Social media is now intrinsic to everyday life and we use it for everything from keeping in touch with friends, to following global news to planning both personal and business events. With so many of us using social media on a regular basis, the opportunities this presents to marketers are huge. All you need are the right tools and plan to effectively exploit the numerous benefits of social media marketing in your events strategy.
One of the many great things about using social media for events, is that the scale of your event and/or the number of attendees needn’t dictate the level of success you will see from your social strategy. Whether you’re marketing ticket sales to a mass audience on your social platforms or creating small Facebook groups for targeted networking, so long as you’re always mindful of your event objectives, then there is no reason why any type of event couldn’t benefit from utilising these tools.
Here are a few ideas to help you to incorporate the use of social media into your events strategy:
Use Social Media to Promote Your Event
Social media is a great tool for communicating with potential attendees, sponsors and suppliers for your event. Before you begin promoting your event, think about the networks you would like to focus on and begin to schedule your social posts with important information, such as the time, date, location, guest speakers, etc., and schedule these to be posted at relevant times to reach your target market. If you are targeting individuals in another time zone, then you will need to take this into consideration when scheduling your content, to ensure they are seen by the right people.
Research relevant hashtags and include these in your messages, to ensure that your content is reaching a wider audience, but beware of the guidelines around this. For instance, don’t overload your tweets with too many hashtags, 2-3 highly targeted hashtags are best. The optimal number of hashtags on Instagram is 11, but make sure you avoid spammy hashtags, such as #Follow4Follow and only use relevant hashtags instead. Avoid the use of hashtags altogether on Facebook, as research has shown that they are ineffective and considered spammy by most users on this network.
When promoting on Facebook, it can be a good idea to make use of the functionality that allows you to create event pages. This is a great way to keep in contact with attendees and also allows them to engage with others before the event, by creating a mini event community.
Create an Event Hashtag
Creating a unique hashtag for sharing event information, that allows others to contribute and follow an event story, is a crucial element of a social event strategy. You will need to think of a hashtag that is unique, so that it can’t be confused with anything else; something easy to spell, so that content isn’t missed through spelling errors; something easy to remember; and something short, so that it’s easy to share on Twitter.
Use Social Media to Promote Guest Speakers
Include and promote your guest speakers in social posts to advertise why people should be interested in attending your events and to promote your guest speakers. By using your guest speakers’ @mentions, you should benefit from them sharing your content and increasing your social reach. And by promoting your guest speakers to your followers, you will increase the added value to your speakers and if you have a large enough following, you may be able to use this as a tool to both attract guest speakers and to negotiate on price, by raising their profile through your social strategy.
Boost Your Social Campaign Through Ads and Giveaways
If you have a budget for advertising and giveaways then you may like to look at boosting Facebook posts and/or sponsored Instagram posts. Twitter advertising has been shown to be less effective, but this will depend on your type of business and who you are targeting.
Videos are highly effective on Facebook and you could consider using footage and photographs from previous events to create engaging, shareable content to promote your event and increase awareness. Giveaways are great for social shares and are an effective tool to increase your campaign reach.
Use Social Media to Monitor User Experience During the Event
A very clever way to stay engaged with your attendees and to answer any questions or complaints on the day is to monitor your hashtag with a question mark “?” on an integrated platform service, such as Hootsuite. By doing this, you will be able to capture your attendees questions and to reply in a timely manner. This may also help you to spot any problems that arise on the day and to see to issues quickly.
You could also re-share relevant content from your attendees to help create a buzz around the event and to engage with your audience.
Social media is a valuable tool post-event because it allows you to monitor and ask for feedback, which will help to inform future events strategy and to create an even more successful future events.
For assistance with planning your events strategy, get in touch with Wendy at Wendy Marston Events.