Ahead of his talk on ‘Creating ROI through Social Media’ at ibtm world this month, Expert Events Consultant, Jason Allan Scott, shares his 5 top tips for promoting your event through these increasingly important channels.
1. Use Twitter to get the crowd.
The first step to success for any event or party is to get the crowd through the doors. With most events, we start offline; but an online social media platform may well offer a valuable, complimentary method of attracting interest. Consider, for example, the use of Twitter.
Twitter has so many potential uses for businesses looking to promote themselves on the web. For event organisers in particular, it provides a direct line of communication to potential interested parties.
Journalists love Twitter. They’re on there, looking for up to date, relevant news stories and your upcoming event details could be just that! Try Googling things like ‘Twitter event journalists“.
Another way to use Twitter for your event marketing is to identify the hashtags and existing conversations, which are relevant to you and then engaging with those people. Try #eventprofs as a great example of this.
Consider how you can use other social media for this purpose too; Google Plus Circles of relevant topics, identifying Communities on Facebook, can all be valuable sources of potential crowds. Let’s also not forget that a picture is worth a thousand words, so why not think Instagram?
Instagram has 300 million active monthly users. I know, the first question any manager will ask about a social network is: Are people actually using it? With Instagram, you can respond with a resounding yes. With 300 million monthly active users and counting, Instagram users have proven their love for the platform.
Of course, the skeptics will question just how active that active user base really is. Well… Instagram users have shared over 30 billion photos to date, and now share an average of 70 million photos per day. Thirty billion photos! Can you even fathom that? Instagram was released to the world in 2010, and in under 6 years we’ve shared over four times more photos than there are human beings on earth. Most of those posts will have come in the last few years as usage grew.
“But I’m a global business. Instagram is just an American thing, right?”
Not quite… 70 percent of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S. It’s true that Instagram is very popular in the U.S. According to eMarketer, by 2019 the Instagram audience will reach 111.6 million Americans, representing 55.8 percent of social networkers, more than one-third of the population and over four in 10 internet users.
Instagram is truly a global phenomenon. With 70 percent of users coming from outside the U.S. Instagram, not unlike its parent company Facebook, is becoming one of the first social tools new social media users turn to across the world. Have you held the event before and could you invite past delegates to voice their thoughts? Could you share photos of the venue and layout? We work in a visual medium so why not use a social media visual tool?
2. Stand out, blog.
Your event is now a go, and you want to make sure it is easy to find on search engines. Your site should already be search engine optimised for your key terms, so assuming you’ve done that, blogging is an incredibly valuable next step.
Think about how you can market your event through your blog. Updates on entertainment, food, sponsors and confirmed speakers always go down well, as do confirmations of venues and timings and entertainment or who else may be attending Don’t be afraid to get more creative! Think Rich Media – could you film the event organiser talking about the event? Think Periscope or Meerkat.
Periscope, the latest must-have app to hit smartphones. It allows anyone to broadcast live from anywhere – and I mean anywhere – using their phone. No need for a Wi-Fi connection and a webcam, let alone a satellite broadcast truck. Instead, you tap your phone and you are immediately transmitting to anyone who chooses to follow you.
Perhaps there’s even an infographic opportunity – could you better portray what your event is about through an infographic?
Creating high quality, valuable, shareable content about your event will help your rankings and increase your chances of being the top result when people are looking for your event or conference by name – and when they’re looking more generically for your type of event.
3. This is the shared economy so share in a LinkedIn Group.
Once people are signed up to your event, there are plenty of ways to keep in touch with them. Allowing delegates to interact with one another is a great way to keep up the momentum around your event and gather more interest.
Gain traction from discussing the event and link back to your Twitter feed to encourage delegates to tweet about the event. This is a great way of maintaining engagement beyond the booking itself and getting some extra promotion in the process.
LinkedIn isn’t the only place to create these types of communities. Do you have a forum area on your website you could utilise? If you have an active Facebook following, make sure you create an Event page there. Could you create an event group on Google Plus?
Email marketing is another useful tool at this stage. Keep people informed with regular, but not overwhelming, email campaigns to build excitement and anticipation. Email marketing is still the social media with the greatest ‘Return On Investment’.
Keeping people engaged with your event or conference is a great way to maintain your event marketing.
4. Create an Event Hashtag but always research.
Hashtags are a tool on Twitter to link together conversations and highlight the topic of a message. Use them by simply including the ‘#’ symbol in your tweet followed by the word you want to highlight.
I’ve already discussed using Twitter hashtag conversations to identify relevant people with whom to engage in promoting your event. Another hugely worthwhile use of hashtags is to connect together tweets about your event as part of your event marketing strategy – before, during and after the event. But remember what happened to Susan Boyle and her album launch, do your research.
If you’re going to use a Twitter hashtag for your event, make sure you get it out there! Share it on your website, use it yourself – even encourage speakers and exhibitors at your event to share the hashtag on their promotional materials and presentations.
5. When It’s All Over… Don’t Stop!
Just because your event is finished, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to add value to the community you’ve built.
Have you collected a list of attendees and their contact details? You may decide that an email out to all of them to thank them for attending is a nice way of representing your brand. If there have been speakers at the event, ask if you can share their presentation slides in this email; people will find it useful and it will remind them of what they took away from your event, keeping them interested for next time.
And don’t forget about those hashtags, Groups and Pages; those people were interested in your event for a reason, so think about how you can continue to share valuable content with them after the event is done. This will help you particularly when you come to repeat the event – you’ve got a captive audience, they’re waiting for you.