Event Marketing: How Social Media Helps to Promote an Event

7 minutes read
Hazel - 18.02.2016

Event marketing is intrinsic to the success of an event, if you haven’t got someone shouting about your event, it will probably flop. Events are social and social media is social (the clue is in the name), so it’s very fitting that social platforms can and should be used to promote your events...plus, it’s a free tool, which is obviously kind of fantastic. If you get it right, you’ll reap the benefits… if you get the event marketing wrong, you’ll run the risk of no one turning up for your event and being labelled as a failure (and you might get sacked)

Online engagement plays a huge role in offline interactions, nurturing relationships online will build trust in your company or brand and help spread the word about who you are, what you stand for and what you do. The more positive relationships you have online; the more people will invest in your brand and help spread the message.

Lead time

If your event is confirmed and you have the time, around 2-3 months prior to the event date is the perfect amount of time to build up anticipation and excitement around your event through event marketing. Plus, it allows people to block out time in their busy schedules to pencil your event in. If you’re wondering about what time is best to post on social media, think about when you most scroll through your social media feeds.

Twitter: the perfect platform

With Facebook’s organic reach steadily declining, it’s becoming increasingly harder to get your message out there. There’s nothing more disheartening than writing a blog, sharing it on Facebook and then seeing it only “reached 2 people”, yet you have well over that number of fans on your page. The obvious reason behind this is because Facebook wants you to cough up some dough to reach more people (we’ll go into Facebook targeting later on), which if you have the budget works well, if you don’t, then Twitter is your best pal for marketing an event.

Most profiles on Twitter are public, making it easy for you to follow and engage with your potential audience, it may sound obvious but make sure that your profile is public too, otherwise people won’t be able to share your content and only your current followers will be able to see it. A great (and slightly sneaky) way to gain more followers is to follow your competitor’s followers, who will share similar interests to what you are doing. If your number of people you're following exceeds how many followers you have, you can always trim it down later.

Another bonus of using Twitter is that you can post more content per day than on Facebook, because Twitter’s newsfeed is constantly updating, posting regular content on Twitter is much less spammy than it is on Facebook. However, it can be quite challenging to get your posts out there, as Facebook wants you to pay for your posts to be seen.

Another feature you may not be utilising on Twitter is hashtags. Hashtags and Twitter come hand in hand, you may find hashtags annoying (we’ve all got that friend on Instagram who #hashtags #every #word), use no more than 2 hashtags per tweet on Twitter in order for the tweet to be effective (and more importantly, not annoying).

Dedicate a Hashtag to your event and run with it

Using an event specific hashtag allows you to track how effective your event marketing is and how many people are using it, it also gives you some great content post event. If you have marketing collateral for the event, such as posters, banners and flyers, include the hashtag on it, that way people know how to engage with your event on social media (whack your social handles on there too). For digital collateral include a share to social media button.

Releasing information slowly in the run up to your event will help build excitement. If you’ve got important speakers and guests attending the event tag them in posts in the lead up, chances are they will retweet you as getting more people to the event will benefit them too. Here’s a snippet of information: if you write “please retweet” at the beginning of your tweet instead of the abbreviated “RT”, you’re 4x more likely to get a retweet.

Take a leaf out of Beyoncé’s book and listen

We’ve all heard the phrase “You’ve got two ears and one mouth” being knocked around in social media spheres for a while. It may be a bit of a cliché (for want of a better word) but it’s true. Listen to what people are saying about you. Platforms such as Hootsuite, Hubspot and Sprout Social all have keyword searches where you can track what people are saying about your business on social media without having tagged you. You might not always like what you read, but criticism may help shape how you approach things in the future.

Throwbacks are cheesy but they work

If you’ve thrown events in the past, post some throwbacks from the event and tag previous attendees. They’ll hopefully remember how shit-hot your event was and spread the word/attend your next one.

Event Marketing Social media


Twitter lists

Something we forgot to mention in our previous monologue about how great Twitter is, is Twitter lists. If you’re an avid user of Twitter you’ll know all about Twitter lists, if you’re a novice, keep reading this paragraph. Twitter lists allow you to construct public and private lists of Twitter users, and see the content they post in one concise place. You can make lists of your competitors, people who regularly engage with your company (if they scratch your back, scratch theirs), key stakeholders and people who share similar interests to what your company does. Visit these lists daily and engage with these users, if you engage with them, you’ll get on their radar. Seek out Twitter accounts that are relevant to your city/company/event that have a high number of followers. When you share an image through Twitter you can tag up to ten different Twitter accounts in it and it doesn’t affect your word count, so get tagging!

From lists to listings

Listings website are free and are great way to get your event out there. Share the listing and tag the websites social handles in it, usually they have a large following and they might retweet, share or regram it. For listings try websites such as Eventbrite, Skiddle and city specific ones too, The Londonist, Visit Manchester, Timeout etc. Not many companies build this task into their event marketing plan, but trust us, it works.

Sponsored posts work, if you’ve got the budget

Facebook allows users to sponsor posts, letting you target audiences by age, gender, location and interests. You have to be careful though, Facebook will reject a post where the image has copy in it, which can be frustrating. When promoting your event, you can target people who live close by and have previously expressed an interest in something similar to what your event is doing. The best thing about sponsoring a post is that you can set your own budget and therefore how many people your post will reach. The downside to this is that Facebook is quite vague in terms of how many people you will reach.

If you have the time and know how to do it, read up on Facebook algorithms and work out how to boost your post without having to cough up the cash.

So, in a nutshell, the below practices will help your event marketing and help you promote your event successfully on social media:

  • Get tagging
  • Have a lead time of 2-3 months
  • Dedicate a hashtag
  • Listen to what people are saying about you
  • Use listing websites
  • Twitter lists
  • Sponsored posts

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. Make sure your social media management is helping not damaging your brand by reading our post "How to boost your brand reputation with social media management"

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