Why a Social Media Event Marketing Strategy is Your Best Friend
Much like any aspect of social media, there has never before been more competition for the attention of your audience in the event space. Take a look at any online community calendar and you’ll see an ocean of events across the days and weeks. It’s no wonder, either! Events are a great way of moving all attendees a step further along their marketing journey.
And while planning an event is already an involved process, promoting it on social media is of vital importance to its overall success. All your hard work is for naught if no one is there to see it! Fortunately, you can leverage your social following and each platform’s suite of tools to spread the Good Word about your event.
Let’s say you’re hosting a party or dinner for your brand. You’ve secured an awesome venue, booked a DJ who has a more sophisticated playlist than “The Cha Cha Slide,” and have a catering menu that includes those little sausages in the brown sauce. Regardless, events like these are never cheap and likely are large campaign focuses for your business, so it’s important to treat them as such!
Creating Your Social Promotion Checklist
There are a few important branding steps to get out of the way. One of the first things you’ll want to do is secure some sort of landing page to send attendees to. There are plenty of options, whether it’s an Eventbrite page or a custom landing page on your own website, use this as a hub of information and as well as a means to organize RSVPs and ticket sales.
In addition, you’ll want to get social branding for your event settled on. Namely, if you’ll incorporate an event hashtag or not. The branded hashtag can be a boon or bane for your event, depending on how you implement it. I think we’ve all been to a party where we took home a plastic cup with #AnExtremelyLongEventNameNoOneWantsToUse and, as expected, never once used that hashtag on our personal social channels. It may seem like establishing your own event hashtag will be nothing more than an exercise in screaming into the void, but there are a few steps you can take to increase the likelihood of its use and thus, more of that sweet, sweet user-generated content (UGC.)
- Make your hashtag as short as possible and if it’s a recurring event, consider tossing in the year as well to help post-event content organizing easier. Turn #Dave’sBoxSocialExtravaganza2020 into #DBSE20
- Create a space at the venue that people will want to take photos at. A well-lit backdrop, perhaps with a professional camera set-up and crew to manage it. Watch the photos roll in after the event, as well as the FOMO from folks who didn’t attend.
- Make sure your hashtag doesn’t mean something else entirely. Search it on Twitter and Instagram, as well as Urban Dictionary. For example, the British Organization of Freelance Artists may want to stay away from #BOFA.
Now that you’ve got your hashtag and event branding in order, you’ll want to invest in promoting your event to the masses. This is really where social media marketing shines! I recommend connecting your Eventbrite landing page to a Facebook event page, replacing your Instagram’s “link in bio” with a direct conversion link to buy tickets, and really think about putting paid spend in promoting your event to a focused, target audience.
Let’s Get Down to Business (to Plan an Effective B2B Social Media Event Marketing Strategy)
For our friends in the B2B world who are likely putting on events like webinars or tradeshows, you face very similar challenges that, when you get down to it, aren’t so different from those in the B2C space. Landing pages, hashtags, and ad spend are still just as important for tradeshows and webinars, but it’s worth contemplating how best to leverage the thought-leadership of your attending talent. After all, your keynote speaker Jane Doe, (VP of Operations) is as much an influencer in her industry as any Instagram fashion blogger is in theirs. Try setting up lists of your speakers/moderators in Twitter and LinkedIn so you can share any of their content that’s relevant to your event.
Live-tweeting during the proceeding is a good way to generate conversation with participants and attendees. If your venue allows it, think about erecting a “tweet” wall with a live stream of incoming tweets using your event hashtag. However, if going this route, it is of paramount importance that you really screen your hashtag ahead of time to make sure your event doesn’t take on a double meaning and audience members see some truly shocking stuff during a keynote address. If you’re really worried, though, most “tweet wall” programs are equipped with some sort of moderation tools.
You also don’t need to be putting on the show to reap the benefits of event content! If your company is attending a tradeshow, webinar, party, etc, you’re still more than capable of generating a lot of great posts for your business. Showcasing your attendance illustrates industry clout, your business’ position on the cutting edge, and allows you to show off employees and talent.
After the Big Day
So, you did it! You’ve put on a great event, stuffed to the gills with enthusiastic attendees who are clamoring for the next one. Time to dust your hands and never think about it again, huh? Wrong! After-event coverage is just as, if not more important than the coverage during. You’ll want to start sharing great UGC, organize and publish recaps, perhaps add your Instagram Story coverage into a dedicated Story Highlight on your page, and overall show the shlubs who didn’t attend this year’s event that they truly missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but never fear, because next year’s event is going to be even better! If you need help creating your social media event marketing strategy, we’re here to help!