Using social media to promote an eventby Ken Stanley. Posted on
Social media represents a powerful tool to promote any branded event – you can use it to generate interest, engage with potential attendees and ultimately increase attendance. Here are a few pointers to help you take full advantage of social media in the build up to your event:
Create A Plan
Start with a plan and develop a content calendar – deliberately plan how you intend to attract attendees to your event. Appoint a member of staff to co-ordinate the campaign. Depending on the size of the event in question this could be a full-time role – ultimately you need to channel the appropriate resources toward the project. Activate a network of influences (customers, business partners, friends, journalists and bloggers) to help your event gain momentum.
Don’t bombard people with noise. Start a conversation and try to define your event with respect to audience need. Use feedback; do not ignore it.
Set up a unique landing page for the event – a web address that can be referred/linked to on social media. A landing page can be used to sell the event while EventBrite is a handy option for registrations.
Be sure to add social media sharing buttons to your event landing page and registration page. Word of warning though: use these 3rd party buttons sparingly as they can stifle page load! Any more than 3 or 4 on any one page tends to be too much.
Create a teaser trailer for your event and publish on YouTube/Vimeo. For content you could include clips from previously hosted events or perhaps clips of the event’s speakers in action. A one to two-minute video could prove very powerful in terms of attracting attendees.
Create a Facebook event containing all the relevant details – a Facebook event will permit you to invite all your fans and make it very easy for those fans to share the details of the event with their friends. Obviously for larger events it may prove appropriate to create a dedicated Facebook page. Encourage attendees to engage with one another on Facebook by posting promotional content and starting discussions on the Facebook event wall.
Use your Twitter account to promote the event or consider establishing a standalone account if appropriate. You should also consider creating a hashtag unique to the event which will help concentrate discussions. Ideally, the hashtag should refer specifically to the event, but it is also acceptable to use a pre-existing hashtag which revolves around the activities of your company/brand – either way, ensure that the hashtag is used in all your communications.
Schedule Twitter (using Tweetdeck, Buffer, Seesmic or HootSuite) to publish promotions to the event on a regular basis – include weekends.
Completing the information form for a LinkedIn event is similar to Facebook and allows you to share the event with the public, individuals and/or groups on LinkedIn. LinkedIn also presents you with an opportunity to post to both Twitter and Facebook. Ultimately, LinkedIn events are posted to your account as an update which all of your connections can access.
Google+ recently introduced an event feature. Here the event can, helpfully, be separated into three distinct phases – prior to the event, during the event and post event. The event function is customisable and can be personalised while video can be employed as part of the invitation process.
The provision of teal-time updates during an event allows followers and those interested who were unable to attend to feel engaged. Share quotes and some key points from the event as they happen. Encourage attendees to Tweet their reactions to the event and highlight the use of the associated hashtag. Additionally look at the option of creating an event blog.
Share A Recap
Use your website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and resources like Slideshare and YouTube to publish appropriate post-event content which will help further develop your relationship with attendees and anyone else who has developed an interest in your event.
Keep communicating by publishing recaps, summaries and encourage post-event feedback. Finally, email an event summary to all event attendees and thank them for attending.
- Employ unique tracking codes in each of your promotional campaigns – the respective traffic will help focus your resources
- Create an event badge which attendees/speakers can embed in blog sidebars or on websites
- Ensure that all members of staff link to your event landing page in email signatures
- Create a series of pre-event interviews with event speakers which can be shared in audio/video formats
- Consider setting up a live stream of the event for those who cannot attend
- Encourage attendees to use a geo-location service like Foursquare to check-in