6 Quick Steps to Market Your Event on Social Media

Social media apps on a mobile phone
Need to market your event on social media now? Follow these 6 steps to get started fast.

Social Media is a scary term for many event organizers. How do you properly market yourself in a medium that is largely controlled by the end user? How do you know what social media tools are for you?

The answer itself is also a scary one: it depends.

However, as an event organizer, you can’t afford to be ignorant of social media marketing. Your event must have a presence in this digital marketing realm. Unlike other marketing opportunities, when communicating through social platforms, you’re not talking at your participants; you’re talking with them. You’re providing content that can be liked, shared, retweeted, pinned, and commented on. Social media provides you the way to create not a customer, but a raving fan; one who is ready to sing your praises at every whim.

Social media allows you to connect with your audience, to make your raving fans a part of your event. Social media is like word-of-mouth advertising, with the added bonus of receiving actual data about the number of people you’ve engaged.

Feed the beast.  It looks worse to have a Facebook or Twitter page that hasn’t been updated frequently than to not do it at all. You’ve got to be continually thinking about how you can engage with your customer.”

To guide your own event’s social media strategy, here are six steps you need to take to ensure success:

1. Choose a Social Media Marketing Specialist

You need to have one person in control of the message across the multiple social media channels that you select to use. This person needs to understand how social media works and also understand the message of your event’s brand. Keep in mind: you can teach your specialist how to use social media tools properly, but you can’t teach someone how to be invested in your brand. Choose someone who knows what your event stands for and how that relates to your participant.

2. Select Social Media Platforms for Your Event

Understand that each tool is different from one another. Although at their heart, Facebook and Twitter are both tools to share status updates, the way that each is consumed requires you to think about the content that will be readily accessible.

Choose three social media channels that you think will be most beneficial to your brand and be different enough from one another that you won’t always post the same content.

3. Tailor Your Content to Each Social Media Platform

Provide different content across your social media platforms. When posting, consider how the content will be consumed. For example, Facebook users vary in age and tend to spend 35 minutes per day on the platform. Twitter, on the other hand, is a fast-paced channel that appeals to younger users. Your Facebook posts should be longer to engage with consumers who spend time reading up on family, friends, and events. Twitter, on the other hand, requires multiple short posts to give small chunks of information on your event over time.

4. Use Social Media to Build Your Event Brand

I use Twitter primarily as a customer service vehicle to build trust and establish my event’s brand. The personalized support engages our customer base and shows transparency. If something goes wrong, we don’t hide it. We resolve the issue publicly, creating trust that we will do everything to make the customer happy.

How can you best utilize your social media tools to reach that end?

5. Set a Frequency for Each Marketing Medium

When you understand the mediums that you’re using, you get a feel for how often your audience wants to hear from you in each format. For instance, you may decide that email marketing is a weekly tool after seeing your unsubscribe rate spike with more frequent emails. For Facebook, most organizations post daily or every couple of days. Twitter moves more rapidly and may require multiple posts per day.

6. Feed the Beast!

Social media marketing requires constant maintenance. The truth is that it looks worse for your event to have a Facebook or Twitter page that hasn’t been updated frequently than to not have it at all. You need to be continually thinking about how you can engage with your customer on social media.

 

These six steps will help you get started with a winning social media strategy for your event that will help build buzz and increase attendees. Understanding how to engage your customer  will help you make them more invested in your brand and your events. People want to feel like they belong to something; make them feel like they belong to your group of raving fans!

 

Ryan Heisler is Social Media Manager and Online Registration guru for Maine Running Company, Maine’s only running specialty store.

3 thoughts on “6 Quick Steps to Market Your Event on Social Media

  1. Mark–

    The best practice, IMO, in regards to that sort of thing would be to have a limited number of brand ambassadors who, in exchange for race entry fee/goodies/discounts, would promote the brand. But make sure that it is public knowledge that these people are receiving something in return for the promotion of the event.

    Here’s why: it can be deceptive to have people look like they’re raving about your event because of the experience, when instead they’re raving about your event because they’re receiving something for it.

    I’m a prime example: the Revolution3 Triathlon series sponsors me. I promote their events, but I also take every effort to make sure people know that I’m receiving something in return. I think that it builds a layer of trust with your potential customers in that they trust you to make the decision as to whether this person is saying it merely because they’re sponsored, or because they believe in the event and happen to be sponsored by something they believe in…if that makes sense.

  2. Mark, thanks for your comment. We agree that participants can be an event’s best advocates. SignMeUp’s Friend Get Friend program allows event administrators to reward registrants for getting their friends and family to sign up.

  3. Social media presents an opportunity for events is to engage athletes to promote an event to their friends in exchange for a small incentive. We are researching how this helps with “incentive widgets”. See the “Get a discount” button on runforyoung.org, wrightsvillebeachmarathon.com, http://www.midtownraceseries.com.

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