Remember that famous line from the movie Field of Dreams? “If you build it, they will come.” But while that might work in the movies, it’s not a great marketing strategy for an event. If you want to boost event attendance, you need to promote it.
There is nothing worse than spending months planning an event, only to have a disappointing turnout. The best event marketers know that it’s important to utilize several marketing strategies. And, one that has been shown to boost event attendance is social media.
How to Use Social Media to Boost Event Attendance
Social media has proven to be a game changer for event marketing. 87 percent of B2B companies now use social media to promote their events. It is the second most effective channel for event promotion.
Social media marketing tends to cost less than other traditional forms of marketing. Whatever event you have in the works, social media can help you make a bigger impact before, during, and after your event.
Here are 6 ways to use social media to boost event attendance.
1. Get to know your attendees
Social media is more than a channel to promote your event. It serves as a way to get new insight into your audience.
Once you have a profile of your targeted audience, you can use social media to learn more about them. You can learn what your audience cares about, what content they share, and what influences them.
Learning more about your audience will help you create content that they will enjoy. It will help you be more effective with your brand messaging.
Any information you learn will continue to be useful long after your event is over. It will help you continue to build a relationship with your customers and deliver what is truly important to them.[Tweet “87 percent of B2B companies now use social media to promote their events.”]
2. Use a branded hashtag for your event
Hashtags are everywhere. They’re used across social media platforms, in blog posts, on T-shirts, in commercials, in movie trailers. They are so ingrained into our culture, some people even use hashtags when they talk.
Considering their popularity, it is surprising how many brands skip this step. Using a branded hashtag is a great way to promote your event. It’s a great way to build excitement and create FOMO (fear of missing out).
At the event, provide opportunities for attendees to upload the content they create using the hashtag. This way you are able to track your event engagement on multiple platforms. You can easily locate photos from the event and discover what attendees are saying about it.
3. Use visuals
Text-only content will not cut it on social media. If you want to get attention online, you need to use visual content.
There are many ways to do this. If you have featured speakers at your event, post an image of them presenting during a previous engagement. Or share photos from some of your other branded events. You can even share behind-the-scenes photos of the event setup.
The options are limitless, just make sure you are using visual content. As Hubspot reports, “when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”
4. Share video content
Sharing videos is a great way to increase the views of your content. Consumers are 27 times more likely to open a video than a standard banner ad.
If your video is highly shared on social media, then you can bring a lot of visibility to your event. Of course, there is a certain element of luck to this. But there are several different strategies you can take when creating video content.
If this is a repeat event, you should already have video footage from the previous event. It may be worth it to have a professional video put together. This will remind your audience how much fun they had last time and it will attract new attendees.
Depending on your audience, homemade videos can be very effective. If you are appealing to the millennial demographic, Snapchat videos may work well. And testimonial videos can be a great way to build credibility for your brand.[Tweet “Consumers are 27 times more likely to open a video than a standard banner ad.”]
5. Run a contest on your event page
Bottom line, everyone loves the chance to get something free. That’s why running a contest is a great way to increase word-of-mouth exposure for your event.
Your contest needs to be relevant to your event. You can offer free tickets, a chance to meet any featured guests, or a free brand T-shirt.
Make sure you promote the contest across all your social media platforms. This is a sure way to increase engagement and even gain new followers.
6. Live stream parts of your event
No matter how much people want to attend your event, some of them won’t be able to. You might consider allowing people the option to participate virtually.
You can do this by live streaming your event on Facebook or YouTube. Live streaming allows you to capture an audience you might have missed out on otherwise. You can also begin building a list of possible attendees for future events.
7. Continue the conversation
Your event itself has to end, but that doesn’t mean the conversation has to. After the event, use social media to continue to boost visibility for your brand.
Follow up with your event attendees and thank them for coming to your event. Create a short survey to share across your social media channels to help you gain feedback.
And make sure you follow up with your customers with some sort of call-to-action. Include an event-specific coupon or special offer that attendees can share with their social networks. The point is to continue to build on the momentum you created with your event and encourage your new brand fans to share their experience with their friends and followers.
Events are a great way to build brand awareness and attract new customers. And social media provides a unique and fun way to help you boost event attendance.
Regardless of the event, social media can be a powerful tool. It can help you generate a buzz before the event. And it will be a tool to measure audience engagement during the event.
It can also build your email list for future events. And it will help you create stronger relationships with your customers, both current and prospective.
With the holidays approaching, many retailers are using social media to boost brand awareness for their upcoming events. If your brand is considering using experiential to drive revenue this season, download our free Experiential Marketing and Retail eBook. We walk you thorough how to use experiential to increase sales, add new revenue streams, and more.