With the omnipresent influence of social media and the ingrained fear of missing out on a great time rampant among millennials, it makes sense that it is no longer taboo to whip out a smartphone at an event.
Mobile phone selfies have replaced the ubiquitous disposable cameras that used to decorate the tables at weddings, leaving us all to wonder the proper etiquette for those running and attending an event, particularly when it comes to social event marketing.
So, rather than flounder in a state of confusion that even Miss Manners couldn’t solve, we’ve broken down the basic do’s and don’ts of social media at an event, whether you are throwing the party or just showing up for the fun.
Create a unique hashtag.
Whether you want to craft a pun or simply use the name of your event, you need to first verify that the hashtag in question has not been used previously. The reason that a photo is hashtagged is to ensure that the person throwing the event can find it easily rather than seeing it get mixed in with pictures from other parties.
You will need to search most of the major social media networks to ensure your tag is unique. There are also websites that can scan all platforms, such as Tagboard or HashAtIt, to alert you if the hashtag has been used previously and even explain what some hashtags mean.
When you do choose a tag, make sure to consider how long it is and how difficult it might to understand or type. You want to make sure that the tag does not take up a large portion of the caption and that your guests can understand what it means.
Have selfie-friendly decor.
Once you’ve chosen your unique tag, make sure to display it on signage around the event. This can range from a single display at an entrance, to small cards on each table alerting guests to the proper tag.
It is also a good idea to have an area that is clearly designed for pictures. Create a backdrop that guests can pose in front of, or hire a photo booth that posts directly to a person’s social media account to keep attendees interested and smiling.
Put the phone down.
While taking pictures and sending tweets can be a blast, there is an event going on around you. Ensure that you are enjoying yourself and participating in the party, not just showing it off to the digital world.
Put the hashtag on the invitation.
While you surely want your guests to know the hashtag, the formal invitation is not the place to display it. An invitation should contain only the vital information needed, such as the location and time.
However, you can place the hashtag on the event’s website. This will alert more socially mobile guests who may want to tweet in anticipation, while still preserving the class of the formal invite.
Post sensitive information during the event.
Some events are designed to be tweeted, instagrammed and Facebooked, such as brand launches or concerts. But there are others that require discretion, such as weddings or celebrity-studded events.
At a wedding, never post a picture of a bride before the ceremony without her express permission, particularly if she is wearing her wedding dress. Many brides still follow the superstition of it being bad luck for the groom to see her before walking down the aisle and your quick tweet could ruin that for her.
When it comes to a party with celebrities, use caution when taking or asking for pictures. Remember that while this person might be famous, he or she is at this event to have a fun time, just like you, and might not wish to be bothered. Many celebrity events are known to require guests to sign a non-disclosure agreement that will make your quick snapshot a legal liability. If not, use discretion.
Get in the way of the hired photographers.
This is particularly important at weddings. There has been many a ceremony photograph ruined because an uncle decided to stand up and take a picture of the first kiss.
During moments that will clearly be photographed, put your phone away. The best pictures you’ll get will be while enjoying the party anyway, so save your battery for moments when you’re hitting the dance floor or sampling the punch.
Of course, if you wish to have a professional flair to your social event marketing, try hiring an event planner. These experts will not only help you design a beautiful occasion that incorporates your social needs, but they are the experts on what is the latest and greatest ways to #party.