You need a solid plan when promoting your event on social media. Whether you’re hosting private client parties, festivals, or large online marketing events, you must work intelligently through each stage of the process.
Here’s one common problem with the social media aspect of event promotion: planners often invest too much time on what happens prior to the event. They forget about important tasks that should get done while the event is in progress and also after the event comes to a close.
Social media event marketing isn’t over the moment guests arrive. If you invest time and money ensuring that the proper connection occurs between you and your followers before, during, and after the event, then you’ll experience success.
Below, you’ll discover how to promote your event on social media from start to finish.
You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed about navigating event setup and promotion. Over half of all event marketers say it’s challenging to pull off social media events successfully.
The reality is that you can run events well no matter your current skill level. It requires following a proven path that we’ll outline for you. Let’s start with everything you need to do before your next social media event.
Ask yourself how your social media strategy can most effectively help achieve the event’s overall objective. Here are the areas to consider:
Marketing: Make sure your marketing methods focus on connecting prospects with each stage of your overall buying cycle. Work to position the event’s brand into the minds of attendees.
Customer service: Develop plans to handle issues such as:
Research: Your team should use social media to research performers, event content, potential speakers, and attendee profiles. Find out everything people say about the event before, during, and after the event.
Sales: Keep your audience open to sales promotions by respecting the culture and ethics of each social platform.
Event engagement: Use social media to foster engagement during your social media events via:
Event feedback: Your audience already speaks up on social media. Tap into what’s being said during and after the event on social and also use surveys so that you can step in to fix problems or learn what worked well.
It’s difficult to reach your audience if you don’t know who they are and which social media platforms they like best. Use the following information to narrow down social channels to focus on.
Facebook is one of the most wide-reaching channels with some of the best user data available. You’ll most likely show up in customer newsfeeds once you gain their loyalty.
Use Instagram to post event images and use its hashtag feature to gain traction.
LinkedIn works well in the B2B market for discovering partnerships, sponsors, and informing industry influencers about the event.
Use Twitter for:
When compared to platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, it’s easier to interact on Twitter as you build relationships with possible attendees.
Pinterest works well to grab attention via striking images.
Brainstorm a branded event hashtag so that you and attendees can easily discover event-related content across all social media platforms.
Avoid using a hashtag that’s been used before or sounds too much like one that’s already popular by using a hashtag generator tool. This prevents confusion when your content gets buried inside other irrelevant content.
Keep the hashtag phrase short. Think about whether someone can spell it properly if they hear it out loud. Then use your social media event hashtag everywhere, such as printed materials, marketing pieces, and across your social media channels.
Don’t forget to use the event hashtag on your blog inside your social media event marketing plan. Getting a blog post to go viral, as explained here, can help supercharge social posts that do the same.
Research and reach out to influencers who already connect well with your target audience. Whether they’re micro or macro influencers, it helps regardless.
Make a list of at least 25 potential influencers who can help promote the event. Start with the smaller influencers that you can reach more easily. Explain the following when reaching out:
Refer to their recent posts in order to create common ground. It really helps to send over a genuine pitch rather than an obviously templated one.
Here’s what marketing expert and influencer Ryan Robinson has to say about this:
“I’ve always had the most success with crafting influencer outreach emails that are very genuine, authentic and straight forward about how we both stand to benefit from the proposition I’m making. There’s a fine line to walk between coming off as overly transactional in an outreach email, so be sure you make it clear to the recipient that you’ve actually been to their website, read their content and can make a quick statement that shows you genuinely care about the potential for a real relationship here.”
So start out by crafting heavily targeted and unique pitches to get a few smaller influencers onboard and use their names as you start reaching out to recruit larger leaders.
Aside from social media influencers with tons of relevant and niche followers, targeting a popular podcaster’s channel or YouTuber and having them put out a quick episode promoting your event could work just as well.
Keep in mind, the age of the influencer doesn’t matter as long as their audience is your target audience.
While it may be off-putting to larger brands to work with these smaller (and younger) influencers, the ROI can be significant if a good marketing campaign hits the right audience.
Take time to look at your social accounts from the perspective of visitors. Do images or information need updating in order to match the event’s tone, logo, and colors with your event signup or site landing page?
If you’re using an ad maker to create banners or something of that sort, make sure those themes align with your website theme as well. You’ll probably need to go channel-by-channel and make those changes prior to posting about the event.
While you’ll set a goal for selling a certain number of event tickets, the last thing you want to do is promote too much or too fast. Keep to a steady posting schedule instead of barraging your audience with too many messages out of the gate.
Followers will tune you out if you’re too aggressive and overhype your event. Start early, take it slow, and steadily grow event promotion.
One way to start slow and steady is using teaser posts to get your audience into anticipation mode.
Think about the way movie franchises promote. Rather than telling their fans about a specific date, they release teaser promos to generate excitement first. Then, they eventually reveal the release date.
