Promoting events is not an easy task!
A lot happens during an event, and every little step has to be well-planned if you want your event to become a huge success. And in this age of social networking, you need to be very strategic to promote your event to the right audience.
When promoting an event, effective use of social media is the key to getting your event off the ground. This is an excellent way to reach your potential attendees, generate an online buzz, and create hype about your upcoming event.
So, if you want to gain the maximum coverage of your event, follow our step-by-step guide and you’ll be surprised to see that the whole process is less exhausting and more enjoyable than you might’ve thought.
First, we need to clarify that to keep things simple, we’ve organized the whole content into four major parts –
- Pre-Event Gameplan (Step: 1-9)
- Last-Minute Preparations (Step-10)
- Ongoing Event Promotional Ideas (Step-11)
- Post-Event Promotional Activities (Step-12)
- Bonus! (Complete list of SMM tools)
Let’s explore the 12 effective steps to successfully promote your next event on social media and boost your ticket sales.
Step-1: Define Your Objective
Do you want to sell a crazy amount of tickets? Are you aiming to build a long-term relationship with your sponsors and invited guests? Is it the ‘attendee loyalty’ you’re looking for your recurring events?
Deciding on what you want to achieve from your event can make things easier for you, choosing the right social platforms, and how you get the best out of it. You need to think carefully about your primary objectives, and may want to carve out separate approaches and strategies for each social network accordingly. So, first and foremost, be very serious about it.
Here are some sample questions that might help you to set your objectives:
- What do you want to gain by promoting your event on social media?
- Can you expand your relationship with your current followers and increase sales leads?
- Can you utilise the raw power of individual social platforms in the long term?
- Do you have a strategic budget scale devoted to social media promotions and to increase the ROI?
- Do you have the necessary resources to supervise relevant analytics and social media marketing tools?
Last but not least, make sure your goal-setting framework for your event promotion is relevant, time-bound, and fully trackable.
Step-2: Choose a Conversion-Friendly Online Event Management Platform
Your primary objective of using social media for event promotion should be directing people to book tickets from your event page at every opportunity.
A highly effective and conversion-friendly online event ticketing system could play a vital role to maximise the number of ticket sales. The key features of a perfect event ticketing software would be:
- Smooth and easy ticketing, without any hassle
- Full customisation for your event page (which you’re going to promote)
- Cheaper service fee than others in the market
Sharing such a custom-branded event page on social media would help your event stand out from the crowd, and may entice the potential attendees to book instantly from that page.
Step-3: Select Your Social Platforms in Accordance with Your Target Audience
By choosing the right social platform to promote your custom event page, you have the scope to reach a huge number of target audiences coming from different places.
A few tips for you –
- Conversion funnel works a bit like this – attention > prospects > leads > conversions. So your social promotion has to be “a penny for their thoughts” for this immediate attention.
- Here’s how the social media funnel usually works: social channel > a blog post or webpage > internal link to a targeting landing page (e.g- signup form) > attendee sign up
- Let the event branding and the website branding go hand in hand
- Have thorough research on your potential attendees before choosing the right social platforms for your upcoming event.
Depending on your brand, industry, and target audience, some social platforms can be more effective than others. With a great conversion-focused event management tool in place, the next step should be making all the promotions aimed to take leads to your custom event page, and eventual booking to the event. In short, if you creatively use social media in your event marketing, you should be well covered.
Read later: How to creatively use social media for event marketing
So, what is the speciality of the top social media platforms?
- Facebook: You can create separate event pages (for Facebook only), engage followers, and share event updates. If your promoted posts have a direct link to your event page, with a catchy image/short video, it will surely generate more clicks.
- Instagram: Brands usually get the most engagement on this image-based social platform. You can add stories of your event from where viewers can swipe up and directly go to your event page.
- Twitter: Share posts with a unique event hashtag to create buzz before and during the event. With a short and intriguing caption, you can add the URL linking to your event booking page.
- YouTube: With over 3 billion searches per month, YouTube could be the second most powerful platform to promote your events. You can make pre-event promotional videos with the appearance of your event venue, attendees, and guests. You can also boost the audience engagement through YouTube live streaming, during the event.
