Social media is the place to be for promoting just about anything these days. Promoting an event is no exception. You have to be on key with your social network outreach in order to appeal to a wider base. To help kick off your next event promo via social media, here’s a few tips to put you on the right track.
1. Share an Event Teaser
How do upcoming movies create hype? With a trailer of course. You can do the same with your event by creating a teaser with highlight of last year’s event. You can edit it to include background music, CGI, or whatever you think is necessary to give the video an extra bit of pow. The teaser can also be supplemented with a more formal, unedited video of presentations and speeches from past speakers.
Here is an example of an effective teaser video from fragrance company Diesel to promote its musical concert Diesel On Tour. It’s rather short, less than a minute, but it gets straight to the point, featuring interviews from musicians slated to perform.
Photo credit: Oslo Hackney
2. Create a Referral Program
For best results, consider a double-sided referral program. Don’t know what this is? This is basically a referral where incentives are given to both the person that made the referral and the person that was referred. So, for example, instead of offering a $50 gift certificate to the person who referred a friend, why not give a $25 gift certificate to both the referred individual and the person responsible for the referral?
Here’s an example of a double-sided referral program from the dietary supplement company 22 Days Nutrition:
Photo credit: Referral Candy
As you can see, the customer and his referred friend are both rewarded. Promote the event heavily on social media and really drill in the fact that both the person referred and “refferee” get incentivized.
3. Promote Your Event Hashtag
Promote the heck out of your hashtag. Mention it on your event website, emails, printed flyers, and any social networks you’re active on. Of course, you have to be strategic with how you select a hashtag. For the most part, though, the rules are simple: keep it short and decipherable. By decipherable, this means your demographic audience should understand it even if it’s abbreviated.
The Amsterdam Dance Event, one of the biggest music festivals in Amsterdam, always recycles its hashtag, which is #ADE(year). So, for example, #ADE15 for 2015 and #ADE16 for 2016. This hashtag is very effective because it’s extremely brief, easy to memorize, and is easily discernable for the targeted demographic.
Photo credit: Sergio Tee
4. Share Your Story
Relay your story on your social network sites. People aren’t just interested in a company and its products but also the people behind it. People also like a good underdog story, so especially be willing to share your story if your company was rooted in humble beginnings. Don’t make it into a sob story, but do be sure to mention some of the stumbling blocks that had to be overcame.
The Facebook post below is an excellent example of someone talking about his origins and how it shaped both his company and who he is as a person:
Photo credit: Gevme
If you noticed, the story also contains some valuable life lessons towards the end. Stories like these are what really helps connect with our audience at a deeper emotional level.
5. Create Sharable Content
In the days leading up to your event, begin creating share-worthy content. Of course, sharable content can entail a wide range of things. This can be a funny meme or GIF, or a full-length blog post. A few other posts that you can incorporate might include the following:
- How-to articles or video tutorials
- A fun-facts article
- A white animation video of your industry or company
- Highlight of past events
- A Q&A event or U-stream
The content should tie back in some way to the event. The more specific you can be the better. If you’re running a digital marketing conference, for example, and a speaker will be speaking on the current state of SEO, then content should be SEO-related rather than, say, social media marketing. While the latter is a related topic, it is still a different subject. Disseminate the content on multiple social networks and particularly on LinkedIn since the content is industry-related.
You have (or should have) plenty of material to share to build up anticipation for your event. Social media is the place for spreading your content and creating word of mouth. Be consistent, and eventually all those views, shares, and likes will translate to a bigger event turnout.
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.