If you’ve ever been involved in planning a business conference, community event or workshop, you know the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) that go into ensuring that every detail is perfect for your guests and every “t” is dotted on the contracts. Just as it takes months of effort to coordinate planning your event, it takes the same attention to planning detail and time to create a thorough and well-thought out promotion plan to draw attendees. Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past few years, your promotion plan should include a multi-channel approach, including utilizing your social media channels. You’d be a fool not to, based on some recent statistics compiled by the Pew Research Center:
- 71% of online adults use Facebook
- 23% of online adults use Twitter
- 26% use Instagram
- 28% use Pinterest
- 28% use LinkedIn
We’ve seen some fantastic events promoted through social media—with incredibly positive results. The million dollar question is, though, how can your company achieve those same results at your next event? How can you use social media to make the attendance and energy at your next event over the top?
Use the #1 rule of marketing
Take ‘know your audience’ to heart. When you started your social media pages, you should have done research to determine where your target audience is (i.e. Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) Now is the time to use that information to your advantage; create a promotional schedule that uses multiple social media channels to reach your target audiences on the channel they’re using. Remember that you can’t post a million things and then leave your audience hanging; maintain a regular schedule of social media posts or hire a social media company that can.
You have just a few seconds to catch your audience’s attention on social media; there are literally thousands of tweets and posts competing for their attention. Don’t just use the same event logo over and over. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use your event logo in your posts; you need to build brand awareness. Just don’t overdo it! Use different images and videos in your posts and tweets, such as photos, animated GIFs, short videos, slide shows, etc.
Be creative and build anticipation before and during your event. Take pictures of fun parts of your event in advance, such as a dunk tank or chocolate fountain, and share them on social media. Include trivia questions about the event, or parts of the event, as part of your social media campaign. If you have speakers or entertainment acts at your event, share images of them or information about their presentations—and ask them to share those posts as well.
Leverage your connections. Ask partners or participating vendors to spread the word, and give them the images and posts to make that happen (the key is to make it easy for them). Create a hash tag for your event, include it in each event post, and ask your event goers to do so as well. Make sure your hash tag is original; you don’t want to use a hash tag that is already affiliated with another event or company. The result is a social media conversation that creates buzz before and during your event, and gets everyone ready for next year’s fun.
Don’t stop on the day of the event
Don’t let the magic stop on the day of your event. We know you’re busy, but you’re missing a golden opportunity to share the energy of your event via social media. Remember, that social media revolves around live, instant gratification—pictures and tweets after the event are yesterday’s news. Designate a staff member or volunteer to tweet or post photos throughout the day or days of your event. Ask your event participants to share their photos as well; part of using social media to your advantage is being comfortable with the fact that you can’t control all the social media buzz about your event, and embrace it. Save all the photos you have for future social media posts and marketing materials.