“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” – Ryan Lilly
It’s 2017. If you’re serious about selling out events and changing the lives of as many people as possible, then love it or hate it, you need to be on social media. But you didn’t come here looking to be told something you already know. You’re here because you need to know HOW to up your social media game to increase engagement before, during, and after your event.
The need to hype up your event beforehand is obvious. If people don’t know about your event, then how do you expect them to come? But keeping up your marketing efforts during and even after your event is just as important!
Before The Event
OK, so let’s say you’re prepping 200 tweets about your event. Then that means 80-100 of those should be tweeted out before the event. Most of these posts should be around building excitement and instilling that fear of missed opportunity (#FOMO might be super 2014 but the feeling is real).
What you generally want to stay away from is sounding too sales-y too often.
Did you know only 1 of 5 posts on social media should be pushing a sale? People want to feel included, not sold to, so try to break up your ticket links with fun information and behind the scenes looks.
A good way to increase pre-event engagement is by introducing your speakers or performers early! In most cases, the talent you’ve booked will share your post, which puts it in front of their entire following. Just mentioning their name also means you’ll show up in any searches by their fans. And just like that, you’ve just multiplied your audience and your reach.
Social Media Savvy Tip: Create a hashtag for your event and start using it well in advance. If your audience knows the hashtag early on, then they’ll know to use it during the event. This way you can keep track of all the posts related to your event, even if they didn’t tag you by your social media handle (which happens more often than you think).
During The Event
I know, during the event there are a million things going on and the last thing you want is ANOTHER task to track, like keeping the company’s Instagram Story updated. But let me tell you – this is a biggie!
This is the era of Instagram and Snapchat and Facebook Live. People love updating “in the moment” and trust me when I say that your attendees will be posting all day, too. And guess what? Those who couldn’t make it will be watching for updates to see what they’re missing out on. Make sure you keep up your presence throughout the event, even if you need to enlist the help of a volunteer or an assistant.
If your event has panels or discussions, listen up for noteworthy sound bites and share them on Twitter ASAP. Update your Instagram Story with behind the scenes looks of speakers, attendance, displays, and anything else you might have set up for your event. Share pictures of panels and people networking. If someone wins a big prize or notable award, share that, too!
For visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, you’ll get a ton of action if you set up photo props, or even buy a Geofilter. SnapChat now lets you create Geofilters right in the app for $6 a pop, a small price to pay for all the advertising you’ll get while people take Snaps using the filter. Having photo props or a backdrop for picture taking provides an awesome branding opportunity with minimal effort. Slap your logo on the props or have it printed on the backdrop and you’ve just locked down some promotion when the pictures get posted.
There are tons of ways to make your event unforgettable. If you can find even a few ways to stand out, you’ll see your engagement spike while everyone’s posting and sharing about how creative/cool/unique that feature was.
After Your Event
Sorry, you can’t stop to take a breather just yet. Now it’s time to go back and sift through all of your social media mentions, hashtags, searches…anything and everything to find the posts related to your event and engage with them!
Social media is a two-way street that requires a lot of give and take. So give some likes and hearts and start a conversation. Being interactive and showing that there’s an actual person or team behind your brand makes it more personable and will gain you that brand loyalty.
The post-event period is a good time to share your success. Share press coverage, or if you had a good turn out, shout out your attendance numbers. This shows fans that they were a part of (or missed out on) something big and it shows potential sponsors that your event is something they might want to invest in. (If you’re looking for other ways to land sponsors, look here!)
Another thing to do is ask for feedback! Don’t be scared about receiving (constructive) criticism. This is a great opportunity to understand your fans, find out what they liked or didn’t like, and get ideas on how to improve in the future.
Finally, don’t forget about the importance of sharing photos and videos. Attendees love to look back on their experience with the event and those who couldn’t attend will be more determined than ever to make sure they don’t miss the next one.
There’s no foolproof guide to what you should or shouldn’t post in relation to your event, so feel free to get a little creative and do something unique. You won’t know what works until you try, right?