- LinkedIn: Great for industry networking and B2B promotions. This channel is a clever choice to broadcast event news and announcements (along with Twitter, of course). LinkedIn opens up a door for networking with hundreds of potential attendees, sponsors, patrons, and guests as an essential medium for lead generation.
- Snapchat: With over 300 million monthly active users and 188 million daily users, Snapchat has a great appeal to young attendees. Making an interactive presence on Snapchat may give your event promotion a ginormous boost!
- Pinterest: A powerful social channel to easily post your Pinterest feed on other social channels and websites and to easily drive traffic and 3 times more leads over Twitter!
Step-4: Optimise Your Social Profiles
Each social media platform offers an abundance of possibilities when it comes to event promotion. So, you need to decide which platform is the most resonant with your target audience, make your event promotion strategies, and if necessary the event itself.
For instance, if your event is about a large-scale conference, tradeshow or audit- LinkedIn should be your main area of interest, when it comes to your event promotion.
Some useful tips to optimise social media profiles:
- Make sure you are using the correct social media image sizes
- Make your profile images consistent across all platforms
- Un-tag yourself from irrelevant photos and inappropriate posts
- Ensure your social media handles have continuity across networks
- Link to your other social media profiles & make sure your links are not broken
- Ask a few friendly customers or clients for reviews or endorsements
- Showcase your best content with pinned posts
- Focus on one relevant platform at a time
- Put extra attention to the “about us” sections of your social profiles
- Like related pages/accounts to say “hi”
- Keep your social media profiles updated and available for everyone. Note that google only grabs the data available on your public profiles.
Remember, consistency is the key.
Make sure that you are consistent across all of your networks. Are you using the same logo, colours, slogan, and theme? If the answer is negative, get onto it. You need that instant brand recognition across all your channels.
Step-5: Create a Detailed Content Plan
All of your event promotional ideas bracketed in your head are contents.
Image, video, live streams, quote, hashtags, and infographics are different kinds of content that can be crucial when promoting your event on social media.
You should always aim for quality content for your event promotion. Quality content is content that is error-free and highly engaging to the target audience. Having error-free content means having a strong command of the language and making sure that your content gets reviewed after you’re done preparing. Creating engaging content can hugely level up your event promotion.
Some exclusive tips to create more engaging content:
- Come up with interesting titles
- Diversify your content
- Use subheadings
- Make it shareable
- Increase event brand awareness through the content
- Keep a consistent tone of your content to make a brand value
- Be creative with crafting new contents
- Try to go viral
- Embrace brevity
- Don’t overlook keywords
- Research all the social platforms for your niche-related keywords
- Provide facts and links
- Focus on content curation to understand the likeable content topic of the audience
Note that, an exclusive piece of content, link an article in your blog, should not be posted fully on social media profiles. Publish the gist of your content and put the link of that blog post below. This will help you to build a diverse backlink profile for your event page/blog as well. And last but not least, depending on your social platform and target audience, modify your content before publishing.
A quick video on how to create a content strategy for social media –
Step-6: Post Regularly to Build a Community
Now that you have set up a roadmap leading to the potential success of your event, you have to concrete a healthy interaction with your potential attendees.
Make sure you post regularly and have a proactive account. If your channel shows irregular activity, it sends out the wrong message and discourages people to stay connected with you.
If you are interested in building a community for your annual event, make sure that you’re posting on your major social platforms all year round. Try not to make the ultimate mistake by paying attention only to the upcoming event and to trigger sales just before it.
There are many social media management tools our there for you to manage your content, starting from curating and scheduling contents, measuring social ROI, providing customer relationship management (CRM) and so on! Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Crowdfire – these are some great example of social media management tools which you can get started with.
Step-7: Spice it up with Online Polling
Believe me, validating your potential event attendees’ opinions is not just a great way to generate organic leads to your events, but also a clever way to put many ideas and perspectives into your upcoming event resulting in more success rate! And to outreach the broader audiences, online polling is undoubtedly the best feature of mainstream social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Maybe you can ask questions about the event theme or an exciting feature to add in the upcoming theme with a few options. You can easily create the poll from Facebook newsfeed/timeline, Tweet compose-box, or Snapchat-Instagram stories.
