Promoting an event is never an easy task!
Lots of work goes into an event, and every little step has to be right if you want everything to go perfectly for the attendees of your event. There’s so much to do when it comes to event promotion – sometimes the last thing we think about is how to get people to show up and enjoy the very event that we’ve been working on!
When planning an event, effective marketing through social channels is the key to getting your event off the ground. It’s the perfect way to reach your target audience, generate an online buzz, and create hype around what you’re promoting.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat can help you advertise your event by spreading the word through online communities.
We know that event promotion can be a lot of fun, but it is also challenging to hit the right audience at the right time. Knowing how to utilise social media at live events is not an innate gift; it has to be learned, and that’s why we have created this comprehensive guide to social media promotion. This guide will be useful when promoting any event and can help you with everything you need to know to start harnessing the power of social channels.
By the time you finish this guide, you will be a lot closer to rocking your events like a digital marketing pro!
- Why Should You Focus on Social Media?
- How to Pick the Right Social Media to Successfully Promote Your Event
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Promoting Event on Social Media
- Define your objective
- Select your social platforms
- Optimise your profiles
- Create a detail content plan
- Define which content to use
- Craft new content
- Post on a regular basis
- List your event on Facebook
- Use Facebook advertising to promote the event
- Now pick up the hashtag(s)
- Use pictures from past events
- Make some promotional videos
- Design a Snapchat Geofilter
- Build a Twitter list
- Make some visual testimonials
- Organise free ticket contests
- Some special treatment for your ambassadors
- Branded graphics for artists/speakers
- Teasers and countdowns
- Behind the scene images
- Live stream the event
- Snapping and live tweeting
- Create Twitter moments
- Analyse activities
- Publish a recap
- Social Media Event Marketing Standouts
- Sherlocked: the official Sherlock convention
- Glastonbury festival
So, is social media really so efficacious? Should you devote your time to learning how to harness social media for your upcoming event? Consider this:
- The Wimbledon organization tweeted continuously throughout the two-week event, posting 2,634 tweets from June 24 to July 7.
- There was a peak of 127,000 Tweets per minute at the moment that Eric Dier’s penalty sent England to the #WorldCup quarterfinals.
- The 57th Annual Grammy Awards saw the most Twitter action of any special event (13.4 million tweets), beating out the Oscars and several other award shows.
Imagine if you could have even a fraction of those people tweeting or sharing your event!
For this reason, we have compiled this full-scale guide to gathering the most popular social media strategies which digital marketers depend on.
Choosing the right kind of social media to boost your events can make you triumphant.
The question is how?
Social channel is a necessity for event promotion, but if handled incorrectly can be a huge time suck with a poor return on investment. That’s why you have to be strategic with your event planning when utilising social media.
Potential audiences and guests are active in some form all over social media. But where exactly can you find them? Picking the right platform to reach them is one of the most critical elements determining the success of your social media event campaign.
We will help you to pick the social networks that best suit your brand and event, so you can reach the widest audience while staying targeted. There will be vital tips on:
- Defining and locating your attendees
- Making yourself more visually attractive through social media profile optimisation
- Determining the type of follower relationship that is most plausible on each platform
- Considering the type of content which is most suited to each network
Here comes the step-by-step guide!
What do you want to accomplish through your social media activity?
Is it recurring event loyalty? Selling a crazy amount of tickets? Building long-term relationships with professionals?
Deciding on what you want to achieve can dramatically affect the platform that you use and how you utilise it. Point one touches on what each channel could be used for, but you will need to think carefully about your specific purpose and motivation. You may want to carve out a different aim and approach for each social media network too, so take this into consideration.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your main goal for using different social media platforms?
- Can you expand your relationship with your current followers?
- Can you utilise the raw power of individual social platforms in the long-term?
2. Select Your Social Platforms in Accordance with Your Target Audience
Depending upon on your brand, industry and target audience, some social networks can be more effective than others. Typically, if you do some promotion on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn you will be well covered.
