Social media in event promotion – useful tips for event marketers
There are so many different social media these days, it may be hard to keep up what’s the latest trend. Yet, their popularity proves their importance as a marketing tool. In the event industry they’re the basis too obvious to mention. However, it’s the most common things that have the biggest potential. We invite you to look at this topic from a different point of view and get to know everything about social media in event industry.
Why do need social media for your events?
I have staggering news for you: 81% of the whole USA population uses social media. While terms like e-marketing and digital marketing are still really important, you can’t allow yourself to forget about your presence on SM – it’s one of the most certain ways to reach new customers. Therefore, this environment also becomes more and more competitive. You have to be selective about everything: your target group, your content and the platforms you use. It’s better to create less of really good content than a whole lot of rubbish nobody will even look at. So when I got this idea of creating a guide about social media in events I knew instantly that it’s a good direction.
To be truthful, this is a huge topic. You could create a different article on promotional options on every social media platform and it wouldn’t be enough. That’s why today I will only talk about the first step – choosing the platform, setting your goals and deciding what kind of content to publish. It’s the beginning. But it is also worthy a note that social media should be a part of something bigger. Your whole event promotion strategy. It should create a synergic effect together with all of your other digital content. So, it’s a means to achieve your goal. Other means should include for example ads, videos, email marketing, blog posts, interviews and so on.
The biggest social media platforms
With over 2.2 billion monthly active users Facebook remains the biggest platform in the industry. It’s also probably the most advertise-friendly media, though it changes rapidly. Mostly because of its advanced paid ad system. Together with Facebook you can direct your adverts to the right target groups based on their job, interests or any other factors. This has a special meaning for events which tend to focus on a theme/topic – it allows you to distinguish the right people and, therefore, make your ad campaign more successful. Especially if you take the marvelous potential of Facebook groups into it. Let’s imagine you’re making an event about mobile technology. You can look for groups centered on all sorts of things concerning mobiles: from technology geeks to Apple review group. The potential hidden there may surprise you. Be careful, though – people do not like spam content and they tend to be even more strict about it in groups where they can simply throw you out for unnecessary content.
There are a couple of other limitations to this platform, unfortunately. While being the most popular social media, Facebook is considered more popular for B2C businesses – it’s way easier to contact your clients/attendees like that. Now, that doesn’t mean B2B is excluded. When used in a clever way it can both attract attendees and be used as a means to build business contacts. It just requires some shrewdness. So, what are the other restrictions? Well, if the advantage is the ability to publish different content, then the disadvantages appear for example with your paid ad campaigns. The rule is: if you’re posting pictures advertising your event, the text shouldn’t take more than 20% of the entire space. Otherwise it will do worse when it comes to positioning or displaying. The platform has actually quite a lot of those little rules you need to know, so be careful when promoting stuff.
If you’re reading our blog, then you already know how important it is to gather data about your marketing activity and analyze it, especially when it comes to events. Luckily, Facebook has a feature called Facebook Analytics which can be incredibly helpful in this case. And lastly, there is Facebook Events. Every event should have their own page there. It may become even more interesting when creating a series of events – maybe you could create a profile for your organization and then individual events for every time a new edition comes? That would create a community of attendees engaged in your whole venture – not only at the time of event.
Facebook’s smaller sister is doing great with 330 million monthly active users. Twitter’s main advantage over Facebook is that both customers and businesses use it accordingly, enabling you to do both B2C and B2B marketing. The content is shorter, more relaxed, you could say. Many smaller businesses are very active on Twitter and using this platform definitely gives you a chance to meet future game-changers in the industry (same goes for events). It’s also a very direct communication method. No long posts, just thousands of very short messages letting you keep up with everything within a couple of minutes. Many people decide to comment something live using Twitter – it’s a great thing for your social stream.
Some say that Twitter’s 280 characters per message limit is a disadvantage, other think it’s actually an asset. It’s difficult to tell the answer – I would guess it differs according to the type of business you have. Leaving that one behind, Twitter’s most powerful creation are definitely hashtags. If you’re clever and pick the right one you may attract attention of many people. It’s especially important with the event – if you post a memorable hashtag you’re able to create a powerful community, and if your hashtag becomes popular it will land on Twitter’s hot trends giving you even more exposure. The platform also has an advertise feature, similar to the Facebook one. It’s a perfect addition to your strategy as it allows quite flexible approach.
