With Labor Day weekend in the rear-view mirror, Summer is officially “over”. In my spare time, I’m thinking about shorter days and cooler weather. In my working hours, I’m gearing up to finish out my exciting season of event marketing on social media.
There’s something about the ever-growing use of social media marketing that has made event marketing tons of fun these past few years.
While we used to rely heavily on traditional media to help grow event attendance, now digital marketing plays a significant role, especially since the number of fun events continues to grow every year.
For example, you could throw a dart at a map of Florida in October and hit a seafood festival, this I promise you. Your potential guests have a smorgasbord of options nowadays. All events are NOT created equal however and digital marketing allows you to showcase what makes yours the can’t-miss event of the season.
Equally ubiquitous are personal recommendations about these events! You can find honest opinions about any event you’re thinking about attending in the form of online reviews, social media posts, blogs and so on.
In the age of digital word of mouth, events benefit greatly from an engaged online presence.
If you follow along with my professional endeavors, you know I love working with a variety of brands ranging from products to professional services and everything in between. You also know that I have a not-so-subtle obsession with event marketing because of the tangible ROI.
“Sold Out” are my two favorite words (professionally speaking).
This social selling passion sprouted three summers ago when I was asked to consult on the digital promotion side of a new event starting in South Beach. In the time since, I’ve worked with a slew of fun events, honing and tweaking the kinds strategies you need to succeed with event marketing on social media.
Below are five things I learned along the way. Hopefully they help your promotional efforts!
Don’t Go Silent
Odds are your event is once a year and your marketing budget is allocated for a 90- or 120-day pre-promo campaign. It wouldn’t make sense to market your event traditionally all year long, but you don’t want to go silent on your digital platforms.
Because event marketing on social media is all about awareness and engagement, going silent when the event is over works against you. Algorithms on Google (search rankings) and social media (news feed visibility) will notice your absence, and bump you to the bottom or out of sight completely.
Utilize the beloved #TBT to stay in sight during off months and consider uploading at least one blog per month to your website to ensure your SEO doesn’t suffer.
Influencers Are Awesome
Influencer marketing is not played out no matter what anyone tells you.
- Are there endless IG users who confuse their high follower count for being influential? Yes.
- Are there a select few with an authentic connection to their community and a killer email list? Yes.
- Can both kinds of “influencers” help you? Yes!
Event marketing on social media is amplified tenfold when you take the time to cultivate a highly targeted ambassador network. In every case, it pays to employ a top-tier group who drives measurable ROI (think commission-based coupon code redemptions) and partner with a bunch of others who post in exchange for tickets, for example. Think of them as a “brand awareness” group.
Not everyone who promotes your event will directly influence attendance on their own, but 50 local people posting about your event in the weeks leading up to the event is impossible to ignore.
In this case, more really is more.
The number of your paid influencer partnerships depends on the size of your budget. You may have room for five paid influencers in the budget, but you can entice a large amount of local promotion with unpaid perks if you’re professional in your pitch and your event is hotly anticipated.
Strategically Use Facebook and Instagram Ads and Offers
Please don’t just click the “boost” button. It physically hurts me when you do this. Okay that’s an exaggeration, but I can’t overstate the power of social media advertising when done right. That said, it’s really a waste of money if done wrong.
The success of event marketing on social media is easy to measure when you properly utilize ads. I know I’m a nerd, but it really is fun for me to place an offer-based ad and watch the sales roll in.
Accomplishing this with a strong ROI equates to gathering data, utilizing ever-evolving targeting options, split testing, gathering MORE data, re-targeting and so on.
I always say that Facebook makes it really easy to advertise on their platform, but they don’t make it effective. YOU have to make it effective with research and practice in the Ads Manager platform. Don’t have time to become an Ads Expert? Insert shameless plug here.
Content Marketing Converts
A few posts on social media does not a digital strategy make. Event marketing on social media is one arm of your campaign, you’ll want to incorporate email marketing, blogging, review management and the like. This means you’ll be creating a lot of content!
Luckily for you, much of your content can be re-purposed for a variety of platforms.
The event recap can be cut into 30-second clips for social sharing. It can be sent out in an eblast reminding last year’s attendees of good times when this year’s ticket sales launch. It can be passed along to influencers who will use it on their blogs when promoting you. The list goes on.
Note that the more informed and prepared people feel, the more likely they are to come to your event. You’ll want to make sure every digital marketing effort you make drives potential attendees to your website. Whether your event is ticketed or free, be sure folks can access tons of info on how to best enjoy the event.
Take time to create the kind of content that provides insight on what to expect! People are either buying a ticket or planning to spend money with vendors, so get them to your website then convert them into attendees with fun, useful info.
Grow Your Email List
Building off the last tip, consider the positive effects of growing your email list. If followers are cool, email subscribers are icy cold!
My experience has taught me that event marketing on social media MUST include an email-list CTA because subscribers convert at the highest rate.
It doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth to grow your email list either! As an event, you have a leg up on brands with multiple products or service providers with a wide range of offerings. People are more inclined to sign up to your list knowing their inbox won’t be bogged down with random product and services pitches – because you do only ONE thing.
There are tons of ways to entice people to your list – get creative with it! As your highly coveted list of emails gets longer, remember to communicate with them wisely. Keep your emails short and sweet, offer something irresistible, and avoid prompting unsubscribes by refraining from sending too frequently.
I really enjoy event marketing on social media and other digital platforms because you can clearly measure the success of your campaigns. TV, radio and print are still relevant marketing avenues (heelllooo exposure!) but as a total data nerd, there’s something to be said for measurable ROI.
If you’re looking to amplify your event marketing on social media, remember these five tips:
- Don’t disappear from your digital platforms when the event is over.
- Cultivate a good mix of paid and perk-based local influencers.
- Strategically use Facebook and Instagram advertising (aka, stay away from the boost button).
- Create a lot of shareable content that can be re-purposed throughout your digital campaign.
- Focus some effort on growing your email list; they’re most likely to attend.
Do you have any other tips for event marketing on social media? I’d love to hear them.
Find me @bellestrategies around the web, or comment below.