Here’s a quick overview:
Facebook: You can create event pages, engage followers and share event updates. You can also target your specific audience by using paid promotion.
Instagram: Brands usually get the most engagement on this image-based social platform.
Twitter: Share posts with a unique event hashtag to create buzz before and during the event.
LinkedIn: Great for industry networking and B2B, this professional social media channel is a clever choice for company news and event announcements.
Snapchat: Appeal to young attendees by making a presence on Snapchat.
Pinterest: A powerful social channel to create pins and strategy around promoting your event on Pinterest.
Take a look at this quick quiz to find out which social platforms you should exploit for event promotion.
3. Optimise Your Social Profiles
Updating your social media profiles sounds simple enough, but often social media accounts’ bios and descriptions are outdated.
For example, ever encounter an annual event that still features info and links to its previous iteration a year before? We all have. In addition to that, most social platforms’ description fields are not being used in the most optimal way to improve SEO, take advantage of new features, or promote other brand networks. Each social media platform has its opportunities for enhancement.
Quick Tips on Profile Optimisation:
- Make sure you are using the correct social media image sizes
- Make your profile images consistent across all platforms
- Untag yourself from irrelevant photos and inappropriate posts
- Ensure your handles have continuity across networks
- Add relevant keywords to your profile for SEO
- Fill in each field of your bio with engaging copy
- Link to your other social media profiles & make sure your links are working
- Ask a few friendly customers or clients for reviews or endorsements
- Showcase your best content with pinned posts
- Rotate the link in your Instagram bio
- Like related pages from your Facebook page
- Add media to your LinkedIn jobs
In short, focus on one platform at a time. Pick the platform which is most popular or relevant to your content and update all of the info, rewrite descriptions and make certain it is filled out. When you are finished, move onto the next.
Logout of each of your social media accounts to check what your profile looks like to others. Google only grabs the data available on your public profile. Google will not index anything which is not publicly available.
Consistency is a must. Make sure that you are consistent across all of your networks. Are you sharing the same logos, colours, branding, and style? If the answer is negative, get onto it. You need that instant brand recognition across all your media.
4. Create a Detail Content Plan
Content is the king for finding out which social platform will be most influential on your audience. Images, videos, live-streams, quotes, hashtags and infographics are all kinds of content that can be effective when trying to promote your event on social media.
Consider what you have to offer and select the platform that responds to it best. If its stunning images and ideas, share on Pinterest or Instagram, if you have videos, create a YouTube channel and share these links on your other social channels.
Why do you need to spend time creating or publishing content?
The following quote from Jolie Miller, who was interviewed by Cameron Conaway in April 2017 topic of CCO (P-39), reminds me:
“What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.”
Your content plan has to consist of the output of your process mapping exercise, competitor research, benchmarking and your framework for measurement and Return-On-Investment.
Types of Content that Results in More Engagement
Memes have an awesome ability to resonate with social media followers, but there are constraints to keep in mind because it’s all about context. If you have the full background of a meme and it represents your story, jump on it fast before it gets boring. You can visit knowyourmeme before using them.
Culture has become a way of communication in its own right, and the universal popularity of gifs as a content type supports this. Giphy.com is the world’s most extensive collection of gifs. Would you like to create your own branded gifs? Giphy Cam and EZgif can work well consecutively for mobile and desktop.
The biggest mistakes typically made by event organisers is deciding to add emojis in their communications, then overusing them with a lack of understanding. To use emojis correctly and ingeniously, you have to be sure that the person executing your communications understands the nuances between how they are traditionally used and what they officially mean. The other factor to be careful of is the oversaturation of some emojis. Ultimately, you have to be authentic – because it’s tough to keep maintaining inauthentic forms of communication.
Who wants to share a boring post or call to action with their followers? Everybody wants to share something funny. If you can humorously share your story, you will get more attention. Know the tagline for the voice of your event and the attendees you are going after, but don’t be reluctant to experiment a bit.
