We are all aware that social media has taken over the world – everyone uses it all day for everything and no-one ever makes a decision anymore without referring to a social media feed. OK, not quite – but on the other hand, given the obvious influence on society, it makes clear sense to use the tools available and promote your event through social media over this Christmas and New Year.
There are some clear misconceptions surrounding social media, however, so we give you the run down of dos and don’ts – and some words of caution while we’re at it. So, lets’ get started with our first step in promoting your event through social media.
Step 1: Heed Some Words of Caution!
Ever the pragmatists, let’s start with the words of caution. Many small businesses think that if they have an event, it will succeed if it is promoted on social media. However, if the event is not offering something that customers need or want, you’ll have a lot of canapes to eat yourself.
Think product and content first
To attract people to an event, it has to be great – irrespective of the digital marketing promotion. To get the answer to this is simple. Sit yourself down and say ask yourself: is this a good idea? Will people want to come? Is my idea too niche for the area? Have I priced correctly? Is my idea, good, average, or just weird?
Well done, if you’ve answered honestly and the answer is good or even average, you have a chance of success. If you can’t answer honestly, then you can’t be helped – sorry.
Remember that social media is a community of people
Social media is just a modern way of staying in touch, of passing messages around a community. The Facebook community will be different to that on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you promote yourself on the wrong platform, or just have the wrong product, you will not get the desired results.
Platform user numbers can be misleading
The total number of users for a digital platform or App does not equate to the available market for your promotion. Many articles are fond of telling you how many people use an App. Facebook has a gazillion users, they will tell you – as if your messaging will reach even a fraction of them. Facebook users in Peru are not going to read about your fantastic event in rural Pembrokeshire. Even if they do, and wowed they are with your offer, they sadly will probably not be able to make it on Thursday evening.
So, discount 99.999% of the gazillion quoted platform users and you’ll be much closer to your actual market reach…
Budget spend doesn’t trump product and content
Don’t presume that you can always spend your way to success. For example, UKIP spent £273,000 on adverts during the 2017 election campaign for a return of precisely 0 seats in parliament. The electorate didn’t like the product and voted accordingly. Labour on the other hand spend ¼ of the Tory budget on Facebook ads, but got more total views and shares by focusing on issues their supporters could share across political divides, such as the trade in ivory and foxhunting.
So, remember that social media is just part of your marketing plan and specifically the digital marketing plan. If the product is not right, people will not buy into it.
Internet search still rules in the world of social media
Google is still the main method of searching for products and services – with over 3.5 billion searches a day, almost 3 times the nearest competitor. Content is the main driver of Google algorithms, so socialmedia posts that say very little will not assist your rankings and won’t help in promoting your event through social media.
Your main focus on social media should be to determine what, where, and when to post, in order to reach your potential market. How you post, and where, will have a tremendous impact on how event websites rank for specific keywords on Google. Remember that content is still king in social media, and smart use of content will have substantial SEO benefits.
The more you give attention to creating value through relevant and targeted content, the better your event website will perform on search engines. Likewise, social signals including lots of impressions, sharing and engagement can have a direct impact on your search engine rankings.
Now we’ve been through some of the pitfalls – now what?
Step 2: Choose your Social Media Platforms
The platform you focus on will depend on the event and who you are trying to attract. A community event might be mainly promoted through Facebook, but are there other platforms that can help you. Facebook might be good for organic shares, but there is a limit to that. To reach beyond one community of users, you will have to think and act with ambition.
Whilst we warned that the total number of users can be irrelevant and despite recent data scandals, Facebook remains one of the main players in the social media game.
Extend your reach using the ‘Events’ feature. When attendees RSVP via a Facebook event, they may also mention you on their own newsfeed – extending your reach organically.
Paid boost. Facebook boosts promise to increase the chance of engagement. Remember though, this is not guaranteed!
Share function. You can promote your event on your business page as well as personal page. If you also get your friends, family and network to share it you can increase your reach organically.
Twitter is a platform that allows instant interaction and can offer video streaming or Q&A sessions.
Create a Hashtag
Create a unique hashtag for the event and re-use the same one throughout the campaign. Every tweet related to the event should contain the hashtag to reinforce the brand message.
Track Your Hashtag
You can also track usage of the hashtag, letting you know who you are reaching. Encourage use of the hashtag before, during and after the event.
Retweet Posts About Your Event
Don’t forget about retweets! A great way to build attention is to directly interact with those who are showing interest. Either simply share other people’s tweets or add your own message to reinforce the message.
You should have a LinkedIn page for your business to capture customers who are focused on professional networking. Many companies are now using LinkedIn to promote events.
Make sure you put the same effort into LinkedIn as you do on your other social media feeds. Remember also that using the rights visual content can help boost connection rates, like any other channel. Being a professional network, make sure that the information you provide is based on advice, opportunities and information, which offers clear benefits to fellow professionals.
Instagram is an image/video focused social platform that also works on the basis of hashtags. You can create a live wall of images and photos of your event that, along with Instagram’s new follow hashtags feature, will make connecting with your attendees more fluent.
Like all social media channels, the key with Instagram is to post content frequently, but thoughtfully, at least a few times a week. Remember that because the platform is image focused, your own visuals need to be really strong to stand out.
Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app used widely to share photos, videos, text and drawings. It is one of the fastest growing social networks, but your video content still needs to be really strong to stand out. As with other social media platforms, take care to only post content that will hold its own amongst other offerings.
Step 3: Ask For Some Help!
Sometimes, we understand that you will just need some help to get going. A good place to start promoting your event through social media is through a partner, such as WebAdept. We can help you with all the processes of understanding and using social media tools.
We can offer:
- Adaptable content – different platforms will attract a different audience – your content must reflect that.
- Content that is adaptable for each individual platform, collate keywords and hashtags that are relevant to you and build paid ads, if budget allows.
- Analytics to measure engagement, measure how many users click on links to your ticketing page and measure actual sales driven by your social media channel
If you would like some help in promoting your event through social media and integrate your event into an overall digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you!