In this day and age, social media provides one of the most effective ways to spread the details about an upcoming event. And with several platforms to leverage (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), you can get the word out about your conference or meeting' to multiple audiences at one time, driving both awareness and ticketing sales.
In order to maximize your event's social media marketing efforts, you'll need some strategy behind your posting schedule. Potential attendees at your next meeting are hanging out on Facebook right now, but posting about your event over and over is not necessarily going to be effective in driving them to purchase a ticket. It’s not enough for followers to just see your updates -- you want to engage and convert them as well.
"Every action, update, post, presentation, picture or video that you upload to social media will have an impact on your event's online marketing efforts," says Julius Solaris, event industry speaker and author. "When a prospective attendee is evaluating whether to purchase a ticket to your event, they will inevitably stumble on what you presented on social media."
Below, we'll set your engagement efforts up for success with tips on using social media outlets to drive event promotion.
Using Social Media to Sell Out Events
Very effective for B2B and industrywide networking, this professional development social media platform is a smart choice for releasing company news, and meetings and event announcements.
1. Use Your Profile as a Platform
Though it often gets overlooked as a marketing platform, LinkedIn can be very persuasive in the B2B market. When it comes to event promotion, invest in your LinkedIn community just as you would on Facebook and Twitter.
Keep in mind that in this more professional channel, members are scrolling through their feeds in search of information, advice and opportunities. Therefore, it becomes important to position your event ads as more than just an engagement play -- they should offer some benefit to your audience members' professional lives.
LinkedIn provides a great space to share the educational and professional highlights of your upcoming event. Use this promotion space to highlight speakers and panel members, meeting destination perks and so on.
2. Take Advantage of Sponsored Updates
Similar to ad campaigns, you can use LinkedIn sponsored updates to give your posts a boost and grow your audience. According to LinkedIn, sponsored content allows you to reach a highly engaged audience better. The content helps drive leads, build brand awareness and nurture key relationships at every stage of your event's lifecycle.
In this case, sponsored updates are more effective than paid ads because sponsored content will appear directly in your audience's newsfeed, as opposed to a LinkedIn ad that sits on a sidebar.
Here are a few guidelines for creating effective sponsored content:
- Use event-specific images;
- Create a catchy call to action;
- Use targeting to focus specifically on your audience; and
- Split-test your campaign. You should have at least three different ads per campaign to measure which are doing well and which are underperforming.
With more than 1.5 billion active users, Facebook provides an amazing avenue for awareness and exposure.
1. Extend Audience Reach with Events Feature
"With Facebook encouraging businesses to make the site a place where customers gather to engage, Facebook Events has emerged as a valuable tool for spreading awareness, attracting new customers and strengthening brand loyalty," says content marketing, social media and customer experience consultant Jay Baer. "Setting up a Facebook Event makes your meeting easy for prospective attendees to find and participate, whether it's happening online or in the real world."
If you hold a number of meetings and conventions throughout the year, use the "Events" tab on your company’s Facebook page to display your year's calendar. This will show all of your upcoming events on one convenient list, and provide a simple way to share what’s coming next.
According to the social media giant, nearly 500 million people use Facebook Events each month. How can you design your event so that it will stand out from the crowd? When creating your event, be sure to:
- Choose a branded cover photo;
- Be specific about location, time, and category so Facebook can help promote your event;
- Craft a compelling event description; and
- Place your ticket-purchasing link front and center.
2. Join in on Group Conversations
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, there’s a community related to your event hanging out on social media. Be proactive about finding these groups on Facebook and building relationships with the people who manage them. The goal is to present yourself and your organization as a thought leader.
Becoming part of the online event community is making a long bet on Facebook. Don’t expect instant results, but try to be an active community member and add value several times each week.
3. Use Facebook Live to Your Advantage
Live video streams are a great way to get your audience engaged from the get-go, and Facebook live makes it super simple to start a stream from your smartphone or laptop. Just set a date and time, and post about the stream ahead of time to create awareness among your followers.
When it comes choosing which content to stream, this is a great opportunity to answer questions, promote speakers and generate buzz by focusing on what makes your event enticing.
Keep in mind, too, that you can even stream from your event the day of, so people who aren’t there can learn from the event (and see what they’re missing out on).
Compared with other social media outlets, Twitter provides the fastest way to see how people are reacting to news and events taking place in the world.
1. Create an Event Hashtag
Create an event hashtag that’s short, unique and simple.
Whenever you post anything relevant to your upcoming event, include your hashtag in the messaging. Add it to all of your social account bios as well. And don’t stop there -- promote your hashtag on all your other communication channels. These include your event website, promotional emails, print materials and more.
2. Track Event Buzz With Your Hashtag
When interacting with event attendees and prospectives, encourage them to use your event hashtag in their relevant postings before, during and after the event. Then, use free tracking tools like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to determine the frequency of your hashtag's use and its popularity.
3. Host a Pre-Event Twitter Chat
Twitter chats are conversations scheduled at a particular time and based around a topic defined by a hashtag. Consider hosting a one-off, or a series of chats focussed on your event theme. Invite your guest speakers to host or co-host these chats.
A good Twitter chat moves fast. Tools like TweetChat will help you manage the conversations.
4. Track Twitter Lists
Did you know that you can organize your event prospects, attendees, exhibitors and supporters in one feed through a Twitter list? Here's how:
- Use Twitter to search for the users that used your hashtag.
- As you find users that attended your event, add them to a Twitter list.
Here, you're creating a single space where you’ll be able to keep an eye on what your target audience is saying and monitor their public conversations leading up to the next event.
When you’re ready to promote an upcoming event, you’ll have a ready-made list of past attendees to get started with.
Instagram has more than half a billion active users, but in order to reach your audience, you’ll need to think visually.
1. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories allow users to upload a series of connected clips and post those clips as a video story. For events, it’s a great way to give followers on Instagram a "backstage pass" to event content and highlights.
You can also use Instagram stories as a way to provide daily teasers of what’s to come along with the event. You can use the story feature to talk about pertinent topics and agenda items surrounding your event, and then link to the ticketing page so that followers can be turned into attendees easily.