Let’s talk about event marketing on social media. It gets more fun every year, because social media engagement gets better. How can you leverage it year round? Read on.
We used to rely heavily on traditional media to help grow event attendance. Now, digital marketing plays a significant role. As the number of festivals and events grow, digital buzz and recommendations matter more than ever.
- Throw a dart at a map and you’ll hit a seafood festival, this I promise you. What I’m saying is: ticket buyers have endless options nowadays. But, all events are NOT created equal, and digital marketing allows you to showcase what makes yours the can’t-miss event of the season.
- It’s equally easy to find personal recommendations about events. They come in the form of online reviews, social media posts, blogs and so on. With so much competition, generating buzz through recommendations is crucial.
In the age of digital word-of-mouth, events benefit greatly from an engaged online presence.
If you follow along with my professional life, you know that I have a not-so-subtle obsession with event marketing because of the tangible ROI.
“Sold Out” is among my favorite phrases.
I’ve worked with many events and festivals around the country honing the strategies necessary to succeed in event marketing on social media.
Below are five things I learned along the way. Hopefully they help your promotional efforts!
1. Don’t Go Silent
Odds are your event is once a year. This means your marketing budget is allocated to a 120(ish)-day promotional campaign.
It does not make sense to market your event all year long, but you also can’t go silent on your digital platforms during off season.
Because event marketing on social media is all about awareness and engagement, going silent really works against you.
Algorithms on Google (search rankings) and social media (news feed visibility) will notice your absence, and slowly reduce your relevancy. When it’s time to start marketing again, you essentially start from scratch.
Don’t end up in that situation!
- Utilize the beloved #TBT to stay in sight during off months.
- Consider uploading at least one blog per month to ensure your SEO doesn’t suffer.
- Pair with sponsors for off-season giveaways.
The ideas are endless, so get to work!
2. Influencers Are Awesome
Influencer marketing is not played out no matter what anyone tells you.
- Are there endless Instagram 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). But you also need to 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 regularly 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.
3. 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? I know a great one (it’s me).
4. 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, you can re-purpose most of your content for a variety of platforms.
Here are a few ways to use one piece of content tons of ways:
- 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.
The more informed people are, the easier it is for them to hit the BUY NOW button. You’ll want to make sure every 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.
Last but not least, take time to create the kind of content that provides insight on what to expect. People are either buying a ticket, or buying from your vendors (sometimes both). Useful information creates informed buyers. That always equates to higher profits.
5. Grow Your Email List
Building off the last tip, consider the positive effects of growing your email list. Followers are great but email subscribers are gold.
Experience has taught me that event marketing on social media MUST include an email-list CTA because those 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 services.
People are naturally more inclined to sign up to your list. They know you won’t bog them down with too many emails – because you do only ONE thing.
There are tons of ways to entice people to your list. Get creative with unique incentives.
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 refrain from sending too often.
I enjoy event marketing on 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 ramp up 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 trade-only influencers.
- Strategically use Facebook and Instagram advertising (aka, stay away from the boost button).
- Create shareable content to re-purpose throughout your campaign.
- Focus on growing your email list; they’re most likely to buy tickets.
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.
Belle Strategies is a boutique Digital Marketing company with offices in South Florida and South Carolina. We pair data-driven strategy with attention to detail to produce revenue-based results. For assistance growing your brand, contact us!
Rachel Creveling has 15 years in the industry and is the Owner of Belle Strategies Marketing Agency. As a Digital Marketing Consultant, she helps clients strategically plan and build campaigns based on ROI. Her highly custom consulting method has earned clients including the Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival, Four Seasons Resort and Residences, South Beach Seafood Festival and many others. Rachel’s expertise helps companies push past revenue goals by leveraging their data and identifying areas for efficiency and growth.