You’ve invested time and money into planning your event. Now you need to tell the world about it and boost awareness among your target audience. Being active on social media before, during, and after your event is a great way to engage attendees and acquire new ones, especially if you have a limited budget.
The type of event you’re hosting and the type of content you are sharing will determine which platforms you choose to use for event promotion. If you’re putting on a conference, you have a higher chance of connecting with industry professionals on LinkedIn – 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers, and 40 million are in decision-making positions.
But if you want to attract younger attendees to your pop-up shop, Facebook and Instagram are the way to go. In 2019, 71% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 used Instagram, and 55% used it multiple times a day. No matter which platforms you use for event promotion, there are common strategies that will help make you stand out.
While many have dubbed Fyre Festival a complete disaster, it is an excellent example of how social media propelled this luxury music festival into the spotlight. Through promotional videos, hashtags, and influencer posts from supermodels like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin, the campaign created intrigue for a new event in an organic way, gaining traction fast and influencing rapid ticket sales.
Looking at Coachella can also explain the positive impacts of social media on event promotion (just ask our Brand and Social Media Manager). One of the most well-known events, thanks to the efforts of influencers on Instagram and Snapchat, Coachella has grown since its inception in 1999. With posts ranging from musical performances to desert fashion, the event is broadcasted globally through social media. In 2016, Coachella’s Snapchat Story reached an audience of over 40 million people.
In this article, we break down the steps you should take during each stage of the event to successfully promote your event online. Keep reading to download our checklist for developing a foolproof social media event promotion strategy.
Before Your Event
Your social media campaigns should be in full force leading up to your event. It’s a crucial time for spreading the word, promoting notable speakers, and securing registrations.
Partnering with influencers in your industry is a powerful way to advertise your event and maximize your reach. Currently, 67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers. Take the example of Coachella, which sparked interest in the event weeks before its official launch by enticing audiences with a live stream invite through YouTube.
But you don’t need to break the bank on these brand endorsements. Connecting with a micro-influencer on Instagram is a low-cost expense that can deliver results. Micro-influencers have higher engagement rates than celebrities, and hooking them up with a VIP pass to your event is the perfect way to maximize the impact of your partnership. If you’ve hosted this event previously, having influencers share photos from past experiences can help create buzz and generate excitement.
While influencer marketing can help with brand exposure, paid ads allow you to target a specific demographic with the guarantee that your content will be placed in the user’s feed. The audience you’re targeting will depend on which platform you use to run your ads. LinkedIn ads are traditionally used to reach B2B markets since the platform serves industry professionals. More B2C brands, however, choose to share ads on Facebook, which caters to more personal audiences.
Coachella tweeted this to encourage pre-event ticket sales for 2020.
— Coachella (@coachella) June 10, 2019
Once you have all the details of your event sorted out, you’ll want to create a #catchy, #relevant, and #unique hashtag. When used successfully, hashtags can help you communicate with your audience and easily track event-related content. For extra buzz, try running a pre-event contest with your hashtag. You can incentivize people to repost content related to your event for a chance at free admission.
During Your Event
Even though you’ve got people to attend your event, it’s essential that you maintain your social presence to connect with your audience in real-time. From session updates to behind-the-scenes content, communicating with your attendees goes a long way towards creating a positive event experience and brand perception.
Leveraging live video on social media is a cost-effective way to share event-specific content with your followers. Anyone with a smartphone on your marketing team can use their everyday technology to expand your brand’s reach and influence next year’s turnout. Thirty-percent of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event the following year. Still building on the previous Coachella example, 82 million viewers tuned in to a YouTube live stream of the 2019 event, up from 41 million the previous year. A sure shot way to reach out and connect with millions through social media.
When you aren’t behind the camera, make sure you remain involved in conversations happening online. Remember that event hashtag you created? This is the perfect time to use it for social listening. You can easily access all the online conversations about your event in a single location and engage with your guests. Designate social media coordinators to jump in whenever possible to respond to questions and comments in real-time.
And there’s a lot you can do to prepare in advance. Have your team create designed templates that you can easily swap in soundbites from keynote speakers or takeaways from breakout sessions. This creates content that event attendees can share with their own network about what they’re learning and experiencing.
After Your Event
After your event is over, you should continue to connect with your attendees and share relevant information. Post-event recaps, video from specific sessions, and follow-ups with event speakers are all great options for repurposing content. Sticking with our Coachella example, playlists were created of the weekend performances for all to tune into, if they missed the Livestream. This only built on their social buzz for next year’s event.
For example, Coachella is still taking out bite-sized content on Youtube to showcase highlights and short interviews to keep fan interest hiked for next year’s event.
Because LinkedIn is where most high-level industry leaders spend their time, encourage your company’s own thought leaders and executives to share LinkedIn Articles recapping the event or insights on the industry based on key takeaways. Nearly 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions, meaning the more content that’s shared, the better your chances are at getting the right people to engage.
Now is the time to also analyze your social media activity to see which strategies worked and which ones fell short. Measure conversion rates, clicks, and shares to see the impact of your content so that you can start promoting your next big event.