This article was originally written by Niraj Shah, Co-founder and CEO of ENTech Solutions in September of 2013. It has been expanded by Kaylynne Hatch, Managing Editor of The Meeting Pool.
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to event promotion. If you’re looking to boost attendance for your next event, getting involved with various social media platforms is a good strategy for spreading your event far and wide, but in fact, event promotion is more than just being on the right websites. There are lots of strategies for getting people involved in your event that can work across most social platforms. This list discusses some of the best options.
Create a shareable video that gets people excited about the event. Some promoters make use of a movie-style trailer for the event, while others might showcase footage of previous events. A short video that contains all the vital facts about the event can serve as an effective marketing tool. Videos and other visual content have a high likelihood of being shared, so making a promotional video to share across all your social media accounts is a good first step in promoting the event.
You can also use live streaming apps like Blab.im and Periscope.tv to create short and informative videos for your audience. Use Periscope to take fans and followers on a tour around your event space or host a Blab with past participants or some of the speakers for your upcoming event to give your audience a taste of what’s to come. Blab and Periscope both utilize social media integrations to get your content out to your audience while the video stream is live. You can also use Katch.me to capture and save your Periscope videos for later use.
Giveaways and Contests:
It is a fact that people love free stuff. Even if you’re only giving away a t-shirt or key chains, people will want to participate. Ask people to sign up on the event page, or tweet using an event hashtag (you have a hashtag, right?) to enter the contest. If you are feeling particularly magnanimous, try giving away event tickets or the chance to meet a high profile participant.
Interviews and Human Interest Stories:
Finding a unique way to bring a human element to your event is a great way to promote it. One way to do this is by interviewing people involved (speakers, interesting attendees) and sharing the interview. When you share on social media, you can also point to the profile of the person whose story it is. Imagine that you are promoting a local half marathon and you interview someone who has been running the race for the last twenty years. How cool is that person? What makes him or her keep coming? These are the kind of stories that people love to read and that you can use to create hype surrounding your event.
Hashtags and Badges:
You need a way for people planning to attend the event to communicate with others that they’re going. One way you can do this is with a hashtag. Now that hashtags are available on Facebook, you can promote it across most all of the major social networks (although it will get the best traction on Twitter or Instagram). If you can get enough people talking about your event so that it hits the trending list, you’ll get some amazing Twitter visibility. Even if your topic doesn’t become trendy, you can still have an impact in second- and third-degree networks. Create a badge (a small image with the details) that users can share once they’ve signed up. People enjoy letting their friends know what they’re up to; you just need to nudge them in the right direction.
You can also create custom tweets to include on your registration confirmation page. Use a tool such as ClicktoTweet to create a custom tweet that you can embed in your registration or event page. All users have to do is click on the button to send out an automatic, pre-written tweet to their followers.
Live tweeting or otherwise providing updates for the event as it happens is a great way to pull in last minute attendees. For those people who didn’t hear about it until the last day or who had no idea what their schedules would hold, a live feed lets people know “Hey, something great is happening RIGHT NOW” and it can encourage people to come. A good live tweeting strategy is to link to pictures of the event in progress or to share people’s comments.
Twitter has a handy widget that you can easily create and embed on your event website that will display a live feed of tweets that use your event hashtag. To create such a widget for your own event, go to “Widgets” under “Settings” in your Twitter account. Once you’ve configured your widget (we recommend only showing top tweets so your feed doesn’t display every retweet), you’ll get a piece of script that can be pasted into your website or WordPress sidebar.
The great thing about promoting your event via social media is that most strategies are portable. That is, you don’t have to have completely different content for your Facebook followers and your Twitter followers. You can use the same promotion video and stories across the board. These promotional strategies will help you have a bigger turnout at your next event. Whatever strategies you use, make sure that you make it easy for anyone who comes to your sales page to share your content.
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