Written for EO by Raul Harman, editor in chief at Technivorz blog.
What if you threw a party and nobody came? The chances of this happening in the age of Facebook and Twitter are slim, right? Even so, if you’re planning a professional event and your success depends on people showing up, you’ll want to implement a marketing strategy to ensure its success.
Today, every marketing strategy should incorporate social media. Consider these tips for effectively using social media at every stage of your promotion—before, during and after the event.
BEFORE: CREATE BUZZ
Social media platforms are great tools for generating buzz around your event. To make the most of the digital form of good-old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, it’s essential to start warming up prospective event-goers and build excitement well before the event takes place.
- Pick the right channel. Although you probably use several social media platforms, focus on the one that will expand your reach and make the most impact on your target audience. Facebook, with its 13 billion monthly active users, is absolutely inevitable regardless of your industry, which means that creating an event page is a must. Twitter, meanwhile, allows you to create a dedicated, branded hashtag and additionally distinguish your event’s personality and presence.
- Announce special guests or speakers. Highlight their achievements and credentials in your social media posts. Single out their most interesting quotes and include them in your announcements—especially if your guests aren’t widely known.
- Team up with influencers. Identify key personalities in your niche and gain access to their loyal following in order to drive attendance. But don’t simply go after the people with a large number of followers. Sometimes it’s better to find micro-influencers, personalities with a smaller but more engaged following. They can be 7 times more cost-effective, delivering 60% higher engagement.
- Organize ticket giveaways or online contests paired with generous cashback programs. These techniques attract followers, create a memorable experience for your audience and incentivize people to engage!
- Make your content stand out! Compelling copy and images are a must. Messages should be short, informative and catchy—especially on Facebook, where you want to avoid making people expand your post to see critical information. Remember that the first few words are crucial for catching your audience’s eye.
Once you get the ball rolling, it’s important to engage with your attendees on social media. Since it can be hard to juggle between various channels and follow all the mentions, tweets and posts, a social media management tool can be a great tool.
- Answer questions and address negative comments. Respond to your audience’s questions and concerns in a timely manner and provide attendees with real-time support. Your team should be ready to jump in and solve any problems on the spot. Don’t shrug off or delete negative feedback, and always thank the person for their valuable suggestions.
- Make it fun to spread your brand online. Set up an online hub that displays social media messages from the event, behind-the-scenes footage and photos of attendees. Use branded photo booths to encourage people to take pictures and post it on their social media channels. Run onsite campaigns and offer cool rewards to attendees who tag their social media posts with the official hashtag.
AFTER: TELL THE STORY
Social media is effective even for your post-event promotion for reinforcing your brand and its personality, engaging with your followers and getting feedback!
- Create a narrative about your event. Use attendees’ posts, comments, photos and videos to tell a story about your brand, your products, your values and your goals.
- Ask for feedback. Invite attendees to give their opinion about what was good and what should be improved. Brief surveys are an excellent tool for checking the pulse of your audience and showing them that you care about what they think.
When it comes to your event marketing strategy, consider social media a requirement.