Infographics usually get shared more, viewed more and liked more than other content types. They are a tremendous way to get your information out there in a visual format. One study stated that infographics were liked and shared on social media up to 3 times more often than other types of content. Infographics are perfect for promoting almost any idea or concept. Data, statistics, research and findings work very well. Today, everyone is creating infographics, however, and you must make sure yours is of very high-quality to draw attention.
Quality content is content that is error-free and engaging. Having error-free content is a matter of having a strong command over the English language and making sure that your content gets reviewed by a qualified editor. Creating engaging content can level up your event promotion.
Some Exclusive Tips to Create More Engaging Content
- Diversify Your Content
- Use Subheadings
- Embrace Brevity
- Don’t Overlook Keywords
- Have a Voice
- Come Up with Interesting Titles
- Make it Shareable
- Write Stories
- Provide Facts and Links
- Have a Call to Action
5. Define Your Content Quickly
Figure out which content allows the most engagement on each of your social platforms. This is something you want to monitor closely. Which content can you efficiently produce that is going to set you apart?
Think about existing content:
- That you can repurpose in exclusive formats
- That you can share on new channels
- That could be curated and shared via social networks
- Which can motivate and be the basis for new content creation
6. Craft New Content Carefully
Interacting with your posts defines how many potential event-goers see your boost, so you have to make every post count.
For maximum engagement, you need to include images in your posts, and space out your ticket sale posts with more specific industry news or lifestyle content. Try to make the content conversational and not overly “salesy”.
Also, keep in mind you should:
- Incorporate images in your post
- Tailor content for each social network
7. Post Regularly to Build a Community
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 from connecting with you.
If you are interested in building a community for your annual event make sure that you have the continuity to post all year round too, don’t make the ultimate mistake and only pay attention to it around your upcoming event date to try to trigger sales.
8. List Your Event on Facebook
A Facebook event listing provides an easy way for audiences to share your upcoming event with their friends & followers.
To create a Facebook event page, follow these steps –
- Click Events in the left bar of your News Feed
- Click Create and fill the event name, location, time and details
Then you will be taken to the event page where you will be able to invite guests, share photos, make posts and modify event details.
9. Promote Your Event with Facebook Advertising
Consider utilising Facebook ads to expand promotional reach. Because of Facebook’s organic reach falling – 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 so you can better approach your ideal followers.
To craft an exclusive, engaging social media advertisement, make sure to include:
- An eye-catching video or image
- Short and catchy post text
- An even shorter headline – that’s still engaging
- A direct call to action (For example – “Buy Tickets”)
- A perfect link description (For example – “Click here to purchase tickets”)
10. Pick Up the Perfect Hashtags
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.
11. Boost Excitement with Pictures from Last Year
Share last year’s pictures or/and turn these photos into memes. 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 yes to show real examples of people who enjoyed the event.
To become an image pro:
- Use an app to create these images on your phone to save time
- Overlay testimonials and quotes from your event over photos taken there
- Post your funny shots and ask audiences to caption them
12. Make a Promotional Video
A video is the most engaging way to boost your event in mere moments. According to Forrester Research, a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words! Post 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 YouTube and Vimeo (even though it has a fewer number of users, Vimeo provides HD playback with no disruptive ads). Also, post the video to your Facebook, feature it on your page and tag the videos accordingly.
Embrace the power of video:
- Make a video that explains how to get the most from your event
- Upload a video series
- Give video help on a secondary topic like networking or navigating the host city
13. Design a Snapchat Geofilter
Don’t listen to the rumours: Snapchat is far from dead. Event organisers can no longer afford to ignore Snapchat because more than 150 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 new ticket-buyers.
To make a geofilter, you will be required 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.
Follow these step-by-step directions on how to create a Snapchat Geofilter for your event.
14. Build Twitter Lists of Speakers and Attendees
A List is a curated group of Twitter 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.
