Events are increasingly becoming a key strategy for marketers. In fact, 63% of marketers plan on investing more in live events, while almost 80% of US marketers use events to boost sales.
The success of an event, however, often hinges on recruiting attendees. Marketers increasingly rely on the use of social media for event marketing. They use it to build excitement, recruit sign-ups, and generate buzz in the media. Social media event marketing has become its own discipline that requires a specific strategy, marketing plan, and budget.
If you’re planning to increase your investment in events this year, you should also consider increasing your social media event marketing budget. Social media and events go hand in hand. Here’s how you can maximize the ROI of these two marketing functions.
Create a social media event marketing strategy
Before we dive into the weeds of using social media for conferences and other events, start by setting a goal for your overall event. Taking the time to write a SMART goal (one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) will help you determine if your event social media marketing worked—and where you can improve.
Here are some examples of goals you could set for your event or conference (assuming, in this example, that your event is taking place on December 1).
- Generate 300 total registrations by December 1.
- Increase paid registrations by 5% by December 1.
- Sell 500 general admission tickets by December 1.
Try to be as clear as possible when defining your objective. Setting a goal ahead of time will help build an effective event social media plan.
How to use social media for events
The goal you set for your event should guide how you use social media in event planning. Once you have your SMART goal in mind:
1. Create a channel-by-channel strategy.
Consider the different audiences you have on each social media channel as you determine where to allocate your resources. For instance, you may have more luck getting paid registrations for your event through LinkedIn rather than on Instagram.
Most event organizers use their social media to link back to one landing page where users can register, buy tickets, and learn more about the event. Rather than trying to sell tickets directly through social media, this setup can help you better track which outreach channels are working best. And it also helps you better understand your conversion rates.
Promoting your event across different channels doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Tools like Clearview Social make it easy to schedule social media posts to be sent at optimal times. PeakTime™ is our smart scheduling algorithm that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find the best times for your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook posts to get the most attention. With PeakTime™, you can improve event signups by making sure your content is scheduled for maximum engagement.
2. Use a hashtag
Hashtags have become an extremely valuable way to promote your content on LinkedIn. These small but mighty symbols help make your content more discoverable; LinkedIn’s algorithm rewards posts with hashtags.
[Read more: The Importance of Using Hashtags On LinkedIn]
For your event, you’ll want to use a hashtag that’s memorable and easily recognizable. Use it as much as you can, not only on LinkedIn but also in your Instagram Stories, sponsors’ websites, newsletters, email marketing, and other social media outreach.
In addition to creating a unique hashtag, consider using some that are already trending. For instance, #localevent or an industry-specific hashtag, like #HRconference, can help potential attendees find and learn about your upcoming event. Check with your venue and see if they use any hashtags regularly that you can include.
3. Engage influencers to promote the event
Many marketing professionals hear “influencer marketing” and imagine their budget vanishing into thin air. But, for event marketing, your best influencers already work for you: your employees!
The people who work at your company are already connected on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook to potential attendees. And they want to help your events succeed. Let your employees participate by making it easy to share social media posts about the upcoming event.
Clearview Social’s Employee Advocacy platform can help streamline the process of tapping into your employee’s professional connections to recruit event participants. Simply create and share a queue of social media posts with your employees via email. Employees can choose which content they wish to share on their personal channels in just one click. Then, watch the registrations roll in.
4. Host contests and giveaways
Ask your followers on social media to share your event for a chance to win a free entry. These types of promotions are a win-win for your event. You’re galvanizing your existing followers to spread the word on your behalf while recruiting the winners of your giveaway to attend in person. It’s great publicity with relatively little investment on your part.
Keep in mind that you may need to consult legal counsel before hosting a giveaway, raffle, or contest; the state-by-state rules around these promotions can be strict.
5. Try geo-targeting
Geo-targeting is the practice of creating ad campaigns based on your target audience’s geographic location. And, when it comes to your social media event strategy, geo-targeting helps ensure you’re only spending money reaching those who could feasibly attend the event.
Many social media platforms allow you to narrow down your paid campaigns to reach audience members within a zip code, city, or state. Utilize these filters if your event is in-person or hybrid. This practice can also help you narrow down the number of people who register and don’t attend—a great benefit if you’re worried about capacity.
Best practices for social media for events
As you consider your event social media strategy, keep some of these best practices in mind.
Stick to a timeline
Events are unique in that they have an expiration date. If someone missed out on registration, it’s possible that they won’t be able to attend at all. Avoid frustrated followers by setting up guard rails against sharing an outdated registration link. Clearview Social has a feature that allows you to expire a post after an event has passed to avoid employees sharing old content. When you are setting up a post, just set the event date, and the rest is automated.
Use a social media content calendar
Sticking to a timeline is much easier when your posts are organized and planned ahead of time in a social media content calendar. Content calendars clarify the timing and content type of different posts, allowing your team to manage social media accounts more effectively.
Capture event content
Events can generate tons of content that you can use in future outreach. Think of ways to write blog posts about the event, film interviews with speakers, or share photos and videos that you didn’t have time to post during the event.
Using social media for event promotion is a powerful way to spread the word about your brand. Events generate lots of interest and engagement. And social media is an optimal way to recruit sign-ups for your next conference, networking event, training, or celebration.
Learn more about how Clearview Social can help you manage event marketing on social media. Get in touch to request a free demo today.