Social media and events go hand-in-hand. It has become an integral part of every event marketing strategy and plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between marketers and their audiences. But as simple as it seems, effectively promoting an event on social media is not an innate gift. Every post and update is required to have a specific intended outcome that determines how easily your event is found online and whether your prospects buy into your event or not.
In our previous blog, we broadly covered the important aspects of social media engagement at events. In this blog, we aim to take you through a few sure-shot tips to help your event stand out from the rest and boost event registrations and attendance.
Hashtags are essentially keywords that sum up what you are talking about. Using a hashtag while posting content online allows social networking sites to bookmark and index them to increase visibility and discoverability. Moreover, hashtags allow you to search for and track relevant conversations with your audience.
But how do you know which hashtags work great for your event? For one, if this is the first time you are organizing this event, it is important to choose a hashtag that hasn’t been used before. And if you are organizing consequent chapters, it is important you use hashtags that you have used for them earlier. For example, if your event is named XYZ and you have organized a chapter last year using #XYZ17, you could use #XYZ18 for this year’s rendition.
The next step would be to identify relevant hashtags to go with every post you put up online. For this, you could use related hashtags by either taking note of hashtags that your influencers have used or utilize tools like hashtagify.me. Once you have done this, compile a list of target hashtags and ensure you use them in every post.
Facebook and LinkedIn
Facebook and LinkedIn are great platforms to engage with your target audience, especially for trade shows. But to sufficiently engage them on these platforms, you have to go beyond simply publishing a handful of posts from time to time.
The first step to achieve success is to create Facebook and LinkedIn Events. Most users browse these platforms through their smartphones and sync their calendars with these apps. These are two of the biggest advantages that these platforms have to offer. This means that you can reach them easily and ensure that they are reminded about your event when needed. But planning and coordinating the delivery of content is not as easy as it seems. Everything from the description to the photos and tags that you use will play a role in how successful your campaigns are.
The next step in finding success with these two platforms is to create ads. Facebook and LinkedIn constantly update their algorithms to promote the most relevant content. Boosting events through ads and carefully curating content increases the possibility of reaching your target audience and helps drive traffic to the event and company pages.
Twitter is the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to events. According to a study by EventBrite, Twitter has a large user base and is the most popular platform among high-income millennials. Therefore it is a great way to get the biggest part of the target demographic involved. The only disadvantage is that tweets have a limited lifespan. This means that timing plays an enormous role in ensuring that Twitter campaigns are a success.
Related: A brief guide on marketing to millennials at events
Creating a Twitter list is a great way of boosting engagement. Create a list of people you need to follow – attendee organizations, influencers, bloggers, vendors, prospects, existing customers, etc. Hopefully, a percentage of these will follow you back. This gives you a repository of contacts that you can engage with and tag whenever necessary at various points leading up to the event.
Live tweeting is also an important aspect of engaging with customers while the event is taking place. When used correctly, you can draw attention to certain sessions and can engage with audiences in real-time.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and processes about 3 billion searches every month. That should be reason enough to treat it as an important social channel and include it in your event marketing strategy.
But there’s something about YouTube that stands out from the rest on this list. Although this platform has an undoubtedly vast reach, users do not want to see anything sales related. They look for videos that fulfill their momentary needs. This means that anything product related is going to be shut down. The trick, therefore, is to create and promote content that triggers positive emotional responses, creates the fear of missing out, and encourages shareability. Promoting the ‘experience’, for example is a great way of finding success on YouTube.
Make sure to take a ton of videos and promote them simultaneously on your event’s channel. You can use YouTube to promote a teaser video before the event starts, relay important information when you are a few weeks out and make announcements and reminders when you are closer to the day of the event. You can also use snippets of the videos you have taken during the event for Facebook and LinkedIn promotions.
Images make for great content. The platform focuses on harnessing the power of pictures and boasts an engagement rate that is three times greater than any other platform including Facebook and Twitter. This enormous level of engagement can be leveraged to great advantage. You can use pictures to tell a story about your brand and build excitement for the event.
Consistent engagement is what drives success. With Instagram, it is important to take extra care to source out the right hashtags (see tip #1). You can double these efforts up by adding to your event account’s story and conducting polls. The key to winning on Instagram is to keep an eye on quality and post consistently. The more consistent your content is, the more engagement you are bound to see.
Your company is constantly on the lookout for ways to grab and retain attendee attention at the event. Promotional contests are a great way to get your attendees excited and drive engagement. A contest could help you achieve a number of tasks like driving traffic to a particular page, gain more followers, promote specific sessions or keynotes, and build brand awareness. But organizing great contests on social media boils down to thematics and how effective your content is in driving engagement.
One way of initiating engagement is by creating a retweet contest when you are three weeks out. This not only helps you spread the word but will ensure that you form crucial connections when you hand over the prize on the day of the event.
You could organize a follow-to-win contest on Instagram as well. Essentially, a follow-to-win is a contest where you use an Instagram post to get more followers to your account and direct traffic to a specific page while organizing a lucky draw of sorts.
The best thing about organizing contests is that you are guaranteed a great turnout because attendees are anticipating the outcome. Prizes are usually announced during key moments at the event and most participants would want to attend the event on the chance that they may win.
Slideshare is a passive tool when it comes to event promotion strategy. But it is extremely useful for attendees. The best way to make use of this tool is to upload speaker presentations and slides for attendees to refer to at a later point. You can also promote these presentations on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for those who want to go back to the slides for reference.
Feedback is an integral part of the event promotion process. As a marketer, you need to know what worked for you and what did not. And you also need to keep an eye out on what your audience is talking about you. Social aggregators and listening tools help you keep track of conversations that are important to your event and brand.
Using social aggregators can be a great way to ensure that your customers are engaged sufficiently and creating a buzz about the event themselves. Not only is it important to pay attention to what they are saying but also to respond whenever necessary with as minimum a time delay as possible. This tells them that you are paying attention to what they are saying and are actively responding to them as and when needed. Ensure that there is one person assigned to every account and and ensure you give them a timeframe within which they respond.
Attendees at events are constantly bombarded with information, most of which they forget. This generally makes it difficult to get your content to reach your target audience at the event. Luckily, influencers and micro-influencers can help with that. Since they have a massive following and are known to be thought leaders in their space, influencers can help you reach your audiences by speaking and vouching for you. Influencers can help you promote events and keynotes using their social media accounts. It is important to form the right objectives and game plans while getting them to promote your content online.
Related: How to create a mind-blowing influencer program at B2B events
These are just a few tips to help you increase your reach on social media. Use these tips at your next event and let us know what you think in the comments section below. If you like this blog, take a look at our comprehensive guide to organizing events and trade shows from scratch. Download your free copy here: