Because social media has fundamentally shifted the way people gather and digest information, event planners should gain an understanding of the social media landscape and identify where their target audience interacts online. Event planners need to understand and leverage social media to reach potential attendees in the places they go for information online, as well as in real life. That's why I decided to prepare a blog article that may assist you in developing a social media strategy relevant to your event, and give you practical advice on how to get started in social media for event marketing.
Social sites are rapidly growing and evolving and this is good news for the event industry. Because for the first time, hundreds of millions of potential registrants are at your fingertips. As long as you keep your event marketing goals in perspective, you can harness the power of social media to drive registrations and attendance at your events. But how can you capture people's attention? And why would they care about your event anyway?
Earning your audience's attention
Social media falls squarely into the "earned media" camp. You have to earn your audience's attention and respect in these online communities. Sure, you can invest in paid advertisements to extend your reach, but those ads will only perform well if you offer something of value to the community. The best way to prove your value is to participate in the community and start a two-way conversation.
Your event is supposed to be interesting
If you think that, a great social media presence will make a boring event interesting, that's completely wrong. Social media reflects the actual content of your event, or at least it should. In other words, simply putting your event on social media channels won't make it attention-worthy. You still have to bring interesting content and valuable information to the table in order for people to want to attend and share your event.
Know how to react against feedback
You'll get tons of wonderful, free exposure when you empower people to give feedback and share stories about your event on social media. However, that also means that you open the doors for the bad feedback along with the good. If someone has something not so good to say, social media gives them a perfect medium to say it. It's always best not to overreact or respond defensively to a negative statement on social media about your event. Never delete a negative comment unless it is extremely inappropriate or profane. Doing so could result in the original commenter retaliating for having erased their feedback or worse yet, it may give an impression to others that you have something to hide. Instead, use the comment to redirect the conversation in a positive direction to enhance the event experience.
Decide Upon An Event Social Media Marketing Strategy
Social media is a really big space, and it can be difficult to deal with without a solid plan, so your first step should be developing a social media marketing strategy. Without objectives, you can invest a lot of time spinning your wheels but never be sure if your efforts paid off. So, you should identify your objectives first. Then, you must define your target market by considering the value of your event and which audience it would appeal to most.
Identifying the interests, social behaviors, and activity of your target audience across all the major social media channels will allow you to monitor existing conversations. Later on, you must consider what social networks are the most relevant for your event. Select one or two networks you think will make the most impact on your event, and start to build a "social infrastructure" for your event on these networks.
Once you've developed your event's "social infrastructure" across your selected channels, link all of those pages back to your event website to drive registration. Additionally, integrate your social media channels with one another, so that all of your networks work together to drive engagement and event attendance. Setting goals is the last step of sound strategy building. Don't forget that, social media goals should go beyond simply attracting a certain number of followers or fans; they should be measurable benchmarks against the event objectives you laid out.
Build Social Media Channels of Your Event
Your next step is building out a presence for your event on the social platforms that you've determined are most relevant to your audience. Some of the most popular choices for driving registrations to your event are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. Now, let's try to clarify how you can leverage each of these four channels to raise awareness for your event, boost event attendance and prompt engagement from attendees live at your event below.
- Create a Twitter account
- Customize your Twitter profile page
- Develop an event #hashtag
- Encourage live tweets from your event
- Use the LinkedIn Events application to create your event.
- Ask people to mark that they're "attending."
- Reach out through InMail.
- Share the event through your LinkedIn status.
- Post links to the event in your LinkedIn group.
- Leverage TripIt
- Build your event in the Facebook Events application.
- Post on the event wall and send updates.
- Invite others to your Facebook event through email.
- Include the event on your organization's Facebook page.
- Share your event on relevant Facebook pages and groups.
- Prompt live check-ins to your event on Facebook.
- Develop a YouTube channel.
- Use the "Event Dates" module to promote events on your YouTube channel.
- Create videos to drive interest around Speakers and sessions.
- Capture your event on video to share before your next event.