Do you or your business conduct events? Are you wondering how to use social media to promote those events? This post is to show you simple ways you can promote your events online with the aid of social media and effective social media tools.
Social media is a powerful tool to gain exposure, whether you’re hosting a physical conference or an online event. In this 2 part article I’ll show you 16 creative ways to increase awareness, engagement and sales for your event.
16 ways to promote an event
In this 2 part series I’ll list out 16 ways you can promote your event but for this part, I’ll list 8 simple ways to do that.
1. Use Facebook Ads to Remarket to Prospects
Facebook custom audiences allow you to show ads to people who have already visited your website. This is called remarketing (also known as retargeting). Advertisers can show event ads to Facebook users who left the website before purchasing a ticket.
Remarketing can be a very effective strategy because people rarely buy the first time they hear of an event or see an offer. This is especially true for big-ticket items like conferences and conventions.
If your event features well-known experts, include their likeness on your advertising assets.
Pro Tip: When you advertise to prior website visitors, be sure to exclude Facebook users who have already purchased a ticket. This can easily be accomplished by creating a custom audience from the same page you used to track conversions; i.e., your thank-you page.
Facebook allows you to include and exclude multiple audiences for each ad set.
2. Create a Highlight Reel From Prior Events
Video provides a unique opportunity to convey the energy and excitement of a live event. Great visuals and catchy audio are a potent combination that drives registration. It also creates engagement opportunities as the video is shared with friends.
Create a video that conveys the excitement and fun of your event.
Things to keep in mind when creating a video:
- Remember your intended audience; Your video should convey the value of your event to prospective attendees. Make the benefits of attending crystal-clear.
- Host on both YouTube and Vimeo; Each platform has different strengths, so take advantage of that. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world and the most used video platform on the Internet. Vimeo, though smaller, offers more control over your brand and no distracting banner advertisements.
Leverage it everywhere. Video can be shared almost everywhere: your website and/or event landing page, in your newsletter, in articles, with affiliates and on social media, including 15-second clips on Instagram. Click here to see how we used video on our Facebook event page.
Facebook loves video. Uploading native video maximizes your exposure in the news feed. In fact, Socialbakers reported that “Facebook videos achieved a 10 times higher viral reach than YouTube links did.” You can also set your video as Featured for maximum visibility on your Facebook page.
Remember to include a registration link in the description of your video, preferably near the top.
3. Harness the Power of Visual Testimonials
Do you have great comments in the exit surveys from previous events? Maybe you’ve interviewed attendees or speakers and captured statements of excitement about specific sessions, speakers or your event in general. Don’t let those nuggets go to waste!
Create a template with branded images and a consistent color palette to help unify your marketing efforts and make it easy to share testimonial quotes.
Create simple graphic images with these quotes and comments. Share these visuals in your email marketing campaign, social platforms, blog posts and email signatures.
Be sure to give attribution to the commenter. People love to see their comments used and they often share this type of graphic. Also, having these third-party statements lends credibility because they provide positive word of mouth about your speakers, sessions and event.
Bonus: Create a testimonial video. Video is an extremely effective medium to showcase the passion and enthusiasm your event inspires. A well-done testimonial video builds trust by allowing viewers to see and hear words of praise, rather than simply read them.
Testimonials from presenters are especially effective because they are generally considered trustworthy and credible sources of knowledge.
4. Empower Affiliates, Fans and Attendees With Shareable Assets
Make it easy to share your event. Provide a web page with branded downloadable resources that fit any platform.
For attendees: Capitalize on their excitement! Provide a button to immediately share a tweet or post when they land on your thank-you page after registering.
For affiliates/fans: Make it easy for them to share your event by providing a variety of downloadable content: audio, video, an article, graphics, updates (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+), email/blog posts and blurbs/newsletter updates.
Provide options to accommodate different posting styles as well as the image requirements of the various social networks. For example, rectangular images work best on Twitter, while square images look best on Instagram.
Rich media assets like audio clips and short videos ensure there is something for everyone to share.
5. Use Photos of Attendees in Social Updates
If you have a repeat event, leverage those fun photos you took at previous events. Even better, share user-generated content on your social accounts.
Take a flattering, fun picture of some of your attendees and create a status update. Identify the people in the picture and be sure to tag them if you can. This gives people an opportunity to comment and talk about how much they learned or what a great time they had and how much they’re looking forward to attending again.
Have a photo booth at your event to capture fun photos of attendees to use in marketing future events.
Photos of attendees look great in posts and they also make for creative ads!
6. Create One Unified Hashtag for Use Across All Social Channels
This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many events skip this vital step. Create, use and market your event-specific hashtag. You should be using this hashtag well in advance of your event dates and it should be included on EVERYTHING. Every digital image you create, every piece of collateral, your email signature… Anywhere you can think of—share it!
These super attendees remembered their hashtags—don’t forget to add yours!
By using an event-specific hashtag, you’ll make it really easy for people to find not only what you’re sharing, but what other people are saying, too!
This is also a great way to create and participate in an engaging conversation with attendees and interested parties.
Not sure about hashtag best practices? Check out this article to learn more.
7. Mention Your Event and Hashtag in All of Your Bios
Now that you’ve created your hashtag, don’t forget to add it to the Bio (About) section of each of your social accounts. An event hashtag in the Bio section is an often-underused tactic, but it has the potential for big gains. Once you have a link to your event, update your Bio section, and then people have a very simple way to find out more. They just need to click the link!
Not only does this create an easy way for people to see the event, it also ties that event directly to YOU. Ultimately, people connect to people and this is one way to give authenticity and transparency to you personally, not just the event.
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Bitly links in your bio are a great way to track the effectiveness of your event marketing on Instagram (shown here) and other social media sites.
8. Share Pictures of Speakers With Quote Overlays
It’s almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of using visuals in your marketing. Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted explains, “In this fast-paced, noisy online world, visual content is the best way to not only capture the attention of fans, but also to have them take action on your content.”
While a headshot of a speaker might excite some people, it’s important to share something worthwhile from that speaker as well. Take one powerful statement from each of your speakers and add that to a graphic containing a headshot of the speaker. This gives people something to tie to that speaker, a glimpse into his or her personality or presentation.
This also provides another opportunity to give your speakers additional exposure. (And for them to share with their own audiences, providing exposure for your event.)
Make sure the images are compelling and enticing enough to share.