Social media is a powerful way to promote your event and stay connected to your guests, but first you need an event social media strategy.
You may think you “know social media” and don’t need to put a strategy together before you start posting, but a strategy helps you focus your efforts so you don’t waste time or money. It also lets you outsource the work to someone on your team.
In this post, we’d like to go over the nine essential components of an event social media strategy.
The first decision you’ll have to make is which platforms you’ll use to promote your event and connect with your fans.
Choose the platforms that are right for your audience, not the ones you prefer. You may not enjoy or have much experience with Snapchat, but if your guests are young, trendy, technology adopters, that’s what they use.Social media is a powerful way to promote your event and stay connected to your guests, but first you need a strategy. Click To Tweet
Make sure to optimize your social profiles when you create accounts on your chosen platforms. Add high-quality profile images and header photos. Fill out the bio fields (the “about us” sections) so your fans have all the information they need about your event.
Use this Eventbrite quiz to determine which social media platforms are right for your event.
Read this guide to learn more about choosing the right social media platform: How to Choose a Social Media Platform for Your Business.
Every event should have a unique hashtag for you, your guests, and your fans to use on social media. This helps them find content about the event and connect with one another.
What makes a great hashtag? It should be short, original, easy to understand, and relevant to the event and audience.
Use the hashtag any time you post about the event. Place it in your profile bios as well. Encourage your guests and fans to use it any time they discuss the event.
You’ll also want to include it on print materials, email messages, event signage, and your website. This will help people associate it with your event even if they can’t click it.
Before you start posting, it’s smart to establish some goals. These will inform the rest of your social media work.
Ask yourself what you’re hoping to accomplish with social media. Then create goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Like most events, you’ll need goals for each phase of your event.
Pre-event goals: Drive awareness and registrations. You’ll want to spread word of your event as wide as you can and convince people to attend. Link your followers to an event landing page where they can sign up.
During the event goals: Keep guests/fans active and engaged. Post content about what’s happening at the event, fun photos of attendees, glamorous shots of parties, food, and crowds. Film quick videos of keynote speakers (just a tease!) to show non-guests what they’re missing.
Post-event goals: Reinforce the event’s value. Drip out more content that reminds your guests of the good time they had and makes non-guests wish they had gone. This is also a good time to ask for feedback.
Here’s a great guide on setting social media goals: How to Set Social Media Goals—And Reach Them.
Content is the meat of your event social media strategy. Here’s where you decide what you’ll post to serve your goals.
Followings don’t materialize overnight, so you’ll want to start posting long before your event. Give yourself at least two months, but ideally more. Post several times per day consistently.
If you spam people with constant pleas to register for your event (or otherwise make a purchase), people will grow bored with your page and unfollow. So your posts should be 80% educational/entertainment/lifestyle content and 20% promotional content.
Post about things that matter to your audience. If you’re hosting an event for baby retail brands, you can share industry news, inspirational quotes, and family humor.
When you post promotional content, it’s important to still try to provide value. Instead of constantly directing your followers to register, show them the value they’ll receive from the event by giving them sneak peeks, interviewing people who attended the last event, or chronicling your planning and setup process.
Here are some additional rules you should follow when creating social media content:
1. Tailor your content to your platform. Instagram and Snapchat are highly visual mediums, whereas LinkedIn and Facebook are open to lengthier discussion.
2. Tailor your content to your audience. Make sure you’re posting content your audience wants to see. If you’re hosting an event for salespeople, your content should relate to your event and sales. If you post about unrelated topics, people will stop following you.
3. Use lots of images, videos, and GIFs. Text posts aren’t sufficient anymore! Upgrade your content with lots of rich media.
4. Don’t forget your hashtag. Like we said before, include your hashtag with every post.
5. Experiment with different techniques. Don’t be afraid to try new things to stimulate engagement. Play around with Twitter chats, Facebook Live, or Instagram Stories. You could also create your own contests and giveaways.
To learn more about posting social media content, read this guide: Event Marketing 101: How to Keep Attendees Engaged Before, During and After Your Event.
Even if you don’t plan to do a lot of social media promotion, you’ll want to use a tool to streamline the process and save yourself some work. (You have plenty of things to do, after all. There’s no sense making more work for yourself.)
Influencers are social media users who have large, active followings. If you don’t have a social media following already, you can leverage their followings to promote your event.
Ask your speakers, presenters, demonstrators, brands, vendors, or anyone else who’s part of your event to promote it on social media. You may have to give them images, video, and copy to post, but that work is worth the effort if they have big followings.
The best influencers are ones who have a vested interest in the success of your event. Consider incentivizing them with tickets or swag to promote your event.
Here’s a great article to learn more about using influencers to promote your event: How to Use Influencer Marketing to Promote Your Events.
7. Paid Ads
Only a small percentage of your followers will see each post you make on social media.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram use algorithms to display content based on countless unknown variables, which means your content might not appear high in the feed. On other platforms, users generally don’t keep up with their feed.
If you want to get your content in front of more people, you’ll want to dedicate a small portion of your budget for paid ads. But don’t buy ads for everything you post. Instead, buy ads for the most impactful posts, like the ones that drive people to register for your event.
To learn more about social media paid ads, read this guide: Social Media Advertising 101: How to Get the Most out of Your Budget.
8. Event Day
You and your team should be on social media overdrive on the day of your event. Snap hundreds of photos and videos with your phone. Gather as much content as you can. Post some of it during the event, but save some of it to drip out over time and use to promote the next event.
Depending on the scope and budget of your event, you may want to hire a dedicated person to gather social media content. This will maximize the amount of content you collect.
Naturally, you’ll want to know if your social media strategy works, so you’ll have to measure it.
Over time you’ll get a sense of what kinds of content works and when your followers are most active with your posts. Keep notes nearby to help you improve your strategy. For instance, if you tend to get higher engagement off humorous content, post more of it.
You should also examine your social media content quantitatively. Here are some metrics you should track:
- Engagement rate: The number of likes, comments, and shares your posts get.
- Click rate: How many people click the links in your posts.
- Sales: How many sales you made through your social media profile. (To measure this, you’ll need to use Google Analytics to track social media ROI.)
Don’t Neglect Your Event Social Media Strategy
Your event social media strategy should inform everything you do on social media. Consult if you or your team aren’t sure how to proceed, but don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy as you go.
If you include plans to address each of the components we listed above, you’ll create an effective strategy that will create plenty of buzz on social media.