Social media for event promotion is a given. It’s really more of a question of how you use it. If all you’re doing is sending a few posts or tweets, then you are way underutilizing this valuable resource.
Here’s a few ways to use social media that really drives your message and gets people taking notice of your upcoming event.
- The Hashtag
Never underestimate the power of Twitter promotion using hashtags. Most social media strategies, after all, involve the hashtag to one extent or another. Some of the other ideas listed below will also include use of the hashtag, so it makes sense to mention it here.
Of course, only a person living under a rock wouldn’t know what a hashtag is. It all comes down to how you use it and your ability to turn it into a trend by getting your followers to use it. The rules for a hashtag is pretty simple: keep it short and discernable.
A great example is #SFBatKid. It’s short and fairly easy to discern even if you don’t know what the hashtag is about. This hashtag was used for a San Francisco event in 2013 to honor a 5-year old cancer patient. The child was dressed as Batman and paraded the streets as he took on volunteers and actors dressed as villains.
The hashtag went viral and generated a whopping 1.7 billion social impressions. It even got a direct response from President Barack Obama. Of course, the inspirational story had much to do with the success, but a part of it was also due to the simple nature of the hashtag.
- Share a Behind-The-Scene Look
Let people see what goes into the planning process. People just might be more inclined to pay for a ticket if they can see the hard work and impassioned efforts of you and your crew. This can include a simple photo from a board meeting, or a short video of you meeting up with the venue administrator.
This should be approached in a lighthearted manner. If using Snapchat, for example, you can use a funny filter when filming yourself or your staff. This shows that even though you’re a professional company planning a professional event, that you’re all just regular people that don’t always take themselves too seriously.
- Use LinkedIn
When it comes to social media event promotion, people often put all their eggs in one or two baskets.; those two baskets being Facebook and Twitter. Don’t neglect promotion via LinkedIn, though. Many users have acquaintances on LinkedIn that they don’t have on other social networks. Use LinkedIn to reach out to professional contacts, which should make up a good deal of your demographic for an industry related event.
Look for LinkedIn Groups within your niche to join. Get to know the people in those groups and extend them an olive branch for your event, perhaps even offering a discount. Finally, don’t forget that LinkedIn is also a place where you can submit published posts. While you can’t directly promote your event, you can use it to establish yourself as a knowledgeable industry insider.
- Leverage Your Followers
Your followers are your greatest brand advocates, so use them to leverage their own followers to build up more recognition than you can ever acquire alone. However, instead of just having your attendees send a tweet to their own followers, look for a more creative outlet.
The Metropolitan Events & Production is one company that did just that. It held makeup shows in major cities like Orlando and Chicago. To promote them, they encouraged attendees to upload pics of themselves holding a sign that read: “meet me at the Makeup Show,” along with the attendee’s name at the bottom. The pic was uploaded on various social networks along with the event’s hashtag. All the submitted photos were also eventually uploaded and shared on the event’s official social network page.
- Social Media Contest
Contests are effective because it creates direct consumer engagement in a fun and rewarding activity. There are so many different types of contests you can hold. Try to keep it simple and don’t make it overly complex.
Here’s a good one from the technology company I.B.M Connect. Its event included what the company called I.B.M Champions, which comprised of a group of high-profile business partners, bloggers, and company analysts. During the event, attendees were encouraged to take a photo with the I.B.M Champions and submit them on their social networks using the hashtag #IBMChamp. The attendee whose photo got the most tweets was awarded a prize.
An example like the one above is effective because it’s really simple. To get involved, all contestants had to do was take a picture, submit it on their social media, and encourage their followers to tweet it.
There’s so many diverse ways of using social media that are just starting to catch on. If you’re an event planner, you can’t afford not to experiment with them if you hope to achieve maximum results.
About the Author
Dan McCarthy has worked in the event management industry for five years and is currently an event manager for the UK-based company JD Parties. His portfolio includes many successful event planning projects for companies across various niches. He is currently a regular contributor for his company’s blog site. Follow him on Twitter at @DanCarthy2.