How to Use Social Media For Events Marketing

Here’s the dilemma: your organization or business hosts many events, only to have lackluster turnouts. Or maybe your events have an awkward ebb and flow: some events are packed while others only garner a small handful of attendees. If your organization or business already has an established social media presence, it’s time to kick up your event marketing by leveraging that social media presence to your advantage.

Schedule Your Event Buzz

Like any promotional effort, you need to create a calendar of just how much information you’ll be releasing over time about your event. Think of your event like a movie: first, you’ll want to release some kind of visual teaser, be it an event flyer (movie poster) or short video advertisement (movie teaser). As your event date gets closer, you’ll want to release more in-depth, engaging information about the event (full movie trailer).

Depending on the size and scope of your event, your promotional calendar might be as long as a month or as short as two weeks in advance. Some events thrive on shorter, more intense campaigns while others need time to stoke the fires and build buzz among your clients and potential guests.

Update your Facebook Page Timeline Cover to show a preview of what your event is about. The Facebook Timeline Cover is a great spot for a splashy “Save the Date” visual so your fans see it every time they visit your Facebook Page.

With Twitter, create a dedicated hashtag and start tacking it on to every relevant tweet about your event. Encourage others to start using your dedicated hashtag as well in the lead up to your event.

A Little Name Dropping Never Hurts

If your event has any VIPs (notable sponsors, guests or presenters(, you’ll want to name drop them as often as you can before your event. Thanks to social media, tagging these special VIPs is simple to do. Tag your VIPs in your Facebook Page posts and mention them in your tweets. Tack on your dedicated hashtag and a “Please RT!” to capitalize on that retweet power.

Everyone wants to spread that social media love around, so contact your VIPs and see if they’d be willing to do the same by talking about your event on their Facebook Page or Twitter accounts and tagging your business when they do. It can’t hurt to make your social media event marketing efforts mutually beneficial for both you and your event VIPs.

Take it up a notch by asking your VIPs to provide testimonials in blog posts leading up to your event. Let their clout drive more interest to your event.

Feed Potential Guests’ Visual Appetites

There’s more to promoting your event than simply saying “Join us at X time on Y date for Z event.” You need to give potential attendees and sponsors something visual to go on. Now with sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, you can add entirely new depth of visual appeal to your events.

On Pinterest, start creating pinboards related to your event. You can create a pinboard of your event sponsors, swag bags – even the menu of your event. Give folks a sneak peek of what they could be missing if they don’t go.

With Tumblr, you can create a visually driven blog to create buzz and build supplementary interest in your event. Take one small, but important part of your event and magnify it with visually-striking content to build excitement about the entire event. Use your VIP testimonials to balance visuals with engaging textual content. Think of your Tumblr event blog as a pinboard with more text.

Virtual Engagement for Attendees and Onlookers

As much as you want people talking about your event before it happens, you’ll also want to engage folks AT the event using social media. Does your event have its own FourSquare location? Give your guests a location they can check into and even share photos and tips throughout the event. For conferences, use that dedicated Twitter hashtag to promote upcoming workshops and sessions or impromptu meetups.

Give your event onlookers a taste of the action by live-blogging or live-tweeting the event. Make sure to post photos so folks who couldn’t make it to your event have a visual reference to your live coverage.

Show Them Your Highlight Reel

If you think social media is only good for everything before your event, think again. Let guests and VIPs relive the event by compiling your event’s highlight reel. This is a great opportunity to thank those VIPs and sponsors.

You can create photo albums from your event with Flickr, Facebook and Tumblr. The advantage of Facebook photo albums is that you can tag people in your photos, thereby driving more eyes to your album and business. Invite guests and attendees to send you their photos to add to your post-event photo albums. This is also a perfect opportunity to use video to enhance your event’s story.

If your business or organization has a blog, make sure to recap the night’s events. If you live-tweeted your event, sites like Storify can help you summarize and highlight pertinent tweets and you can even embed those tweets right into your recap blog post.

The secret to showing your highlight reel after the event is over only helps to build buzz and momentum for your next great event.

What other ways have you leveraged your social media presence to market your events?

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