So you’re organizing an event and want a great turnout. This may be a fundraiser event, a simple get-together, or a launch party for your new brand or product. Regardless of the reason for the event, you need attendees and what better way to get this event in front of more eyeballs than by utilizing Social Media? The sheer number of ways to promote an event through Social Media can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list for you to use as a launching pad.
Always Begin With Graphics
While this step is not specific to Social Media, it’s important that you take care of this first before moving onto promoting your event in any capacity. You may have a dedicated graphic designer on your team, however not every team has such a person. Canva.com can be a powerful tool to help you create quick and clean graphics for a variety of purposes.
When creating graphics to help promote your events, keep in mind that you want something versatile enough that you can use a similar graphic on each social media platform. Canva can help you create graphics in all of the image sizes you’ll need for these social media platforms.
Facebook Events provide an easy way to setup a space online where people can discuss the event before, during, and after. Even those who cannot attend can use the Facebook event to participate and enjoy the event from afar.
First, make sure to setup the event using the official page or profile you want showcased as the host. When creating the event on Facebook, be sure to fully optimize the page by adding a header image, title, description, date, location, and invite people that may be interested in attending. Once the event is published, Facebook will automatically share the event to your followers, so make sure everything is ready-to-go right away.
After publishing the event, you won’t have to continue to work on it much. However, if you have a bit of additional time you may consider posting behind-the-scenes photos while you are preparing for the event, and then after the event add follow-up posts with pictures and/or video from the event in full swing. By posting these updates to the Facebook event page, anyone who has subscribed to the event will be notified and may feel more involved with the brand or organization.
Create a Hashtag
This should go without saying, but creating a specific hashtag for your event can be a great branding opportunity. Hashtags can be used on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. By creating a hashtag for this event, you can more easily search for photos, posts, and videos uploaded by attendees during and after the event.
Pro Tip 1: Try to stay away from hashtags that are too long (stay under 15 characters) or too obscure. Before committing to a Hashtag, do thorough research to ensure that the it is not already being used for something else. Also, remember to look at the hashtag with fresh eyes to ensure that something embarrassing doesn’t come up… like when the Cowboys used the hashtag “#CowboysUK” without fully thinking it through!
Pro Tip 2: Before promoting the hashtag, use it a few times from your official accounts, that way as the hashtag gets started users can look it up and learn what it means. Pair the hashtag with images and additional context so that there is no confusion what the hashtag stands for and who should use it.
Remember, hashtags should be used to help clarify what is being said in a Tweet, Status, or Caption rather than causing more confusion or for the user to have to perform extensive research to determine what the hashtag means.
Create a Check-In Location on Facebook
Unless your event is taking place in a super-secret place, setup a location where Facebook users can check-in. Follow these easy steps to create a place for users to “check-in” when they arrive:
1. Open the Facebook App and tap on “Check-In”
2. Type in the name of the event and tap “Search”
3. If you need to, scroll to the bottom of the list and tap on the + sign that says “Add *event name*…”
4. Follow the on-screen instructions to fill out the information necessary to setup the “Check-In” location
5. Tap “Create” once you have all of the information filled out
Remember: The more information you fill in for the “Check-In” location (including a picture) will make the location stand out when users Check-In and share their location with their followers.
Once you’ve spent the time creating a Check-In location, be sure to encourage attendees to Check-In when they arrive. For an added nice touch: Consider printing signs such as the one shown here, or setup a place for guests to take a photo with props or a nice backdrop.
Live Stream Your Event
Live Streaming is still a relatively new feature to the world of Social Media. Some brands have jumped aboard the Live Stream train, however many brands can still learn of its benefits. Whether you are setting up for the event or the event is in full swing, Live Streaming can be an easy and effective way to encourage interest of and attendance to your event.
Periscope and Facebook Live are the two most common Live Streaming platforms out there right now. Periscope is a stand-alone app created by Twitter for the use of Live Streaming to your Twitter followers. Facebook Live is built into the normal Facebook App on your smartphone and will notify your Facebook followers that you are LIVE. Consider testing out one or the other… or both if you have the devices and manpower to do so! Experimentation is the backbone of Social Media so it’s a good idea to give a few things a try to see what works best for your followers and which app(s) you prefer to use.
Depending on the type of event you are running, it may be best to host a handful of short Live Streams throughout the event rather than one Live Stream that lasts throughout the event. Live Streaming is also a great opportunity for your event attendees to become vocal for you, so don’t be surprised if you see guests starting their own live streams to show friends and family what they’re up to.
Utilize 3rd Party Sign-Up Software
Most event organizers want to get an idea for how many attendees to expect at their event, in some cases there may be a cap of how many guests you can have or you may just want to be fully prepared to feed and entertain everyone adequately. This is where event sign-up services come in handy. While you may be able to implement a simple sign-up form on your website, you may find that 3rd party services such as Evite or Eventbrite can provide features that can be helpful in your event promotion process.
