Good promotion is key to the success of most events. Planning the event is no easy challenge, but how do you get people to attend?
Get your marketing hat on and make a plan to get your attendees excited about the event. Tell them who will be there, why they should attend and pay some attention to what they will learn from the event. Who else will be attending? Will there be food? Any special performances? What unique experiences will they gain from attending you event? You get the picture. Tell the complete story systematically and use the various platforms that will reach your target audience to do it.
In this post, we explore social media specifically and how to stay on top of your game with regular posting, event hashtags, multiple networking sites and all that fun stuff. Social Media has become such a powerful tool over the years and it might just be the best way to reach your audience.
The beauty of popular apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat is that the conversation never ends. We can continue engaging with our audience even after the event is done, allowing us to get closer to groups and develop an online community, which we can market to in the future.
So where do you begin? With Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all demanding a strategy of their own, it can all seem a bit overwhelming. Here are the basics to get you started.
Develop a strategy
If you want this to work for you, you will need a plan. A good one!
Developing a strategy really helps to get to the bottom of what you are trying to achieve and identifies the best way of achieving it. Your overall strategy should include all the relevant media platforms but for social media, get specific about what to post and when. You will also need to decide what you want people to do when they see your posts. Do you want them to register straight away? Submit a speaking proposal? Visit your website? Follow you? Share your event? Ask yourself all the who, what, where, when, why and how questions and create a plan that makes sense for your event.
Decide which platforms to use – and stick to it.
There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to have presence on all social media networks. Go where your attendees are. Each platform has a specific demographic of users. Which ever one you decide to use, do your research and make sure you understand how it works, the style and type of content you will need to develop and above all, stick to it. Consistency is important.
Dedicate one person to manage your social media activity. If you want to do it well, you will need to invest the time and energy into creating meaningful posts and engaging with followers regularly. It may also be worth assigning someone to handle all live posting during the event as well.
Create an event hashtag
Hashtags are keywords/tags that allow users to see all posts about a particular category or theme. Create a hashtag for your event but keep it short and easy for guests to remember. Avoid creating too many hashtags – it can get confusing and difficult to follow online activity, not to mention annoying! Decide on one hashtag and be sure to include it on all promotional material, directional signage, flyers etc. You might also want to check out our previous post about what your promotional material should always include.
Encourage user generated content
Creating an event specific hashtag means your attendees will post content of their own (including pictures, selfies, tweets, animations etc) allowing everyone to follow the conversation online. This is a great way to get your audience talking about your event and sharing it within their own networks. If done right, this can be pretty powerful. You can encourage this type of content by creating ‘Instagram-worthy’ opportunities onsite; photo backdrops, out-of-the-box conversation starters, live experiences and activations etc.
Monitor the insights
Most social media networking platforms are well equipped with insights and data reporting. Be sure to check this data often to monitor your progress with each platform. If you notice more engagement in one app over another, you know which is worth more time and investment. Remember to listen to the data and adapt your strategy to get the best results.
If you are struggling with your event promotional strategy, contact us to have chat!
Ruby Sohi is founder and lead event planner at Royal Blue Events Management. She has extensive experience in event production and marketing. Actively involved in the community, she has served as a board member for American Marketing Association (Toronto) as VP of Programming & Events and International Live Event Association (Toronto) as VP of Marketing & Communications. Ruby has delivered events across Canada and is experienced in producing all types of events including virtual and hybrid formats. Read her full bio here.