Use Social Media to Market Your Next Event, Meeting, Conference or Trade Show
Why use social media to market your events? It is estimated that almost three-quarters of adults in the US use online social media platforms according to the Pew Internet Project. According to Forbes, 800 of the top 1000 top companies use social media as marketing tools. Given these facts, perhaps the question should be, “Why aren’t you using social media to market your events?”
Develop a social media marketing strategy that works for you by following these steps, and you will boost your likes, loyalty, and client engagement with your business.
The first thing you must do is identify what social media platforms (SMPs) your clients use (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.). It is always a good idea to have an online presence on multiple social media platforms to cast your social media net further, however, be sure to stay most active on the platforms your customers use the most.
When developing a social media strategy for a particular event keep the following three things in mind: create high-impact messaging, a call-to-action, and minimize no-shows/responses by keeping your messaging simple.
Creating high-impact social media messaging first involves establishing a goal for your content. What is it that you are trying to accomplish by posting your message? Are you trying to increase your facebook page likes, convert browsers to buyers, fill up seats at your event? Creating your social content with a specific goal in mind allows your messaging to be clear and measurable.
Next, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” Think about the last time you signed up for an online class or event. What was your motivation to take the next step? Creating high-impact social media content fills a need within your customer which you can use to organically generate excitement around your messaging and increase the loyalty of your brand.
“The answer is always no unless you ask,” is a saying that remains true across all business sectors. Creating high-impact messaging involves “the ask,” or call-to-action. Keep your email lists and social media followers engaged by generating content that answers who is going to your event and what they will miss by not attending (fear-of-missing-out, FOMO). By doing this, you can create a sense of urgency to convert browsers to buyers and help your event fill its seats.
Avoid no-shows by making it easy for your customers to respond to your emails and social media posts. In today’s world, creating a simple “Sign up HERE,” button is not enough. Creating action involves compelling graphics, videos, and phrases that tell a story and motivate your customers to step-up-to-the-plate. You can accomplish this in many ways: personalizing emails (using customer names), using phrases such as “Don’t delay,” and “For a limited time,” among others. Also, make your offer irresistible by offering value-added content (i.e. “Act now and get this free ebook, device, or 6 months of free coaching,” etc.). Keep your audience engaged by filling a need and make it simple for them to reply. Simplicity is mastery when it comes to generating impactful messaging and converting customers into attendees.
When it comes to SMPs for event planners, 84% of event organizers use Facebook to market their events. You can accumulate an audience on Facebook by creating an event page then link to this page through your other SMPs to increase your cross-traffic. Posting “behind-the-scenes” content and teasers will also help you generate more buzz allowing your followers to quickly ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on your posts to keep them actively engaged.
Once you have established your event page on Facebook, consider creating a #hashtag on Twitter to help you curate and organize all of your event-related tweets. It is estimated that 61% of event planners use Twitter to market their events, so make sure you have a presence on Twitter. To help increase your followers and clicks on your posted links, mention relevant people in your tweets to leverage their brand and network for your event.
With over 4 million active users around the globe, Instagram has carved itself a nice slice of the social media market share by offering a simple interface to post photos of your event that you can share with Twitter and Facebook. Consider posting photos of your venue, as well as areas around it, to acquaint your customers with your location and available activities. Hosting a before-event contest or event-related poll can help you gain followers as well as provide valuable customer information and feedback for your venue.
Blogging is another great way to market your event online. With 84% of internet users reading blogs, you can easily gain more influence and establish yourself as an expert in the field by regularly publishing blog content (which will also help increase your search engine ratings). Fuel your online presence by writing and posting blogs about why you are having the event, its mission, and related topics and interests. Keep your blog accessible by utilizing a writing style that is easy to read. Keeping your posts short (500-600 words) can also help encourage continued engagement of your audience. TIP your response time to blog comments is crucial to promoting future interactions by your readers. A good rule of thumb is to respond to comments, especially those that make a strong statement, within 24 hours.
It is almost impossible to discuss social media marketing strategies without discussing the use of email campaigns. 99% of event planners use email campaigns to market their events so make the most out of your efforts by segmenting your list of email contacts and prioritize your invitations to those that live closest to your venue. It is a good idea to have a clear subject/header line such as, “Meet Jeff Bezos and Know His Marketing Secrets,” to encourage a higher email open rating. Some words of caution, be careful not to spam customers with emails as most email programs will filter your message into its junk mail folder. Also, be mindful of your email frequency. 2-3 emails per month is plenty for most people.
Creating landing pages on your website is a great way to convert people from your SMPs to attendees. Leverage your landing page’s real estate by including your event details as well as a countdown timer and a ‘Register Here’ button as your call-to-action device.
During your event consider having dedicated social media personnel that can post ‘live-tweets,’ such as memorable quotes by speakers and upcoming sessions, as well as post photos and videos of your event. Setting up a photo booth with a fun background and props for your attendees is also a great way to generate excitement and encourage social media sharing.
At the conclusion of your event, share the success of your event across your SMPs. You may also want to share a post-event survey and ask for feedback to learn what went well and what could be improved for your next event.
“An event happens beyond the four walls of the venue. Keep the conversation going.”
Don’t let your next event go unnoticed. Market your event on social media by following our suggestions above and ensure the seats at your next event are filled.