Fun fact: the average smartphone user looks at their phone 300+ times a day. That' means a lot of social media use. Now some people tend to curse technology for disturbing face to face interactions, but I say don't curse it. The worst thing you can do is ignore technology because, whether you like it or not, it continues to influence the way we do, well, almost everything-- and that includes events.
Instead, I say you hop on the bandwagon and join in the fun and innovation. Social media is a miraculous tool that as an event planner you can and should use to your fullest advantage. If you don't, you're going to be left in the dust.
Social media is an easy and free way to market your event, so in reality, it's a no-brainer. Here are my five recommendations for using social media to promote your event.
Use these 5 social media tactics to promote your next event
Create an event hashtag and stick with it. Hashtags are an easy way to track your event across all social platforms for you and your attendees. Use the same hashtag in every post and encourage your co-planners and attendees to do the same. When coming up with your hashtag, make it relevant, easy, short, and rememberable. If you have a catchy hashtag, you eliminate the hassle of constantly reminding your attendees what it is.
A good tip is to make the hashtag the name of the event, which means you need to be strategic when you decide your event name and theme. For Cvent CONNECT, we use the hashtag #CventCONNECT. Seems simple right? It is, but it does more than what meets the eye. By naming our event Cvent CONNECT we remind our attendees that this is a networking event with industry peers. Every time they type the event name or hashtag it, it triggers a reminder that that's what the event's all about, connecting! See how it works?
Contests are an easy way to get your attendees tweeting, Instagramming, or Facebook posting. Put your creativity to work and see what contest fits best with your event. One idea is to use your event hashtag and integrate it with a contest for most social activity prior to your even. Then, the winner could receive a grand prize during the event. Another idea is to hold a photo contest to see who can receive the most likes or comments on a pre-event picture.
Recently we combined our attendees and social platform into one and designed a social media ambassador program at Cvent CONNECT. This was a huge success for us. During the registration process, we included a section where our attendees could express interest in becoming one of our social media ambassadors. Once we had a pool of applicants, we selected the top candidates and went from there. It was simple and effective.
Our ambassadors engaged the other attendees and their own followers to promote our event before, during, and after. This life easier for the Communications Team, while simultaneously showing a more personal side to our brand.
We also incorporated a competition within the ambassadors for the most engaging content which helped get the content flowing.
This is simple, post and post a lot. You need to stay on your followers' minds and be relevant. Social media is all about your followers and what they can get out of your posts. If you never post or if you post irrelevant things, then expect to be unfollowed. To avoid this, post creative and personable content. Give your followers what they're looking for. As an event technology company, our followers look for innovative solutions.
I'm a real person typing this and you can find me tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagramming from the Cvent accounts. I like to make it sound like a conversation, rather than an advertisement or a sales pitch. So, consider doing the same. Your followers will feel more comfortable with your brand because of it.
Interaction with Followers
Interaction is key. As I said before, you want to be a personable brand because then your consumers will feel more comfortable with you. This is true for your events too, if you want people to come, then you need to engage with them before the event even starts. Once you've promoted your hashtag, follow it! Type it into the search bar on your social platforms and start replying to anyone using it.
By using your hashtag as a tracker you'll find people expressing questions, concerns, and praises. Respond to them right then and there. Social media makes it easy to fix problems immediately. If your attendee finds a problem with your event's online registration, they might tweet at you. If you aren't on top of your social handles then you could miss their comment and ultimately miss an attendee.
Now that you know these five tactics of using social media to promote your next event, you'll be on top of your game!