Somewhat more serious and mature compared to the previous ones, LinkedIn recently informed the world about acquiring 500 million users – a huge milestone for the company. Like I said, it is directed towards business contacts, not really the personal ones. It makes it perfect for B2B. You should know one more thing: LinkedIn users expect adverts. It’s commonly accepted to do promotion in there. If your event tries to entice people from a specific industry, or you’re looking for partners/sponsors/speakers – basically anything for your event – it’s the best place.It’s a good idea to ask influencers and other interesting people about possible cooperation. LinkedIn is a very good place to work on your promotion, both for attendees and possible future cooperators.
However, as always, not everything is so shiny. One of the main disadvantages of this platform is the cost users have to pay for ads. And even as the ads are expected, the click-through rate usually ends up being low.
Snapchat, Youtube, Instagram
For a long time Youtube was a space for amateur vloggers, celebrities and other popular persona. It evolved and changed into a complexed platform used pretty much as often as Facebook. It was something we all could expect. You see, it’s incredibly easy for people to remember pictures – and even better – moving pictures with sounds. Leaflets, posts and photos disappear in the black void of our minds within days if not hours. But videos – yes, they stay a bit longer. Just enough for a customer to buy something.
Youtube knew how to take advantage of that. Nowadays its promotional capabilities are infinite. Depends on what sort of event you’re managing, you can use it in many different ways. Now there are tutorials, spots, vlogs, video messages, teasers etc. just choose what is right for you and go for it by promoting your videos everywhere you can. It’s a very good idea to combine two or more social media to promote your event. And still, there are paid ads. There is a whole variety of them. Short spots, longer spots, the ones you can skip after a couple of seconds, the ones you can’t skip, images displayed next to the videos picked to match your interests and search results. Promoting your events with videos is definitely easier than advertising washing machines like that, though it may be a bit more challenging in case of budget and skills.
More about that…
So, Snapchat and Instagram are a bit similar. Both are used to post pictures, short videos and gifs – so yes, no long articles in here. Both of these media have a “stories” section where posts appear to other users for 24 hours. Instagram allows for short films or gifs. This platform is perfect for creating more laid-back event communities and helps a lot with engaging people in the whole process of creating and promoting events. The biggest minus of these platforms is probably the age of the users. Despite their popularity those social media entice mostly very young people. That is pretty much the opposite of LinkedIn. It’s great to use them for creating a certain image of the brand, some events were also using it for contact with people during the event: inserting special videos and sneak peaks. Most people love posting pictures of famous speakers with them. It is another perfect opportunity to use the hashtag you created on your Twitter account. This way your attendees will be able to see what’s happening everywhere during the event . Also, while creating a campaign on Facebook, you can also post it on your Instagram since these platforms share the owner.
There are many other social media I could put in here, but that’s not the thing. The more profiles you have the more difficult managing them becomes. Remember about that. It’s more about quality than quantity. Repeating the same content on many social media is not a good idea. Your faithful followers may get bored by the same content seen over and over.
Wrap Up – Social media in event promotion: what content should you create?
All in all, social media are a very wide and interesting topic. You cannot dismiss them but working out the right social media marketing strategy is no mean feat. After choosing the right platforms, it’s good to create different content for each of them. It doesn’t mean you have to write the same message in three ways just to gain viewers’ attention. Sometimes just small changes engage people to read the statement again, in case something new was added. It’s important to find your voice – depending on your business, your language and content shouldn’t be too stiff or too childish.
Every marketing team knows that it is important to monitor their competition. Use any software to monitor your image online. You can always know when people are mentioning you or some of your events in the internet. You can also look at your competition and other important topics relevant for example for your event.
It’s vital to choose the best social media for your event. Every one of those is different – that’s why you should really think your strategy through. Your goal and your target group will prompt you as to which platform you should choose.
Take this away with you:
- Choose the right platform
- Create a strategy
- Upload regularly
- Help your attendees create a community
- Monitor your competition
- Analyze, analyze and analyze!