One of the best ways to spread the buzz about an upcoming event is by using social media. With several platforms to leverage, you can get the word out to various segments of your audience where they live online.
To maximize your social media event marketing efforts, however, it pays to put some strategy behind your posts. After all, it’s not enough for your followers to see your updates – you want to engage and convert them.
Here are 12 essential steps to take to promote your event on social media and drive ticket sales.
Step 1: Choose your social networks
Depending on your industry and target audience, some social platforms may be more effective than others. Typically, if you can do some promotion on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you should be well covered. Here’s a quick overview:
- Facebook – You can share event updates, engage followers, and create event pages. You can also target your messaging to specific groups using paid promotion.
- Instagram – Brands get the most engagement on this image-laden social platform.
- LinkedIn – Great for B2B and industry networking, this professional social media platform is a good choice for company news and event announcements.
- Twitter – Use posts and an event hashtag to build excitement before and during your event.
- Snapchat — Appeal to young audiences by building a presence on Snapchat.
Use this quick quiz to figure out which social platforms you should use for event promotion.
Step 2: Choose your event hashtag
Come up with a hashtag that’s short, unique, and easy-to-understand. Once you land on an idea, stick with it! Consistency is key.
If you post anything relevant to your upcoming event, include your hashtag. Add it to all of your social account bios as well. And don’t stop there — promote your hashtag on all your other communication channels. These include your event website, promotional emails, print materials, and more.
During the event, make sure your hashtag is visible at your event so your guests know to use it. Include it in handouts and display it on screens throughout your venue. Better yet? Give people incentive to use your hashtag and share your event on social. This could mean setting up a photo booth branded with your hashtag, or creating a photo competition where the best photo using your hashtag wins a prize. Keep in mind that contests have legal requirements, so make sure you consult a lawyer prior to running a one.
Step 3: Upgrade your social profiles
Before you embark on event social media campaigns you’ll want to update your social profile pages. Create sleek headers and thorough company descriptions, and update any existing pages to include your upcoming event. Some quick tips:
- Add your event hashtag and/or logo to your headers. Be consistent in your look, but be sure to follow image size requirements for each network.
- Optimize your social media “about us” sections. Include a thorough, engaging description of your company. Use keywords that will help prospective attendees find your page, and include a mention of your event as well.
- Interlink all of your social media pages. On Facebook, include your Twitter handle, and so on.
Step 4: Create (and sell tickets through) your Facebook Event
500 million people use Facebook Events each month. But with more than 47 million public Facebook events created last year alone, you need to make your event stand out.
When creating your Facebook Event, be sure to:
- Choose a 1920×1080 cover photo that looks good at any size
- Be specific about location, time, and category so Facebook can help promote your event
- Craft a compelling event description
- Put your ticketing link front and center
If you use Eventbrite, you can sell tickets directly on Facebook. In fact, events that sell tickets directly on Facebook drive 2X more free registrations and 20% more purchased ticket sales on average than events that redirect to a ticketing page.
Step 5: Craft your content carefully
Engagement with your posts determines how many potential event-goers see your promotions, so you need to make every post count.
For maximum engagement, you’ll want to include images in your posts, and space out your ticket sale posts with more general industry news or lifestyle content. Make the content engaging, conversational, and not overly “salesy.” Also to keep in mind:
- Tailor content for each social network. You want to keep in mind the different styles and audiences on each platform. On Twitter, it’s short, sweet, and sometimes quirky, whereas on LinkedIn, you should steer toward a more professional tone.
- Incorporate images in your post. Image and video-driven posts are more engaging than plain copy. If you’ve had past events, include photos of happy attendees having a great time. Or, if you have well-known speakers, partners, or vendors for your upcoming event, you can share photos of those people to build excitement. You can even create fun memes or add animated gifs for some lightheartedness.
Download 10 Ways to Write Copy That Sells Tickets to learn how to write posts that get noticed.
Step 6: Invest in tools to streamline your process
If you’re not strategic, developing and scaling a strong social media strategy can be a drain on your resources.