15. Make Visual Testimonials to Build Trust
Check the previous year’s comments, emails and surveys. Find flattering quotes and share them with an inspirational image. Using images of the host city as the backdrop for the visual quote is a clever touch; so is using images that match what the audience is referring to. Be creative and put out striking visuals to get attention.
Be a picture master:
- Discard stock photos and take your own. Play around with angles, focus and cropping to make cool backdrops for quotes
- Add a hashtag or watermark on every image quote
16. Organize Free Ticket Contests
People always love free things, and this will create a buzz for any occasion. By giving away some tickets to your event through social media contents on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can create pre-event hype. There are many ways to do this, but the most common is to invite people to share why they will attend and post on the relevant social channel with the event hashtag.
17. 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 organisers 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.
18. Create a Branded Graphic for Your Artists or Speakers
Use a free tool like Canva to produce branded images of the artists or speakers, including your event hashtag and logo. Inspire presenters to use them on their social media profiles.
19. 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 are also marvelous and 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.
Play with content like a boss:
- Use a post scheduler you like
- Schedule your countdowns and teasers as auto posts
- Go through and respond to the comments
20. 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 share an exclusive coupon code.
21. Live Streaming On Event Day
It’s ShowTime! Here’s what all that preparation pays off.
You don’t need to live stream your whole event to make a splash with live video. 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. Here are a few reasons why Livestream is effective:
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 misapprehension that live video is expensive, but thanks to Facebook Live, anyone can access the technology and see a positive ROI.
22. Get Snapping & Live Tweeting
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. Live-tweeters use the hashtag which is relevant to the event they are tweeting. Assign a person 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.
23. Create Twitter Moments
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.
You can check this step-by-step guide to create your first Twitter Moments.
24. Analyzing Twitter Activity
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.
Analyze 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.
25. 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, tweet links to session recordings, slides and blog posts. It’s very possible to keep the momentum you have created going, and by whetting people’s appetite, you might be able to entice even more folk to attend your next event.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn – these are all super for promotion, but not every organiser knows how to utilise them to their full potential.
Here are two fantastic examples of utilising social media to boost their event marketing.
Sherlocked: The Official Sherlock Convention
The organiser of Sherlocked (Massive Events), have done a wonderful job of keeping their attendees on tenterhooks by cautiously releasing updates about the event. They started the campaign before even having a specific date and venue, but told fans to keep the end of April free.
When they announced the date and venue, it made a huge impact, generating lots of shares on Facebook and nearly 1,000 shares on Twitter. Later they disclosed the details of their site and the guests who would be attending the event.
For further engagement, they recorded a teaser video of star guest Mark Gatiss, the writer and co-creator of Sherlock. In the short clip, Gatiss shared with fans that he was very excited to meet them at the convention.
The Glastonbury Festival is the biggest music festival in the UK, and the world’s biggest greenfield music and performing arts festival, with 175,000 visitors annually.
As tickets usually sell out within minutes, they don’t need to boost their event on social media. They keep their Twitter and Facebook strategies very simple but relatively effective, counting the number of likes and shares. The Vine accounts sharing snapshots of their event are super add-ons to their social strategy, which has not been seen so far in many other festivals.
They already have a Facebook Page for the Glastonbury Festival and an event page for every year’s festival. The Facebook Page typically focuses on sharing lineup updates, festival-related activities and keeping the hype throughout the year. The most engaging post is the lineup announcement, and they always attach a photo.
They also set up a Facebook Event every year, to entice people to join and discuss the festival.
The marketing team behind Glastonbury Festival is undoubtedly aware of the importance of Twitter to music festivals. They tweet from four separate accounts, covering various aspects of their festival. The original account @GlastoFest is dedicated to line-up announcements and pre-festival competitions.
Social media event marketing and promotion are all about engaging with your attendees. The more value you can give them, the more likely they will be inclined to share what you are offering with others.
Be smart with your event promotion, and you will find the tools of social media will offer you some amazing dividends!