Is your organization planning an upcoming event? That can be a challenging experience, especially with the conditions that 2020 has brought to businesses around the world. But social media isn’t just an extra event-oriented task that your brand has to tackle – it’s a powerful enabler that can make event-planning easier, grow your audience, and produce more buzz. Here’s how you should be using it.
Every event planning strategy should begin with this advice: Start early! A successful event can take months to plan out, and you will want to make clear plans on how you will be using social media to help with each stage. More complex, sponsored events can take more than a year to plan out appropriately, while smaller events can take several months to set up and arrange – which even more important when you are trying to schedule guests or find a time that works for everyone.
Once you start putting the event together and get plans confirmed, it’s a good time to start dropping hints on social media so that followers know you will be unveiling something exciting.
Create an Effective Event Sign-Up Page
Most of your social media posts should link back to a central event webpage. This page should have all the information about the event and its schedule. Most importantly, it should include a web form where people can sign up to learn more or purchase digital tickets. Analyzing traffic and behavior on this page will also give you a good idea of how people are responding to the event as the date draws nearer. It should be set up before you make your formal event announcement on social media, then you can link to it whenever necessary.
Embrace the Livestream
It’s no surprise most business events have moved to some kind of online setting in 2020 and for the foreseeable future. There are actually some built-in advantages to this approach! Overhead costs are much lower, and travel time is no concern. However, it is important that the business ensures a high-quality internet connection and reliable audio/video components…which can mean practicing livestreams ahead of time.
Sites like Zoom and other video chat options can work very well for smaller groups, and make it simple to send out invites or allow people to sign up. However, for reaching broad audiences, we suggest using something like YouTube’s or Facebook’s livestreaming service. Online events do allow for pre-recorded sessions, but at least some of the event should always be live.
Even if you are planning some kind of in-person event, livestreaming the event as it happens is an excellent way to increase social media engagement and get even more eyes on what you have to share.
Schedule Regular Updates Through Multiple Channels
People are busy: Even very interested attendees might forget the event is waiting for them on their calendar. It’s a good idea to keep your audience in the loop and continually excited about the event.
While updates should be consistent, they should not be constant. If people are bombarded with too many posts about your event, they could get turned off to the idea altogether. As a general rule, when you are excited about something event-related, post it so that followers can be excited to – no more than once a week or two. “We just book one of our favorite speakers ever,” or “Here’s a snapshot of Jean and Taylor practicing for their livestream” can maintain interest without being too intrusive.
Create and Use Unique Hashtags
Create a set of specific hashtags just for your event. Have hashtags for your event name at least, and perhaps hashtags that combine the event with your brand name or product names, depending on what’s appropriate. Tag all your social media posts with these hashtags, which will make it easier for people to learn more about the event, and give you more information on how people are responding to the campaign.
Showcase Guest Speakers or Other Highlights on Social Media
If you have special speakers or activities for your event, create specific social media posts about why people should be excited about this. Remember, attendees may not know as much about these things as your business does. Explain a speaker’s credentials, and why it’s exciting that they’re speaking or being interviewed. Give details about activities, how they’ve helped in the past, and why the event is focusing on them. As always, social media gains value as you provide more information through it!
Use Social Media Countdowns
Did you know Instagram has a countdown sticker that businesses can use in all kinds of places? As the event date approaches, take advantage of these countdown tools to showcase exactly how much time is left before the event begins, and help get everyone following the brand interested in what will happen. This is also a good time to use surveys and other social media tools to ask followers how they are feeling about the event, what they are most excited for, and other questions to grow interest.
In the final surge to the event, plan for increased social media presence to help remind everyone about the event and why they should attend. Increase the frequency of posts during this time and combine your social push with emails to reach as many as possible.
One Last Note
Remember, event promotion goes beyond the event date itself. You should also be using social media to thank all attendees, and share any important videos or materials from the event so others will be able to benefit from them. Blue Atlas Marketing can also help you identify what event content can provide the most value as evergreen or recycled content in the future.