Your business or organization has an event coming up, and you want as many people as possible to attend (or, you want a targeted group to attend).
Spreading the word through social media can be the ticket to, well, selling tickets. Research shows that it often takes several “taps” on people before they will respond to a marketing message, or in this case, an invitation. To maximize your efforts, make and follow a plan using some, or all, of the following steps. Ideally, you’ll have 6-8 weeks to promote your event.
Decide which social networks you’ll use. For businesses and organizations, promoting events on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are great bets. Facebook is tailor-made for promoting events, since you can create Event announcements with eye-catching images, invite your “friends” and even spend money to promote them. LinkedIn is great for business-to-business promotions, especially if you have a large network. Twitter can be useful if you have a large following and/or want to spend some money. And Instagram is highly visual, so it’s a great way to prepare people visually if you have photos from previous events or at least promotional images.
Create a hashtag for your event, especially if you plan on holding the event more than once. A hashtag makes the event more searchable and even more shareable. Use it in all of your communications, whether it’s an email, a Facebook post, a tweet or a status update.
Design a logo or a graphic for your event that you can use in multiple places, such as the Facebook Event cover photo, an Instagram post, a tweet, etc. Give your event a brand that people will recognize.
Create a document with all the event information so that you can copy and paste it everywhere. Remember to include ALL the details, including a description, contact information, parking information, etc. I’ve seen more than one event description that left out an important piece of information, such as the time or location (oops!).
Create a Facebook Event. Follow all the instructions, upload your graphic from #3, and share the event with your friends. Send the link to the event to others who can help you promote it.
Consider creating an event listing in Eventbrite. Their platform allows you to create a very nice-looking event announcement, and if the event is free, you pay nothing. If you are charging for the event, they do take a percentage if you sell tickets through them. However, you can link your Eventbrite listing with your Facebook Event and give people an easy way to sign up and pay through the Eventbrite link.
Develop an event promotion posting schedule and stick to it. In addition to posting your event on Facebook, use your image/graphic from #3 (as well as other images) and share on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. If you’ve got 6 weeks leading up to the event, plan out when and where you will be posting your announcements leading up to the big day. Vary your posts so that people aren’t seeing the same information all the time. One post could be about your speaker(s), if your event includes speakers. One could highlight the venue. Another could share about the people who are involved to make the event happen. Talk about how much you are looking forward to the event. Ask others to share it with their friends and colleagues.
We recently promoted an art festival for a client. In the weeks leading up the event, we requested information and photos from each of the artists to create posts about them, with a link to the event, of course. The artists shared these posts with their friends as well, thus increasing the exposure.
In the fast-paced world of Twitter, you can tweet about the event every single day leading up the event. Remember to use your hashtag, and image, and include the registration link.
Consider paying for better exposure. Unfortunately, only around 5% of your followers will see your event post organically on Facebook. It’s a “pay to play” world, and you’ll get the word out much more quickly if you place an ad. Do some research on placing effective ads, however, so that you don’t waste money promoting to the wrong people. I’ve seen too many ads that were “targeted” to anyone “ages 18-65+ who live in the United States”. That’s a waste if your event will be most interesting to female business owners over 40 who live in the San Diego area.
On the day of the event, make sure that at least one person is taking video. Consider sharing parts of the event on Facebook live. Use video from the event in posts during days following the event. If you’re planning to repeat the event, use snippets of video to future promotions.