As I look at my analytics I notice that there are a number of my older posts that continue to perform well, despite their age. I figured that if people are still visiting these posts regularly via search engines, it might be a good idea to reprise and update them, so that’s what I’ll be doing all week, starting with this post. Besides, I really needed a break!
A version of this post was originally published in April 2010.
I’ve been a part of quite a few events, both in the organizational and promotional stages. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to promote them via social media, based on my experiences:
1. Plan and Organize – Like any other aspect of marketing, go in with a plan. Know what your goals are, identify your target audience, and have things mapped out. In particular, once you know where you audience is, determine which social platforms you will use. Sure, things will change, but you can adapt on the way.
2. Create your event properly on Facebook – OK, so in the previous points I said you should plan and determine which social platforms you should use based on your audience, I jump right into Facebook. That’s because at this point, Facebook is almost a no-brainer for most businesses or non-profits, with 80% of U.S. adults online, and a high percentage of them on Facebook, it just makes sense.
As you create your Facebook event, make sure you include as much information as you can: title, date, time, any important details. Also include important links, including linking to your own website, as well as the various website of those involved, including possibly bands, donors, and the organization that is benefiting from the event. Make the details as specific as you can. And use pictures and videos if they fit. If you are using an event service like Eventbrite, Facebook has an app you can use to link to that properly.
Note: by nature, RSVPs to Facebook events tend to be “fuzzy”. Just because someone says they are coming, doesn’t mean they are. If you are selling tickets, make sure you link to information about ticket sales. If it is a free event, but you need a hard and fast RSVP count, make sure that is clear and link to that RSVP page.
3. Set the viral sharing in motion – Once your event is created and published, you need to get the word out. If it is part of a page or group, the SHOULD see that it exists, but don’t rely just on that. You and anyone involved can use the “share” function to post the event on your personal walls, thereby letting your friends know. You can also use the “invite” function to personally invite any number of friends. As people RSVP that they are coming, encourage THEM to share and invite. The more the merrier.
Note: be selective as you invite. If the event is in Lancaster, and you have a friend in Kansas…probably best not to invite them. Invite your friends that you are pretty sure would be interested in this specific event.
4. Compliment your social with traditional – As powerful as social media can be, don’t stop there. There is nothing wrong with a full marketing campaign with whatever elements you think will work and will fit into your budget. Use posters, as well as other traditional media, including PR, print, billboards, etc. On printed materials, you might want to use a QR Code to direct users to your event page.
5. Tap into all channels – Don’t overlook other channels of promotion. Even though MySpace is on the decline, it still can be strong for music events. For some events, LinkedIn might even work. Be open minded as to how to get the word out. And of course you can have people blog about the event before (and after). Make sure all of your partners are using their social media outlets and email lists to promote the event as well.
How can you use platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, or even Foursquare to promote the event? As people check in at the venue or partner businesses in the weeks prior to the event, perhaps they can receive a tip telling them about the event. Every little bit can help.
6. Frequent Updates – As details change, add them to your event pages. Not only does this make the information current, but it pushes the information out to the Facebook feeds of those who are involved. If you have sponsors for your event, add them as they come on board.
7. Use multiple touch points – Not just Facebook, but also use Twitter to spread the word, as well as traditional websites. A key to marketing is having multiple touch points for your audience. If you can reach someone in three different places, they are more likely to remember your event. You can even using brick and mortar locations to sell tickets and hang posters for your event. The hope is that people will have no excuse NOT to have heard about your event.
8. Give people opportunities to participate – If someone is involved in an event, they feel more invested and are more likely to spread the word. Ask for volunteer help and in kind donations. Printers, designers, food vendors, and equipment rental companies might consider donating their services. Give them proper credit for their donations of time and services, and because their name is attached, they are more likely to help out with promotion of the event, both online and on the street.
9. Set the Street Team in motion – Think of your fan base as a street team. Mobilize them and give them the tools they need to help you promote your event. This might include downloadable flyers that they can either send to friends in email, or print out for distribution. In some cases you might be able to reward them with free admission to the event, or perhaps a t-shirt or other item.
10. Engage early and often – Announcing an event isn’t enough. If people comment, engage them. Draw them into conversation. Give them a reason to post on your event wall. Respond to their comments and questions as quickly as possible.
11. Reminders – As you get closer to the event, Facebook events give you the opportunity to reach out. Send messages to those who are attending, the “maybes”, and all of the invitees. Use every tool that Facebook and other platforms give you. Many people make last minute decisions about events, so the last week is crucial.
12. Be Creative – Think of unique ways of promoting the event. Are there local podcasts and bloggers who can promote the event? Perhaps you can stream the event live on Ustream. Another thing that often works is getting “supporters” of your event to change their Facebook profile pictures and Twitter avatars to something related to your event, such as a logo or even a Twibbon.
Every event is unique and your approach to promoting an event will be different every time. As you create and produce more events, you’ll learn from what you and others have done in the past.
How have you promoted your events? What do you find works for you?
- Best of Remix: Blog Theft – When Your Work is Stolen (inklingmedia.net)
- Best of Remix: The Key to Growing Your Facebook Fan Base (inklingmedia.net)
- Non-Profits, Volunteers, and Social Media (inklingmedia.net)
- Facebook’s Promoted Posts: Are They Worth the Cost and Effort? (inklingmedia.net)