Social media is a powerful tool to build hype for your event. It’s easily accessible, relatively inexpensive, and everyone’s using it.
Oftentimes, however, posting on social media can feel like shouting into a noisy room. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to get noticed. This can make it hard to promote your event.
In this article, we offer some powerful tips to use social media as part of your event marketing plan. This advice will help you reach a wider audience and keep your current fans engaged.
1. Start as Early as Possible
When it comes to promoting your event on social media, the best time to start was yesterday. The sooner you create momentum and hype, the larger your audience will grow. Start promoting your event during the very early stages of your planning process.
Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters smartly started promoting their event three months before it took place.
2. Choose the Right Social Platforms
There are a lot of social media platforms, but you don’t need to be on them all. (That would be an overwhelming amount of work.) Focus on the most effective platforms, which are the ones your target audience prefers to use. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the most popular platforms, but you may have success on others.
3. Create and Use an Event Hashtag
Create a unique hashtag for your event and use it on all of your social media posts. The hashtag should be memorable and easy to understand.
It’s helpful to include your event hashtag on print materials as well. This will help people associate the hashtag with your event so they use it on their own social media posts. Display the hashtag throughout your venue during the event. If you work with any social media influencers, instruct them to use the hashtag as well.Social media is a powerful tool to hype your event. It's easily accessible, relatively inexpensive, and everyone's on it. Click To Tweet
4. Update Your Social Media Profiles
Before you start promoting your event, update your social media profiles with new information and artwork that relates to your event. This way, when new followers find your pages, they will learn about your event right away.
What should you update? Create new profile pictures and header artwork. Update your description or bio section with information about your event, including your hashtag. Try to be consistent throughout all of your social media profiles so the branding matches.
5. Identify Your Biggest Promoters
If you see the same names popping up on your social media profiles, these people might be strong advocates of your brand and your event. Find ways to incentivize them to promote aggressively for you. For instance, you might give them free admission or discount their ticket for active advocacy on social media.
6. Help Your Speakers Promote
If you have speakers who will present at your event, encourage them to promote the events to their audiences. Give them artwork and copy they can post on their social media profiles. This will improve the quality and frequency of their social media content.
7. Engage with Your Followers
No one wants to follow a cold brand that only talks about itself. As you post content about your event, don’t forget to engage with followers. Reply to their comments, answer their questions, consider their feedback, and try to be a true source of information and entertainment. Remember: Social media is supposed to be a two-way conversation.
8. Let them See Behind-the-Scenes
People love to see what goes on behind-the-scenes. It makes them feel like they are a part of an exclusive group or movement. Show your potential guests what it takes to throw an event by posting photos and videos of work environments, unfinished spaces, and other elements that peel back the curtain of a polished event.
The Next Web did a great job taking their social media followers backstage to show them what it takes to put on a production of that size.
9. Partner with Influencers
One of the best ways to extend your social media reach is to work with influencers who have their own loyal followings. You can leverage their platforms to create hype around your event.
The key here is not to find influencers with the biggest followings, but to find influencers whose following matches your type of guest. You will have an easier time converting these groups of people into event attendees.
10. Listen to Back Channel Conversations
When people talk about your event on social media, they don’t always tag you in their posts or use your hashtag. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of these back channels. You can learn what people are saying about you by simply searching for your event’s name using the platform’s search feature.
You may feel awkward about jumping into people’s conversations, but that isn’t rude on social media where everything is public. Feel free to thank people for their praise, correct them when they’re wrong, and address their concerns.
11. Solicit Feedback from Your Followers
You can build hype for your event by asking your followers for help. Bring them into the planning process by asking for their ideas and input. Ask them for recommendations for speakers and attractions. Run polls to get their consensus. When they arrive at the event (or see photos of it), they’ll feel like a part of your brand.
12. Create a Facebook Event
Creating an event on Facebook when you already have a website may seem redundant, but it has a special purpose. Facebook is comfortable for many people, so they’ll be more willing to explore your event and consider attending if they see it on their preferred platform.
Creating a Facebook event also gives your attendees an easy way to share the event with their followers. This is a great way to promote your event organically.
13. Tailor Your Content for Each Network
If you’re posting on multiple social channels, it’s important to create and curate the right kind of content for each platform. If you try to post the same things on each network, your content will appear forced, artificial, and inauthentic.
For instance, Instagram users expect highly visual content. They want striking photography and relatively short captions. Facebook users, however, are willing to read longer bodies of text. Photos are important on Snapchat too, but those should seem more personal and organic.
14. Use a Social Media Scheduling Tool
For best results, you should post on social media multiple times per day. As you get closer to event day (or the end of your registration period), you’ll want to post six to eight times per day, or up to 30 on Twitter. That’s a lot of posting!
Make life easier on yourself by using a social media scheduling tool like CoSchedule, Buffer, or Sprout Social. These will streamline your process by letting you schedule all of your social media content at one time. Less work gives you more time to post.
15. Run Contests and Giveaways
Everyone likes getting something for free. Build hype by giving away prizes to some of your followers. (Free event admission is an easy gift!)
If you run a giveaway, make sure a condition of winning the prize is to share your event and/or the giveaway post in some way. This will help you reach a larger audience.
16. Join Social Media Groups
Facebook and LinkedIn have subject-specific groups where people gather to talk about their favorite topics. Use these groups to connect with like-minded people and build relationships.
As you engage with people in these groups, focus on delivering value. Don’t worry about marketing your event. Create awareness by establishing yourself as a thought leader so people see your brand as valuable, attentive, and worth paying attention to.
A word of warning: This is not a quick way to sell tickets. This is a long-term strategy you can use to build your brand. Make sure to stay active within these groups between events.
17. Launch Paid Ads
Only a small minority of your social media followers will see your content. If you want more of your audience to see your posts, and want non-followers to become aware of your event, you’ll need to purchase paid ads.
Admittedly, there’s a learning curve here. It takes time to figure out which ads connect with your target audience. You’ll have to spend some money to experiment. But once you figure out what works, this is an enormously effective way to reach new people and make sure your own followers see your content. It helps to work with a paid advertising specialist.
As you can see, building hype on social media is more of an art form than a science. You’ll have to experiment with different kinds of images, videos, and copy to find the type of content that resonates with your audience. Don’t be afraid to take chances and try new things while keeping these tips in mind.