Part 1: What Event Planners Should Know About Social Media Marketing

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Everyone will tell you that social media is important, but few will address how overwhelming it feels to start using it with all the social platforms available—especially in the context of event promotion.

We won’t hesitate to break the pressure you may feel: You, the event planner, don’t need to use every single social platform on the internet. In fact, it may be the worst decision that you could make without considering the needs of your organization. You may risk spreading your time too thin with minimal returns on your efforts.

We’re going to help you break down the basics of a social media marketing strategy for the events that you’re planning—whether it’s a charity race, corporate conference, running, triathlon, or any other event happening in the future.

Core Message Pep Talk: Know what’s unique about your organization and events.

Ask yourself:

  • What is special about the event I’m planning?
  • What is unique about my organization?
  • What does my organization offer in hosting this event that is different than other events like it?

These questions relate to branding (the core identity of your organization) and your value proposition (what your company/events have to offer that is unique). Before even thinking about how to post to social media, you need to hash out these key elements if you haven’t already (or if your organization or event has changed and these ideas need updating).

Your Event’s Digital Home: Let’s talk about your landing page.

If you read the phrase “landing page” and felt confused, we’ve already identified a space where your event can grow. A landing page is where a user lands first after clicking on a link that has a single, actionable focus. It can be used with an existing website or as a standalone page. A landing page is important because you need to direct traffic, namely interested participants, who click on your social media posts to a designated URL for your event.

Make sure your landing page has fun and purposeful information about your event, like:

  • Any special appearances/guests
  • Location
  • Date
  • Time
  • Prizes
  • An online registration form (like the ones you can build through SignMeUp)
    Pertinent business information
  • Applicable charity information (if you’re raising funds, why it’s important and how you plan to use the money raised)

We cannot stress enough that a landing page works best when paired with an online registration form. Having a call-to-action (CTA) button—what prompts the user to take action on the information you’ve presented—to register for your event gets interested prospects to sign up while it’s still front-of-mind and tip-of-tongue. Paper registrations won’t do that for you.

Understanding the Social Sphere: What sites are actually useful for event promotion?

Every social media platform has a purpose and a particular audience/demographic attached to it. If you’re posting identical content to all your social channels, you’re not using each platform to its full potential.

Like we said before, there are lots of social media sites. Here’s a quick breakdown of platforms that make sense for event promotion.

  • Facebook: Great for long-term communities

    • Has a wide user base, from youth to seniors
    • Capacity for boosted posts (posts you pay for that show up on the Timeline to reach more people) and ads
    • Can create public or private groups Includes live video streaming that posts to your page
    • Has business pages that allow users to like and follow your event/organization
  • Twitter: Great for quick updates

    • Has a competitive micro-blogging atmosphere
    • Fast-paced (it’s typical to gain and lose followers in a day)
    • Can use trending topics with hashtags (#) to position your promotions
    • Capacity for ads
    • Can create lists of accounts and people who follow you to reference and retweet
  • Instagram: Great for authentic visuals

    • Public and private photo sharing accounts
    • Business pages available for organizations
    • Strong communities of all kinds
    • Is integrated with Facebook, allowing cross-posting and ads
    • Informal atmosphere
    • Can connect with social media influencers
  • Snapchat: Great for capturing the moment spontaneously with your followers

    • Tends to have younger users
    • Video, photographic, and text storytelling
    • Creates an in-group of followers
    • Personalized and informal
    • Spontaneous and impermanent (messages disappear after opening)
  • YouTube: Great for sharing video content

    • Use it for promo videos, interviews, recordings of past events
    • Has major brand currency
    • Links to videos allow you to post to other social channels
    • Affects SEO results (how you show up in search engines like Google)
  • Google+: Great for community groups and Google SEO

    • Similar to Facebook
    • Posting on Google+ influences search engine ranking
    • Interest-group focused

The Next Step: Going from Frantic to Strategic

Now that you have a breakdown of useful social media sites, you can begin to plan a strategy that will fill the available spots for your event. Planning for how and what you post to social media, and when you intend to post, is important to get and to measure results. In our next blog, we’ll break down how you can use social media marketing strategy to get the results you want.

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