Planning an event? Using social media to promote it is a given. However, are you using the right social media for your events? When it comes to event promotion, some networks may attract a bigger following than others.
A smart promoter knows to actively market the event before, during, and after the event. During each of these three phases, you should be sure to utilize the social media network most appropriate for that phase of the event marketing lifecycle.
Before The Event
What you do before the event determines the eventual turnout, so you have a lot of work to do in the weeks leading up to the big conference. Obviously, you should incorporate more than one social media platform into your campaign, but which ones are best?
According to a report by Marketing Profs, Facebook is rated as the most effective social media tools for event promotion and is used by 84% of event planners.
Facebook’s gargantuan number of users, 1.5 billion to date, is what makes the platform so appealing. It’s really all about the numbers during the pre-event social media marketing phase. The purpose of using social media for events at the beginning of the event lifecycle is to:
Increase awareness of the event, meeting or conference
Drive visitors to the event website - thereby boosting ticket sales
Create a networking community to introduce attendees and potential attendees to your event
Since it’s easy to share content within Facebook, by either posting it on a timeline or via direct messages, Facebook users can seamlessly use the platform to share your event page with their connections. Unlike other platforms, content shared by friends is more likely to be seen than on other social media platforms.
For highly professional events, Facebook may be too personal for your attendees. If that’s the case, consider creating a networking group and implementing a marketing campaign on LinkedIn instead.
During The Event
Once the event is in progress, Twitter becomes the number one social media platform for events. The reason becomes clear when you consider that most event attendees will be away from their computers. Since 63% of Twitter users access the platform through their mobile device, compared to 34% for social media networks as a whole, Twitter will likely be the favored social media platform for your event attendees. (click to tweet)
To encourage attendees to get active on Twitter, consider using Twitter walls. These display monitors enable Twitter messages to be displayed. They should be situated in strategically placed areas during the event.Twitter walls encourage users to submit tweets of their own, which in turn causes your event hashtag to trend online. A trending hashtag makes your event’s Twitter profile more easily discoverable, meaning you’ll be able to increase your social media reach and potentially boost ticket sales to next year’s event.
Roughly one in four smartphone users in the United States use Instagram several times a day, so it’s no surprise that Instagram is heavily favored when an event is in progress. (click to tweet)
After The Event
The best time to boost ticket sales to next year’s event, is right after this year’s event has finished. That’s why it’s critical that event organizers use social media right after an event has concluded.
Here you should use Facebook or LinkedIn to engage with community members via their group networking platforms.
Provide members of these groups a special early bird ticket and guarantee them that the tickets won’t be discounted further in the future. This will help to encourage them to buy a ticket now, rather than waiting for discounts later on - ultimately this tactic will help you to boost ticket sales.
Your work isn’t done once you’ve reached out to group members on Facebook and LinkedIn. You must also engage with attendees on Twitter and on Instagram. You can start by direct messaging event attendee who follow you on Twitter. Message them a link to a discounted ticket for next year’s event and thank them for attending this year’s gathering.
Engage with event attendees sharing photos from your event on Instagram. To do this, you can like or comment on their photo and direct them to your event website by writing your event website URL in a comment.
Prior to the start of your event, consider using a social media platform that makes it easy for attendees to share your event with one another. The platform you select should support pre-networking communities. Facebook and LinkedIn and both good options for pre-event promotion.
During your event, attendees will naturally take to Twitter and Instagram, given well-studied usage statistics. So, as an event organizer it’s critical that you engage with attendees during your event on these social media platforms.
After your event, it’s a great time to sell tickets to next year’s gathering. To do this, engage with event attendees on each of the social networks they have taken to. That will likely mean you’ll need to reach out to event attendees on Facebook and/or Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.
Using social media for events is all about generating reach, and driving qualified traffic to your event website. If done correctly, this can lead to a better experience for event attendees, and boost ticket sales for event organizers.
Guest contributor, Dan McCarthy, is an Event Manager at VenueSeeker, a comprehensive online venue guide based in the UK.