You can promote the same way by showing a short video revealing your influencers speaking on a live or webinar conference from a previous year. Or, you might post an exciting image from last year’s event.
The first step to selling event tickets is making it simple to buy. Payment apps like PayPal are safe and they allow you to automatically send info to your Gmail, making it easy for you to track the transactions.
Keep the journey toward purchasing as easy as possible once your audience discovers the event via your social marketing efforts. Keep the clicking, swiping, and navigating to a minimum.
Remember that almost 80% of all smartphone users feel comfortable buying from their mobile devices. Make sure that these people can easily purchase event tickets in this manner.
Use scarcity tactics, such as early-bird pricing or VIP tickets, to improve sales and make more money. Give influencers and event speakers an incentive to sell tickets for you by providing them promo codes or affiliate links. Including this inside your social media event marketing should make a dramatic impact on how well tickets sell.
Now, let’s transition into how to promote your event on social media after it begins.
Give your hashtag high visibility to event attendees and encourage them to share it across their own social media channels. This works to build a swell of community around the experience.
If you’re running a live event, then brainstorm opportunities for taking photos with the hashtag in the background. Remind your attendees to post their photos while using the hashtag. You can also use post-speaker time to get their thoughts and post them along with the hashtag.
A social wall provides an opportunity to generate real-time visibility. Use by combing your hashtag with:
It’s a good idea to delegate a team-member to manage the social wall’s stream throughout the event. This allows for post approval and managing any negativity.
Now, let’s talk about some ideas for maximizing event results following its conclusion.
Look through your social media channels for excited and positive people who have created content that can turn into testimonials about the event.
Repost that content on your newsfeeds. Tag the attendees who made the original posts and thank them for it. This process allows you to connect personally with each of these people and also reveals third-party verification about how well you serve your audience.
When you consider that people are more likely to be influenced by family or friends, as opposed to marketers , it makes sense to gather as many testimonials as possible, and don’t forget to re-use your testimonials the next time you run the event.
Get proactive and elicit additional testimonials from attendees. Provide all attendees with a survey that asks them how they enjoyed the event and how it specifically helped them.
Use an open-ended question to complete the survey where attendees can expand their thoughts and provide feedback that turns into your next testimonial.
You can also create strategic posts on your social channels that invite feedback for testimonials. For example, ask a question such as, “Our favorite part from (speaker’s name) talk was when she taught us how to (add in the relevant content). What did you like best about her talk?”
Break up your social media event into exciting clips and post them across your social channels. This footage drives more engagement, and you can gather footage from several different sources, including:
If you are thin on footage or don’t have a full production crew behind your back, you can even use dedicated video marketing platforms to plug your existing content into proven templates or use their stock assets (videos, images) to enhance your videos.
Post content that makes it easy for others to share. For example, use short video content to engage your audience. After all, YouTube is becoming an increasingly popular social media platform, in some ways having more influence than the likes of Facebook.
The same experts even go as far as saying that video content is a “must have” and leads to more customers wanting to do business with you.
Put out social content about your event that promotes the following:
Polls aren’t necessarily scientific, but people find them fun and valuable. Your audience loves providing their opinion to others. Make it easy by asking them directly via a poll.
A poll helps you figure out the ideas and topics that are the most important to your specific audience following the event. Make sure to get your poll released on social media right away so that you capture event excitement and positive feelings before they dissipate.
Instagram lets you use “yes and no” polls from within the Stories area. Twitter and Facebook make it easy to run polls as well.
Ask yourself how to get help from influencers, VIPs, and speakers with post-event promotion. Tag these people when posting images and other content and encourage them to share it across their social platforms.
This practice expands your reach exponentially in order to introduce people who missed the pre-event promotion. Think about content that makes it irresistible for speakers, VIPs and influencers to share and can help you generate more online sales.
Use speaker quotes, event pictures, speaker/influencer praise, event highlights, and snippets to encourage their participation in the post-event promotion. You’ll discover that some of their own super fans will pick up on this content and share it across their social platforms, further driving your event’s overall reach.
Always evaluate how well your event performed so that you know whether you need to improve in any area. Ask these questions:
Use your analytics and data to understand whether your team was effective with plan execution and performance goals. Use all insight gained by this reflective look at the event to decide how to promote your event on social media more effectively the next time.
You now know how to run a successful social media event marketing campaign, and can use these strategies to grow your exposure and add additional sources of income to your business.
The key to making your next social media event the talk of your industry is to start at the beginning. Don’t worry about everything all at once. Use your social media events calendar to plan out the campaign, trust in your instincts, and get started.
Ricky Wang is a teen entrepreneur and founder of RickyWang.com. He provides digital guides and the best deals on business software to help aspiring entrepreneurs start a blog and successful online business. He also recently founded AppSurp, a great place to go for exclusive deals on the best growth hacking software and apps. You can connect with Ricky on Twitter and LinkedIn.