Social Media Strategies for Promoting Your Next Event
If you have an event coming up, you need to create a plan to draw in the crowds. Whether it's a ribbon cutting ceremony, networking event or a food festival, strategy is key.
Social media tools let you engage with your audience in creative ways that boost attendance and make for a better experience.
Often, organizers spend a lot of money and energy on marketing before an event without much thought about what comes next. But, social media event promotion is far from over once your guests walk through the door.
An effective social media event strategy will involve connecting with your followers before, during, and after an event.
Here are eight ideas for creating a fantastic experience for your guests, from start to finish.
Create a Teaser Campaign
Your campaign needs to be designed to offer glimpses of your products and information to serve as clues, which will build excitement and expectation prior to your launch. So, when the big day comes, customers are excited about your event and are ready to attend. And hopefully, spend some money!
Decide upon a number of posts that you want to create before the event. Think about a theme. Remember that those algorithms may not allow your future customers to see every one of your posts so make sure that you have enough to get your campaign out there. Seeing one or two posts may just be enough to peak interest but you may have to create 15-20 to make that happen.
Here are a couple of sites to help you design some social media graphics:
Canva | Stencil | Snappa | DesignBold | Fotor
Create posts with just enough information to spark users’ curiosity without giving too many details away.
Designate a Hashtag
A branded hashtag is so easy to create but you must put some strategy behind it. Run your hashtag through this simple checklist:
1. Create a hashtag that’s unique. For example, #mommymeetup is too generic. #nazzymoms (for a Mom’s Group in Nazareth, PA) is more specific.
2. Make it easy to spell. Would someone know how to write it if you said it to them out loud?
3. Make it short. Event pages + social media posts have character limits.
Use your hashtag on all of your social media content, and include it on other marketing collateral as well, even printed materials. Ask all attendees to hashtag their posts before, during and after the event. It’s a great way to find all content related to your event across multiple social channels.
Reward for Signing Up Early
Who doesn't love a good coupon or reward? Here are some ideas for events large and small.
Special Giveaways or Discounts
Special discounts for the first 25 registrants
Preferred seating at certain seminars or presentations
A free VIP upgrade
Group or buy one/get one (BOGO) discounts
Rather than offering a single discount, offer a tiered early registration strategy, such as:
Super early bird—the lowest price available for a limited time, sometimes only available following the close of the last event
Regular early bird—available up to several months before the event
Last chance early bird—final opportunity to save before the price increases to the standard rate
Rewards for Social Media Tags
Every event attendee has hundreds, if not thousands, of active social media connections. Reward socially-active attendees when they help spread the word for you. Offer an entry into a grand prize drawing for every registration that’s made from referrals. That’s a surefire way to increase attendance.
Countdown Clock on Instagram
The countdown sticker on Instagram Stories lets you set an end date and time. You can also customize the name and color of the clock. Viewers can subscribe to receive a notification when the clock runs out, or add the countdown to their own story.
This feature is essentially a branded calendar notification. It’s a great tool for driving ticket sales or reminding people about deadlines for contests or early bird pricing.
Here is a video tutorial on how to set it up - How To Use The Countdown Timer in Instagram Stories.
Event Page on Facebook
Make a Facebook event that includes all the details your guests will need. Tag the official pages of your invited speakers or special guests. The discussion area of the event is a great space to post announcements or answer questions. You might want to get the word out about exclusive pre-sale codes or share the set times and location information.
If there are tickets available through Eventbrite, you have the option to link your account to Facebook. Once the integration is set up, your attendees can buy tickets without ever leaving the Facebook event.
Check out this video for tips and tricks – How To Create A Facebook Event (Best Practices)
Engage Guests with Contests & Swag
We all love winning cool things, don’t we? Hosting contests via social media that revolve around your launch is a great way to create hype around it. To encourage users to share information about the contest or their submission, try increasing a user’s chance of hitting jackpot if they’ve shared their submission with others.
There are different types of contests: Sweepstakes, Hashtags, Voting, Photo Captions, Pinterest, Videos and more. They don’t have to be complex. You need to begin by defining your goals and your theme.
Check out this step-by-step guide from Wishpond – How to Run a Contest: Step-by-Step Guide
Once you get your contest set up, read this post from Shortstack – How to Announce a Contest Winner – 5 Best Practices
Interview Attendees on Instagram Stories or Facebook Live
Do you watch red carpet highlights on Instagram, even if you don’t tune in for the whole awards show? There’s a reason for that.
Short interviews with interesting subjects make for compelling and easily-digestible content. Create your own red carpet moments while the event is underway.
Use Facebook Live or Instagram Stories to share people’s reactions and feelings about your event on the spot. What are people enjoying? How is the event going?
Hubspot – How to Use Facebook Live: The Ultimate Guide
Social Tables - The Secrets to Using Instagram Stories for Events
Summaries for People that Can’t Make It
Even if some of your followers couldn’t be there in-person, they can still take part in the event experience. Share content that gives people a taste of what they missed. Post images and videos that will inspire and make them feel included. If you had a wait-list, send them exclusive content to let them know you value their interest.
Be open. Be brave. Be willing to try something new. Taking some time to plan your social media event marketing strategies may just bring in a new customer for life.