Step-8: A Dive-in to the Direct Social Media Promotion
Idea-1: Promote your event with Facebook Advertising (FACEBOOK)
Consider utilising the full power of Facebook Ads to expand your promotional reach. Because of the decline of Facebook’s organic reach – the majority of your Facebook followers cannot see your content unless you pay for them to see it. Ads will allow you to target a specific demographic of users so that you can better approach your potential attendees.
To craft an exclusive, engaging social media advertisement, make sure to include:
- A visually appealing image or a quick video
- Short and engaging post text
- An even shorter headline – should be eye-catchy
- A direct Call-to-Action (For example – “Buy Tickets Now”)
- A perfect link description (For example – “Click here to purchase tickets”)
You can also advertise your event on other social mediums like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube if this is a better demographic fit for you.
Idea-2: Pick up the perfect hashtags (TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, LINKEDIN)
Hashtags are nothing new, but having a congruous hashtag strategy for your event is crucial on so many levels. Before you finalize your event hashtags, you need one that is –
Start your preparations as early as possible to hit the buzz before your event kicks off.
Idea-3: Design a Snapchat Geofilter (SNAPCHAT)
Don’t listen to the rumours, Snapchat is far from dead. Event organizers can no longer afford to ignore Snapchat because more than 180 million people using this platform every day.
The simplest way to use Snapchat for events is to make a Geofilter for your attendees. By investing only an hour of time, you can connect attendees and spread the word to potential ticket-buyers.
To create a Geofilter, you need to submit an illustration to Snapchat for review. For any videos or photos taken on Snapchat at your event’s location, audiences can layer your filter over the image.
Here’s a quick video on how to create Snapchat Geofilter for free –
Idea-4: Make a promotional video (YOUTUBE / VIMEO)
Video is the most engaging way to boost your event in mere moments.
According to Cisco, up to 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be through online videos by 2022!
Create and post promotional videos to stimulate interest, highlight the value of attending, offer a sneak peek of what audiences can expect, and recap on a previous event.
Post your videos on both YouTube and Vimeo. Also, post the video on your Facebook, feature it on your page and tag the videos accordingly.
Idea-5: Cross-promote for social channels
When it comes to social media promotion, the responses from all the social channels vary big time. The best way to showcase your engaging social presence on another channel is to remind your followers about your other platforms.
It can be a link to that social media page with a CTA (Call-to-Action), asking people to follow it for more contents about your event that they might be interested in. Be creative with the wording on your button-text, which can multiply the Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
- Collaborate with a brand which is not directly in competition with you
- Use third-party Facebook tools to add all of your social tabs on your Facebook page
- Embed your social media links on the alternative social channels
- Encourage your guests or speakers to write blogs for your website relevant to your event and promote those blogs on all social channels
- Integrate email marketing with social media
Read more: How to create a CTA button that converts
Idea-6: Build lists of speakers and attendees online
‘Twitter List’ is a curated group of different social media accounts. You can create lists privately or publically and invite people to subscribe. It’s a magnificent tool for audiences to see who will be there and communicate with each other in advance of the event.
Step-9: Event Promotional Ideas Targeting Your Guests
Idea-1: Create a branded graphic for your artists or speakers
You can use free tools like Canva to produce branded images of the artists or speakers, including your event hashtag and logo. Inspire presenters to share them from their social media profiles.
Idea-2: Give your ambassadors special treatment
Give your ambassadors, and past audience members discount codes that they can share and track the code so that you can check how far the referrals are reaching. Some organizers and event promoters offer a referral contest to enhance word-of-mouth marketing. Not only does this appeal to the people receiving the discounts, but also the referrers feel special since they can offer a super opportunity to their tribe.
Idea-1: Boost excitement with pictures from the last year
Share last year’s exciting pictures that exclusively define your event. It could be the venue decorations and audience interactions, but anything that stands out on people’s feed. If you are posting pictures of people and not just a location or food, make sure they are all flattering so as not to upset anyone. You may also ask to use photos from audiences themselves, tagging them once they respond to show real examples of people who enjoyed the event.
- Use free photo editing software or apps to edit and create collages, montages etc.
- Overlay testimonials and quotes from your event over photos taken there
- Post your funny captures of the event and ask audiences to caption them
Idea-2: Create infographics about your event
What would be the most effective way to share your event information and ideas?
When everything moves very fast-paced in social networks, infographics are a genius way to congregate all the necessary info into one easily-digestible image content. For the very last minute event promotion – bite-sized, attractive information tailored into one graphic content and shared in different social media channels are outwardly essential these days.