With so many social media tools at your disposal, it’s hard to know what to choose and how to measure ROI. Here are two ways the right social media tools can help you save time and make your social media management less manual and more effective:
- Plan and schedule more efficiently. You can’t be online twenty-four hours a day, so use tools that can help you plan, organize, and schedule your posts.
- Create and curate diverse content. Content curation platforms help you find interesting content. Bookmark a blog post or a video that relates to your topic.
Find the right social media tools for your event in The Best Social Media Tools for Sophisticated Event Marketers.
Step 7: Run a social media contest
Wish your followers shared your posts more? Make it happen with social media contests.
Social media is vital for event promotion, but you can’t just rely on your own accounts to spread the word — you have to get event-goers to share it as well. Contests are the perfect way to motivate word-of-mouth promotion without a huge investment.
But not every social media contest is as successful as it could be — and if you don’t follow legal requirements, contests could even land you in legal trouble. Make sure to consult with a lawyer and post contest rules that that reflect your local and state legal requirements. You don’t want to risk your event brand during promotion.
Use this blog post to learn how to use contests to up-level your social media strategy.
Step 8: Work with influencers
Nearly 85% of marketers have plans to use some type of influencer marketing in 2017. Building relationships with key people in your industry who can talk up your event can help influence prospective attendees to register.
But influencer marketing can be an intimidating and nebulous, so it can be challenging to develop a strategy. Get the basics you need to know to employ a social influencer campaign that drives attendance at your event in this blog post.
Step 9: Launch paid social media ads
On average, only about 2-6% of your Facebook followers will see posts you make on your event page.
“If you want to get your content in front of the right people, it’s a pay-to-play environment,” says Ali Shakeri, CMO and co-founder of ToneDen. That means supplementing organic posts with paid social ads.
To craft an engaging social media advertisement, be sure to include:
- An eye-catching image or video
- Short and sweet post text
- An even shorter headline — that’s still engaging
- A direct call to action (i.e., “Buy Tickets”)
- An accurate link description (i.e., “Click here to buy tickets”)
Learn more about launching and measuring social media ad campaigns in The Event Organizer’s Guide to Paid Social Media Advertising.
Step 10: Create a Snapchat geofilter
Don’t believe the rumors: Snapchat is far from dead. In fact, with more than 150 million people using Snapchat every day, event organizers can no longer afford to ignore the platform.
The easiest way to use Snapchat for events? Make a Snapchat geofilter for your attendees. By investing only an hour of time and less than $100 of budget, you can engage attendees and spread the word to new ticket-buyers.
Get step-by-step directions on how to make a Snapchat geofilter in this post.
Step 11: Use live video on event day
You don’t have to livestream your entire event to make a splash with live video. Instead, use short, live clips from your event — like behind the scenes peeks or interviews with performers — to engage viewers.
This light effort can pay off seriously down the road. Here are a few reasons why, from Amber van Moessner of Livestream:
- Live video is extremely engaging. According to Facebook Live, users spend more than 3x more time and comment 10x more when the video is live.
- Live video grows attendance. 30% of people who watch a livestream of an event will attend the same event the following year.
- Live video is cost effective. It’s a common misconception that live video is costly, but thanks to tools like Facebook Live, anyone can leverage the technology and see a positive return on investment.
Step 12: Measure your social media activity
As you get better with social media, you’ll want to get a sense of what’s working and resonating with your followers. That way, you can tweak your strategy accordingly, and hopefully, drive more ticket and registration sales.
Key metrics to measure include:
- Engagement rate. Are your followers engaging with the content you post? Look for trends and re-post your top content to improve your engagement rate and show up in more feeds.
- Clicks. How many social media users are clicking on the links to your ticketing page?
- Sales. If you use Eventbrite, you can see how many sales each social media channel has driven in your event reports.
- Return on investment. If you’re using paid advertisements, be sure to monitor your ROI (return on investment) to make sure your spend is paying off.
To learn more about how to promote your event on social media, check out The Essential Guide: Social Media for Events.