Promoting an event can be tedious work. Between leveraging various forms of traditional media, ie: flyers, tv commercials and radio spots, there’s also the whole “social” aspect to consider. Everyone knows WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is one of the best forms of promotion, as most consumers will consult with friends and/or family before making a purchasing decision. Social media gives you a way to stimulate word of mouth recommendations and keep consumers engaged with updates on the given event. But with an array of social media platforms at your disposal, which ones are the best for event promotion and how can you utilize each to it’s fullest potential?
Depending on the event, many different social platforms can be used for both promotion and live updates. However we’ve come to find that three stand out from the crowd in offering the best ways to spark consumer interest, sell tickets, and update live during the event. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all offer a multitude of options to increase awareness, drive traffic to an event’s webpage, and most importantly, provide a place for people to create a conversation about your event and share it with their connections. The following are tried and true methods we at NetWeave have used for our clients that have proven to be successful.
1) Custom Event Hashtag
One of the best ways to gather all conversations about your event in one central location is to create a custom hashtag. We recommend using something short, memorable, and easy to spell. Check Twitter, Facebook and Instagram prior to release to ensure no one else is currently using the hashtag for other purposes.
A great example of such a hashtag is #Snooty65, which we used to promote Snooty the Manatee’s 65th birthday at the South Florida Museum. Not only did we blast this on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but it was also released to the media. This encouraged other companies and news stations to use and promote the hashtag themselves, resulting in increased awareness of the event and more conversations on social media.
2) Ticket Giveaways
A fun way to spread awareness of your event while also getting people excited about attending it is to offer free tickets. There are many different types of contests and sweepstakes you can run on all three social platforms, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep it simple. The more barriers to entry there are, the less people will participate. We found that a simple Facebook “Comment Contest” tends to work best and generates a lot of engagement.
All you have to do is create a post asking fans to answer a particular question related to the event. Give them a deadline to enter and award the fan with the best answer two tickets to your event. Asking fans to retweet or regram an image on Twitter and Instagram respectively are other great options for ticket giveaways. The contest possibilities really are endless so be creative with it! Make it unique, fun, and engaging.
3) A Shareable Video
People respond very well to visual stimulation, and creating a fun preview of your upcoming event can spark a lot of conversation. If your event is an annual one, we suggest putting together footage from the previous year and posting it to YouTube. It can then be shared on Facebook and Twitter. If the event is brand new, come up with a series of short (15 second) sneak peeks and preview them on Instagram. Then encourage people to follow you on IG to see all more sneak previews.
If you take the YouTube route, be sure to keep the video short (under three minutes), upbeat, and fun. Highlight the best parts about your event and show people having a good time. In short- make it something worth sharing! Include a link to your event webpage so people have easy access to purchasing tickets. Here’s an example of a video for The Florida Aquarium’s annual craft beer festival, Brews By The Bay:
4) Facebook Event Tab and Facebook Advertising
One of the easiest ways to have your event attendees share your event with friends is to create a Facebook event listing. Each time a fan shares that they are attending your event, their Facebook connections are notified, which can potentially drive more people to your Facebook Page. Also, now that Facebook has made some significant Timeline layout changes, it would be beneficial to create a Facebook advertisement that drives traffic directly to your FB event listing.
5) Live Tweet/Post/Gram
Don’t make the mistake of thinking event promotion stops as soon as the event begins. Instead take your “social” influence to the next level and encourage people to participate in conversations while attending the event (using the custom hashtag of course). Post photos, share updates, and upload quick videos live to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
We love taking live social media coverage to the next level by setting up a screen at the event where a stream of Tweets and Instagram photos can be projected for attendees to see. This serves as a great incentive to have people participate and share photos of themselves while at the event. We recommend TwitterFall for a live Twitter feed and Eventstagram for a live Instagram feed.
We encourage you to use these tips to promote your next event and would love to hear how it worked for you! Of course, if you need help implementing any (or all) of the above please don’t hesitate to ask.