Planning to host an event this year? Whether it’s a seminar, a small meeting, or a large conference, social media are powerful tools to help you promote any event. According to Eventbrite nearly 25% of traffic to ticketing and registration pages comes from social media.
Read on to learn about how you can leverage the power of social media to create buzz around your upcoming events in 2018.
Before Your Event Kicks Off
Start your preparations as early as possible to maximise promotion.
1. Create a Dedicated Landing Page
A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form. Create your event landing page using one of the many free tools available to you, or use an online event management service like Eventbrite.
Through the Eventbrite website, you create a single point of entry landing page for your event. From there, you can start selling tickets while Eventbrite collects registration information. (Note: there are no fees to use the service when you have a free event, but if you wish to collect money through sales, you’ll get charged by Eventbrite).
2. List Your Event on Facebook
A Facebook event listing provides an easy way for attendees to share your event with their friends.
To create a Facebook event, follow these steps:
· Click Events in the left menu of your Facebook News Feed
· Click Create and fill in the event name, details, location and time
· You’ll then be taken to the event page event where you can invite guests, upload photos, share posts and edit event details.
Read 2 Quick Ways to Sell More Tickets on Facebook for more ideas.
3. Promote Your Event with Facebook Advertising
Consider using Facebook ads to extend promotional reach. With Facebook organic reach falling — the vast majority of your Facebook fans do not see your content unless you pay for them to see it — ads can help you target a specific demographic so you can better reach your ideal audience.
4. Assign an Event Hashtag
Hashtags (#) can be used on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and most popularly on Twitter. They are a great way for people to follow along with your event through a simple search on their social media networks. You should have your hashtag ready to go from the moment you begin promoting your event. Ideally it should be something you can use after the event — so there is no need to include the year when creating it.
How to create an effective conference hashtag
- Make it short — leave some room for re-tweets.
- Make it intuitive and relatable to your event but not so generic that it’s confused with something else.
- Make it easy to remember and type — many people will be tweeting from a smart phone or tablet.
- Make sure it isn’t already in use. You don’t want to duplicate an existing hashtag which may result in two simultaneous but very different conversations colliding on Twitter. Do a Twitter search to find out. Since twitter’s search history is short, expand your reach using a tool like hastags or twubs.
- Make sure your chosen hashtag doesn’t have a meaning that can be misconstrued (check urban dictionary).
- Monitor the hashtag on a daily basis so you can engage with people who use it — and also to see if someone else is using it for something unrelated.
Recommended Reading How To Use Hashtags For Your Event
5. Promote Your Event Hashtag
Once you’ve decided on a hashtag, your next step is to promote it. Display your hashtag as a Twitter feed on your website and event landing page. Tag all your event-related tweets, images and other social network updates using the hashtag. Print the hashtag on all your event material and include speakers’ and attendees’ Twitter names on conference badges. Incorporate social sharing buttons at the end of your event’s registration process which includes the hashtag.
6. Make a Promotional Video
Video is an engaging way to promote your event in mere moments. In fact, according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words! Use video to generate interest, highlight the value of attending, offer a sneak peak of what attendees can expect, and recap on a previous similar event.
Host your video on YouTube and Vimeo (although it has a smaller number of users, Vimeo offers HD playback and no disruptive ads). Upload it to Facebook and to your event landing page (video has the potential to increase landing page conversions by up to 80%).
7. Organize Free Ticket Contests
People love free things so create buzz by giving away some tickets to your event through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter contests. There are many ways to do this but the simplest is to invite people to share why they want to attend and post on the relevant social network using the event hashtag.
8. Share Guest Speaker Expertise
Show people what they can expect to learn from the event by sharing your guest speakers’ expertise through blogs, quotes, and interviews in the months and weeks leading up to your event.
9. Create a Branded Graphic for Your Speakers
Use a tool like Canva to create branded images of speakers with your event logo and hashtag. Encourage presenters to use them on their social media profiles.