Idea-3: Organise free ticket contests
People always love free things, and this creates a buzz for any occasion.
By giving away some tickets through social media channels, you can create a highly desired pre-event hype. One of the most common ways is to invite people to share why they will attend your event, and post that on the relevant social channels using the specific hashtag for the event.
Idea-4: Build anticipation with teasers and countdowns
Tease new tidbits of fascinating information about the event in advance to get audiences excited, but make sure it’s going to pique interest. From line-ups to influencers that may be attending along with celebrity guests and or entertainment that you want to be a hit, it all makes a buzz and gets people talking.
Countdowns can keep your audience coming back to your channels on a regular basis closer to your event, which will keep it in the front of their mind.
Idea-1: Pique interest with behind the scenes images
Give people a behind-the-scenes look to see the preparations before the event by posting images on Snapchat and Instagram. Be creative with Snapchat by adding text, emojis, and drawings on the image to share fun facts about the event, or you may share an exclusive coupon code.
Idea-2: Live streaming on the event day
It’s Showtime! Here’s where all these preparations pay off.
Use short, live clips from your event such as a behind the scenes peek or interviews with performers to connect with the viewers. A little effort can undoubtedly pay off down the road. Facebook and Instagram are a more popular choice for going live to attract larger viewers these days.
Here are a few reasons why Livestream is important –
- Live video is terrifically engaging – according to Facebook Live, users pass more than 3x more time and comment 10x more when a video is live.
- Live video increases attendance – Normally 30% of people who watch a live video of an event will come to the same event the following year.
- Live video is cost-effective – It’s a common misconception that live video is expensive, but thanks to Facebook Live, anyone can access the technology and see a positive ROI.
Idea-3: Promote your event via webinars
Can you think of any better way to keep the event hype online, while the event is happening offline – than webinars?
Webinars on social media is a witty way to bring up the event discussion online in real-time. You can start setting up your audiences, previews, topics, and speakers before the event launches, but during the event, webinars can help you create an engaging interaction between event presenters and attendees. On top of that, you can intrigue new visitors as well since it’s possible for an unlimited number of audience to attend all at once!
Idea-4: Get snapping & live Tweeting – create Twitter moments
Ask event attendees to send out snaps at the event using your custom Geofilter.
Live-tweeting is a process of engaging your Twitter followers by sending updates about an event as it happens. Assign someone from your team to tweet live from the event, retweet tweets from audiences (both on and off-line), and reply to questions that come via Twitter.
Twitter Moments – a tab on mobile and desktop that shows the top stories trending right now – helps you to curate a series or gallery of tweets around a particular theme, such as developing a cultural meme or news story.
Idea-5: Generate more engagements with shareable event contents
Constant exposure to your event on social media, during the event itself, is significant to generate the buzz everywhere.
Shareable videos, newsletters, graphics, regular updates, blurbs via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SlideShare, etc. are great ways to capitalise on the excitement!
Idea-6: Generate audience engagement with gamification tools
To complement the event experience to your audience; the demand for event gamification is simply unavoidable. An array of riddle-like activities, challenging enough to give off a sense of achievement- no matter what your event is about, gamification is a potent tool to keep your attendees enthusiastic and engaged throughout the way.
To make a direct connection with your event purpose, select the right KPIs and goal. During the gamification, continually track the audience experience. Make sure you have a range of gaming options available as alternatives for people of ages and gender to participate in.
Idea-1: Analyse social media activities
So your event is over! That doesn’t mean your use of social media at an end.
Now is the time to consolidate your efforts and build on your success.
Analyse tweets tagged with your account and hashtag for feedback on which artist or speakers and topics resonated with the attendees, how audiences rated the event environment, sound, lighting, layout, hospitality, parking, and any other information which will assist you to make your next event even better.
Idea-2: Share the attendees’ mementoes on social media
A bunch of happy attendees cheering and posing for photos is an emblem of your successful event!
Collect the images and video clips of your event taken by your attendees and post them on different social media by acknowledging their identities and tagging them! Sharing is not just caring, it’s a great way of leaving great impressions to the audiences who’ll more likely to become the attendees of your next event.
