Talk events, products, services or anything under the sun that needs marketing, social media has become the indispensable name that first comes up! No, this hype is not for nothing. Social media has actually proved to be one of the most successful tools for event marketing. The only catch here is that you should know how to use it.
Social media event marketing is a complex and multi-layered process. There isn’t one single pathway to be followed that will help you leverage a social media strategy for events. There are some general heuristics that can be followed but the final idea has to be something that will work for your event!
The Three Big Phases!
There is a misconception amongst event profs that social media for events has to be used only before the event to market it. Actually, ‘before, during and after’ event, are the three phases you will have to separately look at and strategize for social media. Each of these is just as important as the other.
If you look at it from a short-term perspective, pre-event use of socials media is enough for marketing your events. But, the use of social media for events isn’t limited to marketing and gathering people for the event.
It goes beyond that and can be used as a very strong tool for attendee engagement, for building long-term connections with your attendees as well as for marketing for your future events. That is why, it is a smart and more profitable idea to devise a social media strategy for events that use social media before, during and after the event efficiently.
Before the event!
A few weeks or maybe even a few months before your event, you need to start putting the word out. Social media can be one of the strongest channels to do that. During this phase, your focus should completely be on marketing the event and driving event registrations in any and every way possible!
1. Make big reveals, mysteriously!
Building up a little curiosity in the minds of your target audience is always a good idea. You want to reveal details like the date, the venue, the speakers and everything else. Do it in social media, but first build some mystery around it. Whenever the human brain gets some information after a little anticipation and wait, the information always seems more interesting and beneficial.
Say for example you want to reveal your keynote speaker. You can just post a graphic of the speaker and be done with it. However, there’s also another way of going about it. You can put up two to three posts that give several hints about the speaker and that maybe ask the viewers to guess the speaker. Then when you put up that graphic of the keynote speaker, it will get more engagement!
2. Make it the highlight of everyone’s profile!
A really good social media idea for events is to create a new page for your event. However, limiting all the information about your event on its specific page isn’t the best idea. Your page will be new and won’t have the necessary amount of outreach. Increasing the outreach of anything on social media organically takes time. That is why it is always smarter to integrate the event with other related profiles.
You can use your company’s profile, the profiles of your speakers or your guests or even of your venue partners, media partners, etc. This way, a lot of profiles will be talking about your event, meaning, a lot of people will be learning more about your event.
3. Talk about the tickets!
One of the primary goals of your social media event plan at this stage is to inform people about your event and to drive the sale of tickets. That is why it is crucial that you talk about tickets and registrations. It is not safe to assume that by simply knowing about your event, potential attendees will go register themselves.
A lot of events are free, a lot of them don’t even require registration. So, there is no way for your attendees to find out that they need to register themselves for your event unless you explicitly tell them so. Put up some posts about registration deadlines, early bird discounts, and other related details. You have to keep reminding people to buy tickets till the day you close your registrations and social media is the best place to do it at.
During the event!
Once the event starts, you have to start focusing on attendee engagement. You have to start finding ways in which event becomes a buzz on social media and engages your attendees. You also have to use this time to make your event’s branding stronger and more recognized so that you have enough potential attendees for your next event.
4. Create some ROMO!
While you can use also people’s fear of missing out before the event to drive registrations, I would suggest using a stronger tool ROMO — Realisation of Missing Out!
There must have been a lot of people who thought of coming to your event but didn’t because of various reasons. Post a lot of content showcasing the happenings of your event and make them realize that there is actually a lot that they are missing out on.
Put up posts and stories or go on live streams. Show them the little details and the major happenings of your event that they are missing out on through social media. By developing this ROMO, you will get a lot of people who will surely attend the next edition of your event.
5. Get the hashtag going!
Firstly, make sure that by the hour of the event, everyone knows your hashtag. Announce it, put it up on posters, create a big centerpiece out of it! No matter what, make sure that each and every attendee, speaker and guest know the hashtag correctly.
Once that is done, start encouraging your attendees to post content using this hashtag. You can even make some contests out of it to get more people to use the hashtag. This way, not only will you be engaging your attendees, but you will also be making them the ambassadors promoting the next edition of your events.
The content that attendees post always seems more genuine and trustworthy to other viewers than what you will post. Use this to maximum advantage by encouraging them to post more and more content with your hashtag.
6. Keep the conversation alive!
Just because your attendees have now reached the premises of your event doesn’t mean you stop interacting with them using social media.
Continue putting up polls or surveys asking your attendees about their experience. Start Twitter threads where people can interact and talk about their time at your event. While this seems a little commonplace and simple idea, you would actually be surprised to see the amount of engagement it can generate.
When a part of a big event, attendees usually like to talk a lot about their experiences. Social media platforms like Twitter can be a great place for them to do that!
After the event!
This phase of event social media is all about long-term marketing and nurturing your newly made contacts. Your event already has a lot of buzz going on. Keep this buzz alive on social media, at least for a while. This repeated communication will make a more lasting impact of the event on the attendees as well as the non-attendees.
7. Tell them how it was!
Now that the event is over, you need to put out the word saying how successful it was. The best way to do this is by broadcasting some attendee feedback. I mean, who better to talk about the event than those who attended it?
Take some video feedback of some of the attendees during the event and post them once it is done. You can also retweet or repost the content of your attendees where they are talking about their experience with the event.
Basically, tell your audience about the success of your event in the opinion of your attendees. This makes it all way more reliable and dependable.
8. Do some future talk!
If you are planning to host a next edition of the event, now is a good time to talk about it. While the good and exciting memories of your event are fresh in your attendees’ minds, tell them about your plans for the next event. Maybe put up a post disclosing the venue or the dates or anything concrete that they can associate with your next event.
Nice and fresh memories of this event are more likely to make them decide to come to your next event too. So, use this time frame wisely and make it a part of your social media event marketing.
Using social media for events is a brilliant idea that can benefit you in a lot of ways. The key to social media marketing is accuracy. Just the right amount and quality of the content at just the right time. Too much or too less and you are looking at not so great results. Start making a social media event calendar and make sure to see it through!