Social media is one of the best ways of getting word out about an event. You can reach a large audience who will interact regularly with each channel. It’s a great way to connect with individuals and other companies.
Having a presence on different social media platforms is vital for businesses today. It builds brand recognition as well as providing a means to communicate with your audience. It’s important to tailor your content for each website as they all focus on different things. But by posting content on all of them you will reach different segments of your audience.
It’s important to have a strategy to get the most from social media. Most people just focus on marketing an event before it happens. But to get the most from social media it should be used before, during and after the event.
Here we look at how to use social media to promote your attendance at an event.
1. Choose the right platform
Each social media platform attracts different audiences and has different formats. The ones you use will depend on your target audience and the type of event.
- Facebook – generally attracts an older audience.You can use Facebook to link up with the event organiser’s page. Share updates about when and where the event is taking place. You can also live stream from the event itself.
- Instagram – is more about images, posting photos of the event both from previous visits and during the event itself. Use the same hashtag as the event organiser so that people can find your posts. Use the countdown facility on Instagram stories to build anticipation around the event.
- LinkedIn – is a website for professionals so is good for targeting businesses. Post information about the event, including speakers, to generate interest from other businesses.
- Twitter – is best suited for quick updates. Again use the event hashtag to expand your reach.
- Snapchat – attracts a mostly younger audience so will be suitable if teenagers or young adults are your target audience.
- Tiktok – also attracts a younger audience and is suited to short video clips about the event.
2. Before the event
Start promoting your attendance at an event several weeks before it is due to take place. Take the following actions:
- Post about it on your Facebook and Instagram pages if it is a B2C event.
- If it is a B2B event post on LinkedIn.
- Use the event organiser’s hashtag to expand your reach – others will find your post if they search under the hashtag.
- Keep your posting slow and steady – a barrage of sales messages is likely to put people off. But post regularly, several times a week.
- Use the countdown feature on Instagram to build anticipation.
- Pique interest with teaser posts – drip feed information about the event to followers.
Exhibition stand contractor Quadrant2Design uses Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote their modular exhibition stands at trade shows and events. MD Alan Jenkins said “We put photos of the stands on Facebook and Instagram, and videos taken during the show. These give viewers an idea of the buzz and atmosphere at the event, and also show off what we can do.”
3. During the event
Social media should continue to be used to promote event attendance when you are there. Live streaming the event via Facebook can really get users’ attention. Live Streaming is growing at fantastic speed on Facebook. Emarketer estimates that in 2023, people will spend an average of 92 minutes per day watching digital video, and Facebook itself says that people spend more than three times longer watching a video when it’s live than when it’s no longer live.
Plan what parts of the event you want to record and put a member of staff, like a marketing manager, in charge of doing this. You will then have plenty of footage to choose what you want to post from.
Take photos of your stand and post them on Instagram and Facebook. Use the event hashtag and let people know where they can find you. Post photos and livestreams of presentations at the event that people might find interesting.
If you are offering branded merchandise, post about this on social media – freebies are always popular, and this will bring visitors to your stand. Research has shown that people keep branded products for up to 2 years after the event, so your branding will live on in their minds.
If you are running a competition or giveaway, post about this too, it all helps to get people to your stand.
4. After the event
Use social media to reach out to contacts you made at the event. Thank them for their time and offer further assistance. Social media is great for networking. Use it to link up with other companies who were at the event. They will probably be using the event hashtag too. You never know when another business might be able to help your business grow. You may find a new partner or supplier, or a mentor who can offer you advice.
Post more videos or a selection of photos that cover the whole event. Provide content that people want to share:
- Images are popular on all platforms: Facebook posts with images receive 3 times as many shares as those without, and Tweets with images get shared twice as often, according to an OKDork/BuzzSumo analysis of 100 million posts.
- Aim to produce content that generates laughter, entertainment, awe, or positive recognition about your organisation.
- Don’t forget to re-post successful content, as long as it is still relevant.
Social media is a great tool for event promotion, before, during and after the event. You can reach new audiences with clever use of hashtags. It is also useful for networking with other businesses and potential customers that you meet during the event