Social Media Strategies for Events
posted April 19th 2017, 12:32 pm by Hannah Jorgensen
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Social media has become a vital tool for the organization and promotion of events. Almost 25% of traffic to ticketing and registration pages for events comes from social media platforms. This is only one way to use social media for your event, all before it has even begun. But what about during the event and even after it has ended? A smart social media strategy might just be your key to success for pulling off an event that makes people excited to attend. We know that social media has become integrated with traditional marketing plans. This is just as true for event planning.
Social Media Strategies for Events
Why have you decided to include social media in your marketing strategy? Is it just because it seems like the trendy thing that everyone is doing? You will have to consider the social media outlets that your potential attendees use. Age can be a significant factor. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have varying user demographics. Reaching your target audience will only be possible if you choose platforms that they actively engage on, or where they at least have a presence. Take a look at the followers on your company's social media profiles for a sneak peek into the types of people that might be interested in your event.
The nature of the event is another factor. A technology-based event will surely attract tech savvy attendees. You can be sure that this group is fluent in social media. On the other hand, an event about corporate giving might have an slightly older crowd of business professionals. If you've held or attended similar events in the past, reference these experiences and take notes. Don't forget to take into account the types of content that you plan to share. Is it text heavy, or is it more visual?
Planning and Promoting
The months and weeks leading up to the event are just as important as the day-of, if not more so. Underestimating the time commitment required to plan, promote, and seamlessly execute an event for dozens or hundreds of people could be your biggest mistake. Social media may be instantaneous, but the process behind every post is not.
Set a Timeline
Think long term. Depending on the size, most events take a minimum of six months to plan. Thus, your marketing strategy should have a similar timeline. Six months out certainly isn't "crunch time," but it's not too early to begin promoting your event, slowly but surely. Correspond your timeline with you goals. For example, by a certain date you would like to have at least 50 people registered. If you have not met that goal by that date, it may be time to kick your efforts into high gear. However, be realistic when setting both you goals and your timeline. Many people procrastinate and save things for the last minute, so low registration in the early stages of promoting does not mean your social media strategy is failing.
Make a Hashtag
A hashtag created for your event will link all of your posts for the event together, making it easier for users to find. Thinking of a hashtag is challenging because you want it to be unique, catchy, and directly related to your event. Making it unique may prove to be the most difficult. With the internet, it is not easy to create something that no one else has already come up with. It should be easy to spell and read. Research your hashtag thoroughly before launching it.
Create Editorial Calendars
The content created for Facebook might not work as well for Instagram. Decide if you will tailor the content for each platform, if you are using several. Editorial calendars are vital in maintaining organization during an event marketing campaign. Posts can be crafted to achieve the goals set according to your timeline by including calls to action, such as asking followers to "Register today!" Details should be added in more liberally the closer and closer it gets to the day of the event. Build anticipation with photos of the venue and announcements about honorary guests or speakers. An editorial calendar will also help with pacing. Posts about the event should become more frequent as the event date approaches.
Get the Word Out!!!!
It's time to generate some buzz about your event! Do you have any guest speakers or honorary attendees? Recognizable names in the industry? Using your connections will expand your audience by hundreds or even thousands. If the right people share your content, the conversation about an event can take off in a matter of minutes. Feature these special guests in your posts too. You want to show them off! You are promoting not only your event, but also your guests. Depending on who it is, they could be the main draw. Targeted ads are yet another way to get the word out. A boosted post on Facebook will increase exposure for the event, at a small cost.
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The day has come. Your months of preparation must not fail you! Don't let your momentum drop now. Posting updates during the event engages attendees, who will most likely have their mobile devices on them the entire time. Through social media, you can address concerns and answer questions. Be there for your attendees.
You also want to encourage attendees to share their experience at your event on their own social media accounts. Once again, this gets the word out about your brand and the event. Annual events often grow larger every year as more and more people hear about it. This type of buzz is generated in part to the people who attended the event in the past and told their friends. Tell attendees to share photos at the event using the hashtag. You will then have the option of sharing these posts, in addition to posting the content you have already created. Sharing others posts about the event will give it a new perspective and show that people are excited to be there. You may even consider setting up a photo booth or a fun photo corner to further encourage this.
Other social media options during the event include live video streaming on Facebook and Instagram, not to mention Snapchat stories. All of this should be arranged in the original development of your social media plan for the event - not a last minute decision. This is when PR fails happen.
Wrapping it Up
You pulled it off! Thank your attendees for coming out and making it such a wonderful experience - as we assume it will be. Continue to share testimonials of those who attended and posted about the event on social media. Analyzing how your social media accounts performed throughout the promotion of the event will help you to understand what could be better next year. Listen to any feedback, making a note of any complaints or points of confusion. People often take to social media when they have something negative to say, so it's a good idea to keep a close eye on commentary post-event.
We wish you the best of luck with your social media strategy for your event!
Remember – you can always reach out to us for help. Give us a call at 262.303.4238.