Generally, if you are planning a free event, Evite provides a simple service that you can use to create an online invitation and email to your prospective guests. Once the invite is created you can also share this invitation on your social media platforms and virtually anywhere that you can place a URL.
Evite provides a variety of templates (some are Free, others are Premium) that users can chose from to create their invites. One great benefit to Evite is that once a guest has signed up for the event they will receive periodic emails reminding them of the upcoming event so that they do not forget. Another great feature of Evite is the option to “add event to calendar” which can be used by just about any smartphone or desktop user.
Now, if you’re holding an event that charges admission, you may want to consider using Eventbrite to help organize invitations and sign-ups. This online service is a bit more robust and allows users to securely charge for ticket sales. This platform is more commonly used for seminars, concerts, and other performances, however it can be adapted to almost any event.
It’s important to note that for events that charge admission, Eventbrite does take a cut of the profits, however their service and processing fees are pretty fair and they also have a special rate for registered nonprofit organizations.
While these two services are not technically Social Media platforms, they can be beneficial in creating spaces where potential attendees can learn more about the event and obligate to attending.
Consider Paid Advertisements
Facebook (including Instagram) ads are generally straightforward to setup and you can customize your budget (a minimum of $5 per day). There are a few ways you can promote your event through the use of Facebook ads:
1. Boost the Facebook event – located on the Facebook Event page on the right sidebar
2. Promote clicks to a landing page or sign-up service – Start a new ad campaign and from there you can choose the link you want users to go to as well as the image and copy used
3. Boost a post on your Facebook page – Create a post on your public Facebook page, then select the blue “Boost Post” button, this will bring you to a page where you can target your audience and set an ad budget as well
Twitter also provides advertising opportunities and depending on the demographics for your event, brand, or business/organization, this may be a great way to reach potential attendees. There are a variety of ways for Twitter to display your ads, all depending on the type of content you are promoting and the intention of your ad. Twitter ads are also pretty straightforward to setup and once they are running you can easily track the stats, similar to how Facebook does.
Although Pay-Per-Click campaigns with Google are not technically a Social Media tool, it’s worth mentioning that these campaigns can be extremely helpful in promoting larger events such as conferences or seminars. Depending on your event, you may want to give Google Ads a try and see they perform well for your event.
Showcase Previous Events
As you can see in this example, Dwell with Dignity has done a great job of uploading photos from their recent Thrift Studio 2016 Kickoff Party. Timely upload of these photos goes a long way. Try to wait a day or two before reminding visitors of the great time they had, however don’t wait too long or your followers will likely have lost interest.
If your event is recurring or you often hold events of a similar nature, remember to share some of the same photos again to refresh everyone’s memory of what a great time was had. You may even notice that event attendees may go through and tag themselves in these photos which only helps promote the next event when people see what they have missed out on.
Masskrugstemmen (bier stein holding competition) is a staple at the Bavarian Grill every year during the summer. This simple video only took a few hours to capture then edit in iMovie but can be used time and again to promote this long-standing tradition.
In addition to sharing this video on Facebook and YouTube, we’ve also embedded the video on the official Bavarian Grill website so that at any time of the year visitors to the website can see what a fun time Masskrugstemmen is!
Reach Out To Followers
A one-on-one invitation is often the most valuable connection that you can make with a follower or potential attendee. For the days or weeks leading up to your event you may want to become more active with new followers or those who are commenting on your posts/tweets/images. A simple “Hey, did you know we’re having an event about ———–?” in a PM can go a long way to sparking someone’s interest. Additionally if you respond to comments on a post or image with a personal invitation this can be an easy way of showing that you are active and interested in their attendance. Think about it this way: These followers are already interested in your brand/business/organization, so why not show them one more way that they can get involved?
The most important aspect of this strategy though is to not come across as SPAM. That could hurt your credibility and send new followers running for the hills, so be genuine and not pushy!
Places you may have forgotten to promote your event:
There are a handful of other places online where you can promote your event that you may not have thought about just yet. Here are a few of our favorite places to update regularly with event info.
Edit your Call To Action button on your Facebook page to make it even easier for potential attendees to access event details. You may also want to update the link in your Instagram and Twitter profiles so that followers can get more information quickly.
Don’t forget about your website! Adding a blurb on your homepage, setting up a landing page, or (if your event is big enough) creating a dedicated website for the event can be beneficial in ranking in search engines.
How many emails do you send a day? Considered adding information about an upcoming event to your email signature. It’s quick and simple to setup and doesn’t cost you a dime. Depending on who you email, you may reach different eyes than you might through Social Media, especially if your emails are forwarded to others.
The biggest lesson to learn about promoting events on Social Media is that there are a million ways to do so, it’s up to you and your brand/businsess to determine what will work best for your potential attendees and what is most worth your time to reach your goals. Have you tried any of these strategies? If so, we’d love to hear of your experiences and your tips regarding promoting events online or on Social Media in particular.