Idea-3: Send personalised thank-you notes to your attendees
Simple appreciation texts or emails to your attendees with a bit of personal touch is a great way to complement your attendee experience and strengthen your presence in the event community as an event organiser. The personalised thank you emails can also include a warm welcome to your next event with embedded survey questions and feedback.
Idea-4: Create visual testimonials
Do you have great responses to your event attendees recorded somewhere? Maybe an interview, a survey answer, or a captured statement of the guests in your events? If you do, you don’t have to dig in for more treasures!
A slideshow of the clips or graphic images of the interviews, quotes, and comments can turn into great visual testimonials for your event. An interesting and exciting compilation of visual testimonials might help the audience build trust and interest more than ever.
Idea-5: Add a post-event offer exclusively for the attendees
With the previously collected data or your attendees, you can have a new revenue stream for your upcoming event, before you even start promoting it publicly! You can offer a percentage of discounts or exclusive coupons on every ticket purchase. It’s like early bird ticketing as a form of upheaving your attendee loyalty.
Idea-6: Publish a recap
Publish event highlights, images, videos, and blogs of key moments from your event. Prepare presentation slides, upload to SlideShare, and tweet a link to the slides with the event hashtag.
Finally, don’t stop interacting with your online followers. Respond to post-event feedback, give thanks to audiences, and tweet links to session recordings, slides, and blog posts.
Promoting your event on social media is all about engaging with your future attendees. The more value you can give them, the more likely they will be inclined to share what you are offering them.
Be smart with your event promotion, and you will find the awesome power of social media will offer you some amazing dividends!
Here’s the full list of most effective social media marketing tools to successfully promote your brand, business, or organisation. We’ve discussed the effectiveness of some of these tools in our guide. Hope this will help you to gain the most out of your social media promotional strategies.
Content Ideas –
- Flipboard (free)
- Medium (free)
- Quora (free)
- Listly (free)
- Scoop.it (freemium)
- Quuu (freemium)
- Content Gems (freemium)
- Buzzsumo (paid)
- Curated (paid)
- Social Animal (paid)
Visual Content Creation Tools –
- Visme (free)
- Infogram (freemium)
- Adobe Spark (freemium)
- Easel.ly (paid)
- Venngage (paid)
- Piktochart (paid)
- Soapbox (free)
- Adobe Spark (free)
- Lumen5 (freemium)
- Animaker (freemium)
- Moovly (freemium)
- Biteable (freemium)
- Renderforest (freemium)
- Animoto (paid)
- VSDC Free Video Editor (free)
- OpenShot (free)
- VideoPad (free)
- Cyberlink PowerDirector (freemium)
- WeVideo (freemium)
- Adobe Premiere Rush (paid)
- Adobe Premiere Elements 2019 (paid)
Social Media Marketing Tools –
Social Media Advertising
- Quuu Promote (freemium)
- Photoslurp (paid)
- Facebook Ads Manager (paid)
- Adespresso (paid)
- Post Planner (paid)
- MeetEdger (paid)
- Twitter Ads (paid)
- Tweepi (paid)
- Twtdominator (paid)
- LinkedIn Marketing Solution (paid)
- LinkedIn Elevate (paid)
- Foursixty (paid)
- Later (paid)
- Tailwind (paid)
- Pinterest Ads Manager (paid)
- Snapchat Business (paid)
Social Media Monitoring / Listening
- Google Analytics (free)
- Facebook Insights (freemium)
- Tweetdeck (freemium)
- Iconosquare (paid)
- Brandwatch (paid)
- Awario (paid)
- Mention (paid)
- Keyhole (paid)
- Synthesio (paid)
- Digimind (paid)
Social Media Lead Generation
- Hubspot Marketing (freemium)
- Sendible (paid)
- Mailchimp (freemium)
- Mailerlite (freemium)
- Sendpulse (freemium)
- Zoho Campaigns (paid)
- Mailshake (paid)
- Intercom (paid)
- Survey Anyplace (freemium)
- Opinionstage (freemium)
Social Media Management
- Hootsuite (freemium)
- Crowdfire (freemium)
- Social Oomph (freemium)
- Everypost (freemium)
- Sprout Social (free trial)
- Buffer (paid)
- Zoho Social (paid)
- Mav Social (paid)
(Bonus!) The Complete List of Social Media Marketing Tools