Using social media to promote events is more necessary than ever. It’s accessible, it’s easy and everyone is on social media anyway.
- POST REGULARLY ABOUT YOUR EVENT
Posting once in a while about your event you won’t get the awareness you need to get people to join. Make people feel as if they are going to miss out. Post regularly across all your channels and make sure that you include a link to your website or event page in every post.
- RUN COMPETITIONS
To encourage people to share your posts, run a competition before or during the event. For instance, if you are organising a fun run, ask your followers to take photos of themselves training for the event and to share those photos on social media. Offer them a prize like a t-shirt, food-hamper or free race entry. Competitions encourage sharing so you could get loads of new followers or event attendees this way.
- CREATE A HASHTAG
During the event, and even before, use hashtags and also make sure that someone is live-tweeting about the event and retweeting any posts made by those attending. You can also set up live streaming through platforms like Meercat, so people can watch online and see what they are missing out on.
- REAL-TIME RESPONSES
Social media users expect real-time responses, especially on Twitter. So if queries or complaints go unanswered for longer than 24 hours, they may either lose interest or become extremely frustrated by your lack of engagement. Make sure someone who is as invested in the campaign as you are is there to manage online comments, queries and complaints. Make it super easy and fun for people to work with you. And a sense of humour won’t hurt either!
MANAGE THE GRAM
As of November 2017, Instagram was the third most popular social media site – after Facebook and YouTube. It has approximately 800 million users, and is proving to be one of the best platforms for brands to engage with their audience effectively, largely because:
- 200 million accounts look at a business profile each day
- one in three small business on Instagram say they built their business using the platform
- 45% of small businesses on Instagram say they have increased their sales because of Instagram
(Stats from: https://business.instagram.com/a/toolkit)
One new feature Instagram has that could be especially valuable for event planners is Instagram Stories. Based on Snapchat stories (which has also spawned versions on Facebook, YouTube and Whatsapp), Instagram Stories allow users to create their own story board, a collection of photos and up to 10-second long videos, and adding hashtags, filters and stickers, as well as special effects. And like Snapchat stories, an Instagram Story will disappear after 24 hours.
“What?!” you scream in horror at the idea of creating new content that will only be viewable for 24 hours. As counter-intuitive as this may seem, it’s actually what makes the platform so powerful. Knowing that the content is time sensitive, many users cannot stand the FOMO (fear of missing out) and so will be curious to take a peek at what you’ve posted.
(Also, you can now save your stories on the Stories Highlights tab, or archive them so that you can retrieve and reuse them, or elements of them, again at a later stage.)
Ideas for Instagram Stories
Because stories normally disappear so quickly, they are the perfect place to test new ideas and be creative. Here are some examples of the type of content you could try:
- Teasers – build some hype and excitement about what to expect at your event, with hints and clues to keep everyone guessing. This could be about who the speakers will be, the entertainment, a theme for the decor, or even the venue.
- Behind the scenes images – people are always curious about the things they cannot normally see, so let them in to see some of your behind the scenes at events, or even during the planning and prepping process.
- Run a flash sale or promotion – such as discounted tickets, available for 24 hours only.
A hint from Instagram is to remember to think about the sound on your videos, as 60% of users will watch your content with their sound on.
Encourage your attendees to ‘gram it up’.
Remember to consider how your event attendees use Instagram. You’ll want to encourage them to create their own stories at your event, so think about having photo-friendly decor and props, and unusual entertainment or activities that are likely to make them want to capture it on video to share with their friends. And don’t forget to display your hashtag prominently in different places, so that it gets included into this user-generated content.