Creating buzz is not as simple as posting a few event updates on your blog, Twitter and Facebook. Nor is it enough just to send email reminders. Today, new social media platforms are attracting visitors away from more established sources of online communication. That means that as an event marketer, you need to start promoting where the eyeballs are! However, figuring out a proper marketing strategy for alternative social platforms can be challenging. But have no fear, the Bizzabo marketers are here to guide you through effectively utilizing three of the biggest and most influential alternative social networks: Pinterest, Reddit and Instagram.
Pinterest - 70 Million Users
In a world where the average attention span is 8 seconds (thank you, internet), images are powerful tools for conveying a message and/or emotion in a few seconds flat. To take advantage of the power of the image, look no further than Pinterest, the social network that allows users to create their own mood boards using images they find on the internet. The platform lets users create an unlimited number of boards, which are typically themed boards, for example, images of foliage and pumpkins for an Autumn board would fit the Pinterest ethos perfectly.
Set the Mood:
So what’s an appropriate strategy to engage Pinterest users? It’s all about pinning evocative images. Create a mood board for your event(s), that inspires the mood you want attendees to have when they arrive at your event. Let’s use a tech conference set in San Francisco as an example. The board could include a photo of someone wearing Google Glass, images of young professionals networking together, and some snapshots of beautiful San Francisco. Throw in a few graphic quotes from your speakers, a couple behind the scenes shots of pre-event planning and you’ve created a compelling board that’ll generate some online buzz.
Inform attendees and generate buzz - consider pinning a few sleek infographics to your board (here’s a great example from Adobe for a little inspiration). You can use the free graphic design tool, Canva, to create an attractive and informative image telling your audience how to register to your event, what to bring and where to meet. Or you can build an educational infographic using statistics that give additional context to presentations.
Consider creating a few graphic quotes to inspire your audience. Quote experts who will speak at your event, or who are leaders in the industry. Encourage speakers to repin the quotes to their own boards, or to share them on other social networks.
The beauty of Pinterest is that you don’t have to upload your own images to add them to your mood board. If you see an image that speaks to you (or to your attendees), simply hit the “repin” button to add it to your own collection. This makes compiling an eclectic mix of photos for your board much easier. It has the added benefit of broadening your reach online, as the owner of a repinned image is notified whenever their image is shared.
Reddit - 70 Million Users
Created as a social bookmarking site in 2005, Reddit has emerged as a hub for online discussion. The social networking platform is segmented into thousands of different communities, where members submit links and comments that are “up” or “down” voted by other members. An “up” vote indicates that the link or comment is good, while a “down” vote indicates that the content is somehow bad. Reddit also features an “Ask Me Anything” or AMA section, that has become so influential, President Obama participated in an AMA session in 2012.
Find your community(ies):
The beauty of Reddit is that audiences are already segmented by community. All you have to do is find the appropriate community(ies) of people who might be interested in attending or sharing your event. Sticking with the tech event theme, the Startups or IOS Programming communities would be a good place to discuss a tech event.
Just make sure you read a few posts before you post yourself to get a feel for the kind of content the community welcomes. Then create a blog post that reflects the likes of the community and share the link on Reddit. Remember, Redditors can sniff out advertisers and promoters in an instant, so make sure to add value when you post and appear genuine.
Participate in an AMA:
The Ask Me Anything section of Reddit is a place where users prompt the participant to answer questions about any topic. This area of Reddit is open to all community members, and is a great place to generate a lot of buzz, and social media shares. Consider asking a headline speaker to participate in an AMA session. You can create a social media and email campaign surrounding the event, to encourage registered attendees to participate. Then make sure to alert the Reddit communities you’re already participating in about the session.
Instagram - 150 million users
You probably know your way around Instagram, and post the BEST photos of sunsets (#nofilter) but did you know, Instagram has some of the most engaged users on any social media platform? That means that if you aren’t using Instagram professionally, you’re missing out on an opportunity to generate buzz and better engage potential attendees. The image sharing service is great for marketing purposes because all Instapics show up in the same feed, which means that users often give the same attention to a picture from a company as they do to a picture from a friend.
Don’t be afraid of Hashtags:
Instagram Hashtags don’t work the same as Twitter hashtags. Using a lot of them on Instagram is more than acceptable. After all, users find new content by searching for hashtags that interest them. So if you’re promoting that tech event, taking a picture of the new iPhone 6 Plus and using hashtags like: #iPhone6+ #Technology #Smartphone #InstaiPhone would be completely appropriate. Effective hashtagging will grow your following, which will in turn improve your reach and boost buzz.
Hashtags are also a great way of finding your target audience. You can search for hashtags within the Instagram app, so if you’re looking for people to attended a New York based tech event, consider searching #NYTech or #SiliconAlley.
Integrate social media accounts:
If you’re just starting a professional Instagram account, have no fear! A good way to get started is to cross promote Instagram pictures on your existing social media accounts. So if you take a cool picture of the behind the scenes planning for your event, promote the pic on Instagram in addition to Twitter and Facebook. The linked image on other social media accounts will drive clicks to your new Instagram account.
Promote Your Speakers:
Leverage the social media influence of your speakers by promoting them on Instagram. Post speaker photos, and graphic quotes from your event experts on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag the appropriate Instagram account to let speakers know you’re promoting them on Instagram. In return, ask speakers to promote your event on their Instagram account to increase the social reach of your event.
After you’ve generated some buzz using Pinterest, Reddit and Instagram, it’s time to get down to business: sell more tickets using social media platforms! Click here to read our guide that will teach you how to sell more event tickets by turning attendees into evangelists.