Social media isn’t just a good place to promote your conference — it’s an essential part of the conference marketer’s playbook.
Consider this: nearly 25% of traffic to event registration pages comes from social networks, and people who register after hearing about your event on social media are 3X more likely to share it with others.
To increase the amount of people who learn about your conference and increase attendance, however, you need more than a presence on social media — you need a strategy.
Need help getting started? Use these advanced strategies to help you engage attendees and reach new conference-goers.
1. Encourage others to help spread the word about your conference
You can spend countless hours trying to promote your conference on social networks — or you can enlist followers and partners to help. Here’s how.
Make it easy to share and connect: Include social sharing buttons on every page of your conference website. And include the handles of your speakers so it’s easier for attendees to tweet @ or about them.
Lean on your partners: If you have speakers and conference partners, ask them to invite their followers. Provide some branded images that they can use, too. The less effort it takes, the more likely they are to share your content with their audience.
2. Go all in on a great conference hashtag
Using a hashtag consistently can help you boost the online conversation around your conference — and ultimately, your registration sales. Follow these tips to get the most out of your conference hashtag.
Don’t wait until event day to announce a hashtag: Choose one from the very first day that you announce the conference, and include it in all of your messaging. This will help build up excitement and help grow the community of those attending.
Make it visible at your event: Include it in your handouts, app, and 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.
3. Have a conference day social plan in place
You’ll have a lot going on during the conference, so it’s important to prep as much social content as you can in advance.
Automate your social posting: Create a library of assets and pre-written posts to post throughout your event. Then use a social media automation tool like Hootsuite to share them when it’s most relevant. So when a speaker mentions a recent study, attendees will be delighted to find a link to it on social media already.
Engage attendees through social: Have a dedicated person or team to populate your social media with live insights. For example, they can do Facebook live Q&As with vendors or post Twitter polls about something a speaker said.
Be responsive: It’s also wise to have a plan to deal with customer service issues that may arise. For instance, who will address attendee questions or complaints? What happens if your hashtag gets spammed?
4. Invest in targeted social ads
Social media can be a cost-effective strategy for promoting your conference — even if you allocate budget for paid advertising. That’s because social media advertising allows you to reach beyond your followers and promote your conference to people based on their job title or industry.
Identify your audience: As you learn more about your core attendees, identify the people on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter who share similar profiles or behaviors and pay to target them (called “lookalike targeting”). This is one effective way to reach like-minded people most likely to attend your conference and expand the number of people in your targeted segment.
Rekindle interest with event-goers: Social media retargeting is a way to target people who visited your registration page but didn’t complete their purchase. These ads remind these interested event-goers about your event and encourage them to complete their purchase.
The keys to conference social media success
For more proven strategies to uplevel your social media game, check out Essential Guide: Social Media for Events. In nine simple steps, you’ll learn how to develop and improve your marketing strategy across the six most popular networks.