Your social media strategy should depend on the size and scope of your event. If you’re hosting a one-time gathering without an entry fee, you can probably get away with a simple Facebook business page and Twitter account. But if you’re looking to expand your reach without blowing out your budget, it’s time to go all-in with a comprehensive social strategy.
Here are a few key ways to make a splash on social:
Dream up an official hashtag and use it everywhere — not just in your social media postings, but on your website and any printed materials.
Promote your event across all of your social channels — and don’t forget about often-overlooked real estate like your organization’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile pictures and background images.
Create a content calendar that will keep postings up-to-date and frequent. Include the cadence of your organic posts, paid ads, and any social influencers you’d like to involve.
Draft a formal agreement with your event’s talent, hosts, and sponsors to cross-promote your event to their networks.
Link from your Facebook page directly to your ticketing provider so that it makes it easier to reel in attendees, whether they’re surfing Facebook on desktop or mobile.
Produce share-worthy content
Above and beyond simple social media posts, creating custom content for your event creates an enormous payoff. Yes, it’s more time-consuming, and you might consider hiring a freelance writer or graphic designer to help you, but there’s tremendous ROI potential. Viral infographics, blog posts, and how-to guides can rack up thousands of likes, shares, and visits. This type of content isn’t just good marketing; it gives you “thought leadership” points, helping you to be seen as an expert in your niche. And it helps with search engine rankings.
Use retargeting to seize the moment
Retargeting ads target people who visited and left your event page without buying a ticket. While this isn’t the cheapest tactic, it’s one of the most efficient — Keep in mind that you don’t have to retarget site visitors immediately after they leave your page. In fact, you might want to wait until a slow period, or when you’ve nearly sold out of discounted tickets.
Tip: Retargeting ads are most effective when they create a sense of urgency. Use language like “only X days left” or “only X tickets remaining” to help motivate attendees.
Start a friendly competition
Create a hashtag-driven contest for your social networks — Twitter and Instagram are the easiest channels for this strategy. Ask your networks to tweet the answer to a question, or Instagram a photo using a custom hashtag. Have fun with it! Giving away a free or discounted ticket is one of the most cost-effective incentives you can offer — especially if you drum up media attention in the process.
If you’re going to invest in online promotion, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. Luckily, one of the best things about digital marketing is that you can measure your results. Where are your ticket sales are coming from? Is your audience more engaged with your tweets, your monthly newsletter, or those retargeting ads you’ve been experimenting with?
With the right technology, this information is readily available. If your event platform allows it, start by setting up tracking links for your marketing channels. This will tell you which channels generate the highest sales, so you can make sure every rand is being used wisely. And with the cash you save, you’ll be able to invest in crafting an even better event experience for all of those new fans.