Make Your Events More Social with Social Media Marketing Channels
Do you use social media marketing to promote your events? You should be. Not only is the price right – it’s free – but social channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter deliver a targeted audience that is ready and willing to help promote your event by sharing it with their connections. Below, we’ll take a look at how you and your business can use three social media marketing channels – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – before, during and after your next live event.
Let’s Start with LinkedIn
The Events Application in LinkedIn is an absolute must for event promotion. This is especially true if your event is geared towards the B2B crowd or specific industry professionals. For example, a trade show related to the financial services field will find the LinkedIn Events Application a must-have tool in their promotional tool box.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how this application works and how you can use it to promote your next event. After logging in to your account, you will find the Events link under “More” on the top menu. The first thing you will notice is a list of events that LinkedIn thinks you might be interested in attending. More on this in the next paragraph.
Using the LinkedIn Events App
Click the “Create an Event” button and then enter the specifics of your live event. Make sure to use industry and event-specific keywords in your description. LinkedIn will use this information, along with information in user profiles to recommend your events to professionals on its network. Remember that “Events you may be interested in” section mentioned in the previous paragraph?
Once your event is created, it is time to promote your event. Make sure to share a status update about your event with your connections. Visit the industry-related groups you are a member of (if you are not a member of any groups, do do that now!) and post the url for your LinkedIn Event. You can also use the social sharing tools provided by LinkedIn to share your event on Facebook and Twitter with the click of a button.
The coolest part of this application is that your attendees can click the “I’m attending” button and introduce themselves to all attendees. This function allows attendees to ask questions, network with other professionals and promote your event to their LinkedIn connections.
After your event is complete, use the Polls application in LinkedIn to ask for feedback from your event. Invite your attendee list to provide that feedback based on their experience. Then use that feedback to make your next live event even more successful.
Using Facebook Fans to Spread Your Message
According to Eventbrite, a company that specialises in planning, promoting and selling tickets on social media marketing channels, Facebook is the best social network for promoting events. This is not to say that LinkedIn and Twitter should be avoided. Each social channel has its own benefits as you are learning in this article.
It turns out – and this is probably not a big surprise – that users of Facebook are more inclined to share content with their friends and connections than users of other social media networks. This inclination to share allows your event to spread virally across Facebook and boost the popularity of your event.
Share and Spread with Facebook
Like LinkedIn, Facebook has an Events application that is free to use and easy to set up. To set up your event, click the “Edit Page” button on your Facebook Timeline Fan Page and the click the “Apps” link on the left-hand side of the page. From there, just follow the instructions for setting up your next event.
There are quite a few benefits of Facebook’s Events application. Once you set up your event, you can quickly invite all of your Fans to attend. The event shows up on your Timeline page where you can pin it to the top until the event is over. A notification of this status update will appear on your Fans’ news feeds as well. And when a Fan chooses to attend your event and RSVPs, they are more than likely going to share that status with their friends which gives your promotion a viral element.
A few other cool benefits of using Facebook’s Events app is that a page is created for your event where invitees and attendees can post content such as questions on the wall. You can easily interact with these people and help to further promote your event. Also, Facebook Events are often indexed by the search engines giving you a little more promotion and seo juice.
A Few Facebook Extras
There are a few simple strategies you can put to use during your event also. If this is a day-long event or weekend trade show, these might just encourage a few last-minute attendees to show up. Create a “tag a photo” promotion and have attendees take photos, upload them to Facebook and tag them. Give away a prize an hour to encourage more photos, tags and news feed promotion.
Make sure to post status updates during the event. Share what is going on and maybe mention a few attendees by name (get their permission and ask if you can tag them). Once again, this will promote your event both on your Facebook Timeline Page and on that user’s friends’ news feeds.
Twitter Keeps the Conversation Moving
Just because Twitter does not provide users with an event application like social media marketing channels LinkedIn and Facebook does not mean it should be left out of the mix when it comes to event promotion. Obviously you can use Twitter to tweet your event information to your followers and ask them to retweet to their followers. However, one of our favorite ways to use Twitter is during the actual event itself.
Start by creating a relevant hashtag for your event. You might want to create multiple ones to generate more promotional power. Use these hashtags for question and answer sessions, to set up a contest/promotion or for anything else you can come up with to get folks talking during your event. These hashtags will start conversations, continue conversations and get people talking about your event which promotes it across a wide-range of Twitter streams. Plus, after the event is over, you can mine these tweets for company, product, service or event feedback.
The Power of the List
Have you often wondered how to use the “List” feature in Twitter? Here’s a powerful strategy that is perfect for your events. Start by creating a list and titling it something like WillBeGoingTo[add your event name here]. Add all of the attendees who are on Twitter to this list and then add it to your blog or website. The psychology of people seeing other people going to your event will grow your attendance numbers.
Another simple strategy is to use a tool for marketing events on Twitter called TweetMyEvents. This is a free “real-time Social Media event Marketing platform for the social web” that allows you to market and promote your events simply and easily. The service will not only promote your event on Twitter but also on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Get on-board the social event marketing train
Social media event marketing is not a fad. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be part of an effective strategy that will not deplete your promotion budget. We suggest that each and every one of you use social networks as part of your event marketing strategy. The benefits definitely outweigh any reasons not to do so.
Do you have any success tips to share about using social networking before, during and after events?