While event marketing focuses on the face-to-face experience of attending, sponsoring, and speaking at trade shows or industry meet-ups, social media facilitates similar shared experiences, creating brand advocates on a much larger scale.
Adding social media to your event marketing strategy allows audiences to contribute to event content, promote the event to their followers and friends, share the event experience through images and conversations, evaluate the event in real time, and extend the experience post-event.
Here are three key social strategies to consider implementing through social media marketing promotion to increase the reach and impact of your event:
Storytelling – Your event is telling a story and you are the director. Create your brand story by providing your audience shareable content to talk about: insider information, exclusive interviews, stage set-up, or post-party event images. All of these are popular options to increase shares and create more buzz. Be strategic with your image choices and captions to set the stage for the story you want to tell. A well-written blog post by an event organizer, conference attendee with a large online following, or a speaker can move the post-event conversation to your website. And be sure to listen to how people respond; their contributions build out the story line.
Live Tweeting – Not everyone can make it to your event in-person, especially if it involves travel, but they can still actively participate in real time via Twitter. Create and use an event hashtag in all your updates to allow your extended audience to follow the event feed, retweet, and engage. Be prepared to moderate and lead the direction of this fast-moving chat. Tweets should share valuable content, fun quotes, breaking news, and images from the show floor to keep excitement and engagement high.
Cross Promotion – Ensure your event promotion is cross-platform by including links to your event page on your Facebook profiles, fan pages, Twitter, blog, email list, YouTube, Google+, and other social and activity sites. Don’t just link to these social avenues — instead, generate excitement to get people involved and talking. Tell them what’s in it for them, tell them everywhere, and make it easy to share. Don’t forget to ask speakers, fire-starters, influencers, and media to help spread the word.
Your event community should be the communication hub before, during, and after your event. You want conversations to flow between attendees sharing ideas, networking with other attendees and discussing trends. The long-term effect will be a viral event community that grows year after year.