in attendance, and helps broadcast the message far and wide, spreading to many more individuals that are not physically present—a major win for event organizers and sponsors!


Enplug digital signage software was co-founded by CEO Nanxi Liu and CTO Tina Denuit-Wojcik in 2012 to enable organizations to use customized real-time streaming content to create engaging external and internal communications.

About Enplug Digital Signage Software

Enplug digital signage makes it simple for businesses to create and share compelling visual content for their marketing and employee communications. Our software powers content on thousands of TVs worldwide with news feeds, social media walls, sports scores, employee leaderboards, graphics, and videos. Enplug was founded in 2012 in Los Angeles, California.