How to Create Buzz With Social Media Event Marketing
Social media marketing has quickly become one the most affordable, accessible and effective ways to market products, services and (yup, you guessed it) upcoming events. And it has become an essential component among all the tools and tactics used in event marketing.
However, with high competition for attention from social media users, you and/or your event marketer will need a good marketing strategy and a little bit of secret sauce to make sure your next event breaks through the noise and compels your ideal attendee to stop in their scrolling tracks.
Choosing a social media platform
Facebook is an entirely different world from Twitter, and Snapchat is quickly succumbing to the new kid on the block, TikTok. Plus, there’s Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. With so many options and even more coming onto the scene, how do you keep up? And more importantly, how do you know which social channels you should be investing your time, energy and money into for social media event marketing?
Going after all of the social media channels isn’t very realistic and likely won’t give you the same ROI as you would get by nailing down which platform best fits the brand of your upcoming event. Instead, find one or a few platforms that work and focus your dollars and creative brain power into developing innovative, click-worthy campaigns for it.
Facebook vs. everyone else
When it comes to social media, it’s pretty much impossible not to talk about Facebook. With the largest number of daily users than any other platform and demographics encompassing just about everyone between the ages of 18 and 64, you can easily sort through digital marketing filters to target potential attendees. However, just because Facebook is the big dog, it doesn’t mean that you should discount other platforms (or that you should necessarily spend your time and money on Facebook ads).
Instagram and YouTube are the perfect places to find visual-first influencers to partner with. LinkedIn will serve you college-educated, career-driven professionals on a platter, and Twitter will give you fast-finger participants retweeting all of your witty quotes. And, if you’re looking for Gen Z, you’ll likely find them skipping from SnapChat to TikTok (or whatever new social media channel their parents and digital marketers haven’t found them at yet).
Before committing to a social media strategy and creating a social media profile for your planned campaign, take some moments to understand the most popular platforms and how they’re being used. Some of the most popular platforms for social media event marketing include:
Which is your perfect social platform to market your next event depends a whole lot on who you want to reach and which platform they hang out at. If it’s a digital summit or marketing conference that’s being marketed, the event organizer might look to LinkedIn. In contrast, Instagram might be a better choice to increase event attendance for a photo-filled floral trade show. Really it’s about finding your brand’s place in the social world.
Creating the buzz
When using social media as an event promotion tool for your next event, it’s important to remember the word “social.” Unlike a billboard or banner ad, social media allows you to engage with, listen to and interact with your target audience. In addition to pumping out campaigns, you should pay attention to the responses, answer comments or questions and adjust your social media event promotion when needed. Each platform also offers different tools and aims to provide a different experience, so playing around and getting comfortable with the platform will help you increase brand awareness and build smoother, more natural campaign experiences for your potential attendees.
To get you started, here are some tactics you should consider adding to your event marketing social media strategy:
- Deploy paid ads: In the early days of social media event marketing, generating great content was all you needed to get free advertising space. However, social platforms are catching on and cashing in on these marketing hacks by either making it harder for you to gain organic traffic or by offering additional event marketing tools and insights to those who pay up.
- Build an event page: Your ads will gather interest, but to lock in the RSVP, you’ll need to direct prospective guests to an event webpage that will share the details of the event and offer a way to reserve and pay for their ticket. The best way to do this is by creating an individual landing page or event website on an event registration platform like Planning Pod. However, you can also utilize online marketplaces like Eventbrite or simply create a Facebook event page.
- Create a social media event hashtag: If you want to properly brand your event for social media, then creating an event hashtag to append to all your posts will accomplish three things: 1) it links those posts directly to your event; 2) it makes those posts easily findable on social media platforms; and 3) it gives people the ability to promote your event in their own posts using your event hashtag.
- Add social media posts regularly: If you want to create organic engagement, you’ll need to focus on content marketing and regularly posting engaging content that keeps your target audience tuned in. Having a social media profile full of followers, thought-provoking blog posts, shareable media and other valuable information increases your credibility and authority.
- Utilize influencer marketing: Much like Corn Flakes used athletes to sell cereal, companies are now recruiting the Insta-famous and YouTube star influencers to be a trusted spokesperson for their campaign. Snagging the thumbs up (or maybe even an RSVP) from a social media star or a recognized thought-leader in your industry gives you trusted access to their loyal followers and makes it easier to convert them into attendees.
- Create banter: The most effective way to use social media for event promotion is to get people talking about it. Create fun memes or interesting videos that people will want to share. You’ll also want to create an event hashtag to help you listen in on what people are saying, engage with them and collect the content they’re sharing.
- Give them a sneak peek: If you’re eliciting event attendees for your workshop or conference, why not give them a taste of it. Host a Live Event on Facebook, post glimpses on your Instagram Story and Snapchat, or schedule a webinar to give away some free content and help people on the fence make the purchase.
- Go virtual: Instead of using social media just to market your event, you could also use it to host your event. You can make your entire conference a virtual event or include it as an additional option for those who might not be able to make a physical appearance due to illness or travel restrictions.
If you’re turning to social media marketing for events—which you really should—make sure you understand your social media strategy before getting started. Researching platform options, finding out where your ideal attendees hang out and getting comfortable with the channel are all steps that should be taken before launching a campaign. And once you are comfortable, you’ll want to utilize all of the platform’s features to make interesting, buzz-worthy event campaigns.