Before the advent of social media, event promotion was done through public relations programs and paid advertising. The key was to get the word out to as many people as possible and increase attendance. While the basic premise of advertising and promoting on social media is the same, you can now use the various platforms for laser targeting your audience.
Why Social Media?
Today, there is a plethora of social media platforms and each platform has a massive and active user base that members turn to find out what is happening within their circle. Reviews, opinions and comments have become important and people are now using them to figure out whether an event is worthwhile. If other people (friends and contacts) refer to an event favourably on social media, the chances of getting more attendees who are genuinely interested in it will increase significantly.
That is why social media has become a powerful tool in the world of event promotion. If you are not leveraging this tool to your advantage, you are missing out on a huge chunk of prospective attendees.
So, how do you go about harnessing the power of social media for event promotion?
Build Your Event Website – This is very important as interested participants should know what the event is all about and how they can register for it. When you have a website, you can link all your social media event pages to it. This will encourage visitors to join your social media communities of various social media platforms and help you use their connections to spread the word about your event. Also, encourage visitors to share information about the event by providing a functional ‘Share’ button.
Creating a Social Media Framework for Your Event
Before you start promoting your event on any social media platform, you need to come with a basic plan. This plan will function as a roadmap for your marketing and promotion endeavors. Thereafter, you have to use social media to inform the world about your event.
The social media platform you choose to promote the event will depend on your target audience. Usually, it is best to use multiple channels to promote events, as this brings the best results. When your event is available on different platforms, you can drive registrations from all over, making the event a roaring success. It also allows you to have real-time or near real-time engagement with prospective attendees as well as registered participants. This engagement can be carried forward to the live event where too social media can be used.
Twitter: Twitter boasts of over 200 million people from across the world. Though studies suggest only about half of the users are active on Twitter, it is still considered a potent marketing tool to create a buzz about events and spread the word. Many marketers and influencers are active on Twitter and leveraging their Tweets you can promote your event. By creating a hashtag of your event and encouraging these marketers and industry influencers to use it while tweeting, you can spread the word about your event and create substantial awareness.
LinkedIn: This is a business-focus social media platform that boasts of very serious discussions, opinions and chats. This is the place to promote your events to professionals, who’s who of the industry and large businesses. You can create your event on LinkedIn and get influencers and marketers to mark they are attending it. Once this happens, it creates interest and you can use InMail to reach out to prospective attendees. You also can spread the word about your event using your LinkedIn status.
Facebook: When you want to engage prospective attendees, this is the social media network that you should be using. It can also help you increase awareness of your event through personal interactions with your connections and requesting them to promote your event to their Friends and connections. Here, the promotion takes on a complete social marketing structure and is great for marketing parties, fundraisers, festivals and sporting events that usually require a huge attendance. However, it can also be used to market business and corporate events and you can use the platform to get reviews, feedback and engage your audience. A point to remember is you would need to target your marketing and promotional efforts very carefully, as Facebook has members from diverse backgrounds.
YouTube: This perhaps is one of the most under-utilized social media networks for event promotion. This is because event marketers do not know how to leverage the power of YouTube. This is the site to place attractive video content about your event and get people to comment and show interest in your event. The content that is published on this site tends to show up high on Google search results, so you will be able to even attract organic traffic to your video and get registrations. After the event, you can make the event ‘available’ for attendees and those who are interested and this will help you get more attendees for future events.
Contests and Challenges – Nothing creates more buzz than throwing challenges, contests and interesting facts about the event to users on social media. When you do this, make sure you offer giveaways, discounts and other freebies to generate interest and get people talking about it. One of the most popular sites for challenges and contests is Facebook and if you leverage the power there, you can expect a certain response from interested audience. Also, use Twitter to drive your intended audience to your contests and challenges and create a stir before your event begins.
Sell Tickets on Social Media – Most paid events are synonymous with quality. So, you need to be able to sell tickets to get quality audience and attendees. You can use social media to do this. In fact, this should be a norm for you if you have done it previously. You can use social media to introduce your event, engage intended participants and then sell tickets for the event. Did you know using Facebook ads can help you sell tickets and also raise awareness of your event? You can use geo-targeting to place Facebook ads and this will help you get desired results.
There are numerous ways to promote an event on social media and you are limited by your imagination. Thinking out-of-the-box will help you not only promote the event successfully, but also allow you to reach your target audience and make them into loyal attendees for future events. Rope in professionals to help you get the desired results from your social media campaign.
This is a guest post by Monik Makadiya. Monik is associated with iVvy, a leading software event management company that is revolutionizing the way events are managed. Ivvy offers a suite of software for event managers that simplifies and automates most of the tasks associated with managing events. Connect with Monik on Twitter at@painstakingMM.