10. Design a Snapchat Geofilter
Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters lets you design custom filters people can use on their snaps based on a custom location you define (most cities have geofilters, and Snapchat also creates seasonal geofilters for cultural events). To create a geofilter, you will need to submit an illustration to Snapchat for review. For any photos or videos taken on Snapchat at your event’s location, users can layer your filter over the image.
11. Build Twitter Lists of Speakers and Attendees
A list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can make lists private or publically viewable and invite people to subscribe to your lists. It’s a super tool for attendees to see who will be there and network with each other in advance of the event. Here’s an example of a conference list created for HubSpot’s 2014 conference for inbound marketers with over 2,700 list members.
12. Host a Pre-Event Twitter Chat
Twitter chats are conversations on twitter scheduled at a particular time and based around a topic defined by a hashtag. Consider hosting a one-off, or a series of chats focussed on your event theme(s). Invite your guest speakers to host or co-host these chats. A good Twitter chat will move fast, so use a tool like TweetChat to help you manage the chatter.
13. Pique Interest with Behind-The-Scenes Pictures
Give people a behind-the-scenes look at preparations before the event with images you can then post to Instagram and Snapchat. Get creative with Snapchat and add text, emojis, and draw on image to share fun facts about the event or share an exclusive coupon code.
During The Event
It’s showtime! Here’s where all that preparation pays off.
Live video was a big trend in 2016 helping users to attract, engage, entertain and build relationships with their audience in a more authentic way. This trend is set to grow even bigger in 2017. One of the best ways to use video during an event is to get people talking about the conference’s content, both in person and online. Capture the energy and enthusiasm of the event using Facebook Live and Periscope (Twitter’s live-streaming tool).
15. Get Snapping
Encourage event attendees to send out snaps at the event using your custom geofilter.
16. Live Tweet
Live tweeting is a way of engaging your Twitter followers by sending updates about an event as it occurs. Live-tweeters use the hashtag relevant to the event they are tweeting. Designate a person from your team to tweet live from the event, retweet tweets from attendees (both on and off-line) and answer any questions that come via Twitter.
17. Use a Tweet Wall
Consider displaying your hashtag on a screen so that your audience can view the related tweets in real time.
There are many tweet wall apps and software to choose from, some of which are free and even open source (paid options offer more customization like moderating spam tweets).
18. Create Twitter Moments
Twitter Moments — a tab on desktop and mobile that shows the top news stories trending right now — allows you to curate a series, or gallery, of tweets revolving around a particular theme, such as a developing news story or cultural meme.
Follow this step-by-step guide to create your first Twitter Moments.
After The Event
So your event is over but your use of social media doesn’t end just yet. Now comes the time to consolidate your efforts and build on your success.
19. Analyse Twitter Activity
Analyse tweets tagged with your Twitter account and hashtag for feedback on which speakers and topics resonated with the audience, how attendees rated the physical environment (layout, sound, lighting, etc), catering, hospitality, parking, and any other details which will help you make your next event even better. Speakers may also gain valuable feedback from reading conference tweets to help them prepare for their next talk. It can also be an opportunity to follow up with conference attendees to answer questions, clarify information and expand on discussions initiated via social media.
20. Turn Event Tweets into a Storify
Pull the conference tweets together into a coherent narrative with a tool like Storify. Publish it on your website and promote it through social networks.
New to Storify? Read my step-by-step guide to creating your first Storify.
21. Publish A Recap
Publish event highlights, videos, blogs and images of key moments from your event. Upload presentation slides to Slideshare and tweet a link to the slides using the event hashtag. Embed the slide-decks on your blog or website, alongside attendees’ tweets, your Storify and Twitter Moments.
Finally, don’t stop interacting with your online audience. Respond to post-conference feed-back, thank attendees, tweet links to session recordings, blog posts, and slides. It’s entirely possible to keep the momentum you’ve created going and by whetting people’s appetite you should be able to entice even more people to attend your next event.
Check out Eventbrite’s downloadable guide to mastering social media for events.
Recommended Reading: How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event