Whether you’re hosting a networking happy hour or a full-fledged conference, using social media to promote your event can increase attendance and awareness. Just think of it as putting the “social” in social media!
You probably have some of your event promotion bases already covered, like creating a Facebook event and a registration page. Yet there are a lot more things you can do – regardless of the size of your event – to not only increase your event’s attendance, but also raise awareness of your company or brand and give limited access to those who may not be able to attend.
Ready to get started? Try these social media promotion tips!
*Create a landing page. Once your event details are finalized, make an event-specific landing page. This will give you a centralized link that you can promote across numerous social media channels. Include a link to a separate registration page, or use a service like EventBrite for online registration.
*Custom URL. Use an URL shortener like Bit.ly to create a custom URL for your event. This not only helps with event branding, but also gives you more space in which to include event details, especially if you’re working with a limited amount of space on sites like Twitter.
*Create a Facebook group. Consider creating an event-specific Facebook group in addition to a Facebook event listing. You can choose the parameters of the group, such as if it’s invitation-only. A group is a great resource with which to enable conversation and connection among event attendees and those interested in your event and/or business. If you’re hosting a large-scale event, like a conference, creating an accompanying Facebook group gives people the opportunity to do a little pre-event networking and make plans. Plus, you’ll find that the group is a valuable discussion resource after the event, and gives participants an easy way to stay in contact.
*Cross-promote. Depending on the type of event, you may want to reach out to area professional organizations and networking groups to post your event on their online calendars. Not only will this give you the chance to reach a new audience, but these opportunities are likely free, meaning you won’t strain your event budget. You may also want to try sites like Yelp or Eventful, or reach out to the calendar divisions of your local media outlets.
*Hashtag a-go-go. As you begin to promote your event, create a custom hashtag that you can use on Twitter. It’s a good idea to include the hashtag on other promotional materials; this will help boost the tag’s recognition and make its use more widespread. Remember to keep it as short as possible (yet still make sense) so that you don’t take up too much valuable Twitter real estate. For example, if you’re planning an event called the Entrepreneurs Expo, your hashtag might be #entexpo or #entexpo11. Here’s another helpful hint: once you’ve established your hashtag, create a search column in your Twitter dashboard so that you can monitor what’s being said about the event. Or use a nifty tool like PinqSheets to track various search terms and hashtags.
*Promote your attendees. On your event’s registration page, include a field in which attendees can enter their Twitter handles. You may also want to include a checkmark box that gives you permission to promote their attendance. Then you can connect with attendees on Twitter, RT their tweets and publicly thank them for registering for your event.
*Create broadcast channels. If your event includes any sort of slide shows or presentations, create specific event channels on sites like SlideShare and YouTube. Embed these site links onto your main event page and link to that event site from your broadcast channels. Making these sorts of materials available is not only helpful for attendees who may need a recap, but also give those who couldn’t attend the chance to see your event’s value and make them eager to register for the next opportunity.
Now that we’ve given you a few tips, we’d love to hear yours! What have you done to use social media to promote your events? What’s worked and what hasn’t? We’d love for you to weigh in with your experience!