Live events were the ultimate social forum before social media came along, so it makes sense to use social media to promote your next live event. In fact, 88 percent of marketers now say they use it to promote their events, as it is an effective way to increase attendance, share details, and gather feedback from past and potential attendees.
If you want to use social media marketing for events, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Create event pages and hashtags
You might be hosting an event to help grow your business, but social media marketing for events is about the event itself, not your business. Because of this, you should create a Facebook event for the event. Facebook events encourage people to RSVP for your event and Facebook will remind them when the event is coming up. Be sure to include all relevant information for your event on this Facebook RSVP.
You can also create social media profiles just for the event, which is recommended on Twitter or Instagram. This will prevent you from losing followers on your main pages, which can happen if you post too frequently about events they are not interested in. Make sure that the profiles for the event are tied to your company in some way, so that people know it’s your event.
If, for instance, we were hosting a conference called Financial Planning Expo, we could use “WebFX 2018 Financial Planning Expo” as the name of our Facebook event, LinkedIn group, Twitter profile, and any other event-specific social account.
You should also create an event-specific hashtag consistent with the name of the event to use. If the name is too long for your hashtag, shorten it to something that’s easy to remember, like #WPFXFinancialExpo18. Encourage all attendees and people interested in following along with the event to use the hashtag as well.
Promote the event on your existing profiles
Once you create social media assets around the event, you want people to start engaging with them. There are lots of ways to drive traffic to these profiles, but you can get the ball rolling by directing them from your own pages on Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
Of course, like we mentioned above, you want to avoid annoying followers that have no interest in the event. Don’t give a lot of details in your posts, but focus on one important detail or benefit, such as a renowned speaker or an upcoming deadline.
Start promoting the event a few months prior to build up buzz. Remember to hype the event on your social profiles at least once every two weeks, if not more, depending on the frequency of your social media posting.
Post content from past events
Consumers are more skeptical of marketing promotions than they used to be. They want to know as much as possible about a product or service before purchasing it, and even more about events before attending them. Use videos, photos, and other content to provide a fuller picture of what people can expect when they attend your event.
You can collect photos from your employees and past attendees, and compile it all together for a comprehensive look at your events. Create photo slideshows or edit a video of highlights. Include blurbs from happy attendees or link to blogs if anyone wrote about their time at the event. This step will be easier for the next event, because you won’t have to gather all of these assets. Instead, they’ll be right there on the pages you created to promote the event.
Offer special incentives
Many businesses reward loyalty with discounts and other incentives for social media followers. Offer these incentives to potential attendees following you on social media. Offer an early bird discount for anyone who registers for the event or buys tickets before a certain date, or enter them into a drawing for cash and prizes.
Teasing your swag bags or sharing other free stuff at the event is another way to draw people in.
This motivates attendees to enroll if they’re still on the fence, and can often result in larger numbers of initial signups. When attendees enroll early, you get a better sense of how many people will ultimately attend the event.
Include calls to action
Social media marketing for events is designed to provide information about the event in question. Once followers know what to expect, what do you want them to do? Include a call to action every time you post about your upcoming event.
There may be several things you want attendees to do in the course of your marketing plan, so match the call to the message. In the beginning, people might sign up or they may want to join your mailing list for future updates. As the event gets closer, these CTAs should focus on things like registering for breakout sessions, booking travel and accommodations at special rates. Whatever you want them to do, include it in every post and tweet.
Encourage feedback from attendees
One of the reasons people spend so much time on social media is to get unfiltered feedback from other consumers. Of course, that means that they also use it to provide their own opinions. Take advantage of both of these behaviors and encourage past attendees to share their experiences with their followers.
Invite attendees to share their experiences by posting to your event page or tweeting with your hashtag, and include an evaluation form in each attendee packet so they can offer suggestions for the next event. In order to encourage participation, you may want to offer an incentive like entry into a raffle after completing the evaluation or posting feedback.
Social media is a place where people come together and share ideas, so it’s the perfect channel for promoting events where people come together and share ideas. If you need help using social media to promote your next event (or any aspect of your company’s marketing strategy), free to contact us! Our dedicated team of Internet marketers is more than happy to help you with all aspects of your digital presence.