March 8th, 2017

10 Ways to Market Your Event with Social Media

by Christine Hennessey

There was a time when advertising an upcoming event, whether it was an annual conference, a half marathon, or a grand opening, used to be pretty straightforward. Print up some fliers, maybe get a spot on the local radio station, send out a few postcards, and hope word-of-mouth works its magic. People would show up. Hopefully, they enjoyed themselves, learned something, or made a purchase. When the event ended, they went home.

Now, thanks to the onslaught of social media, event marketing has entered a whole new realm. In today’s hyper-connected world, we RSVP via Facebook, livetweet conferences, and connect with other attendees through the official hashtag. Social media has opened the door to never-before-seen levels of attendance, engagement, and buzz, which is great news for event marketing. The only thing limiting your event’s success is how effectively you implement these powerful tools.

To help you market your next event with social media, we’re put together the following ten tips. Some of them are specific to a particular platform, while others can be used across multiple accounts. By implementing these ideas, I guarantee your next event will be a success—online and in real life. 

  1. Create a Facebook event.
    If you’re a business or brand, it can be hard to get your Facebook posts in front of your audience’s faces. This is why simply posting about an event isn’t enough—you have to also create an actual event for it. Facebook will automatically connect the event to users’ calendars and send reminders an hour before it begins, which makes your life a whole lot easier. Make sure you follow best practices when creating your event, such as giving it a clear title, writing a thorough description, and adding the exact location. This will help people find your event and encourage them to RSVP.
  2. Cast a wide net.
    As powerful as creating a Facebook event can be, it isn’t enough all by itself. This strategy only helps you reach Facebook users—what about all those people on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat? What about your company blog? You need to post about your event on these platforms as well, especially if you want maximum reach. Make sure you don’t simply cut and paste your event into a tweet or photo – instead, create platform-specific ads and posts that will perform well in each medium. For Twitter, that means hashtags and concise information. For Instagram, it means a great custom photo and a snappy caption.
  3. Focus on great photos.
    A picture’s worth a thousand words, and eye-catching images will capture your audience’s attention more than anything else. You can use photos to build buzz around an event by showing the people who will be involved, the location where it will take place, the freebies and prizes you’ll be giving away, and the snacks and beverages you’ll be serving. If this is an event you’ve held before, use the best images from past years to create buzz for this one. While all social media platforms are unique, the one thing they all have in common is that great photos increase engagement. So go ahead—show people what a good time they’ll have at your event, and they’ll be much more inclined to come.
  4. Run remarketing ads to people who are on the fence about attending.
    Remarketing ads are shown to people who visited your website in the last thirty days. This is really effective for events because often, people who are interested in your event won’t necessarily buy tickets or register on the first try. Sometimes they want to gather information so they can think about it. The problem is that the world is full of distractions, and they might forget to return to your site. By showing remarketing ads, you can keep your event in front of their eyes and on their mind, making them more likely to bite the bullet. Don’t want to show your ad to people who actually bought a ticket? Set the ad to exclude certain website visitors, such as those who viewed the “thank you for registering” page.
  1. Promote an official hashtag for the event.
    If you’ve planned or attended a wedding in the last two years, you know that the wedding hashtag is almost as important as the wedding vows. The same goes for any big event. Hashtags are great because they help aggregate social media posts from the event across all platforms and encourage attendees to stay engaged and involved in the conversation—sometimes even after the event has ended. Another bonus? Encouraging people to use the hashtag will result in more user-generated, which you can re-share at a later time.
  2. Encourage speakers to share their Twitter handles.
    If your event will feature speakers, include their Twitter handles in their bios and other promotional materials. This will encourage attendees to follow them on social media. In some cases, people will even tweet at the speakers while they’re talking, or follow up with them later to ask additional questions. It’s a great way to encourage deeper engagement among your attendees and add value to their experience.
  3. Plan what you’ll post before, during, and after your event.
    A content calendar will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re getting your message out effectively. To post about your event steadily but avoid sounding redundant, change up your focus each time you post. Maybe on Monday you’ll mention sponsors, Wednesday will be devoted to entertainment, Friday will talk about who the event will benefit, etc. Also plan for what kind of coverage you’ll have during the event—this is a great opportunity to experiment with video marketing, which brings us to…
  4. Livestream or record the event.
    Video is huge right now, so filming the event is a must. The most popular social media platforms all offer the ability to livestream, so choose one or two and go live! Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat are all great places to post snippets of the fun while it’s happening. This allows you to share the experience more widely, so that even people who couldn’t make it can still feel involved and included.
  5. Create a Snapchat On-Demand Geofilter for the event.
    Snapchat allows users to create Geofilers for special events that last a specific amount of time. If your event will take place at your store, you can create a Geofiler for just that day. Snapchat has some premade filters that you can edit with your information, but it also allows you to upload unique graphics, such as your logo or hashtag. These Geofilters can be as cheap as $5, depending on how big of an area you want to cover, and are a fun way to encourage attendees to share their experience with their networks.
  6. Thank everyone for coming.
    Your event may be over, but the work continues! A few days after your event is the perfect time to thank those who attended for being a part of your successful event. Email them a great image of the fun and include a selection of the best tweets, posts, and pictures from the hashtag. Don’t forget to add a link to a survey they can fill out while the event is still fresh in their minds. This is a great way to get valuable feedback and highlight those who attended with a little social media love. Include a call to action, such as links to your social media accounts, which make your next event even bigger and better.

I hope these tips gave you some solid ideas for using social media to market your events. If you need additional help ensuring that your next event is a success, contact Sage Island and our team will use all our tools to help spread the word.