Build a Solid Social Media Plan Ahead of your Event

Social media platforms provide organizations with great opportunities to engage with potential clients, customers and attendees ahead of their events. At Lukas Partners, we see social media as the welcome mat at the front door of every organization, and there are various strategies to promote events to social audiences.

Start planning social media strategy well before the event for the best results.

Before an event:

Outline your social media strategy and budget, and plan to invest a small amount of money to sponsor or boost social media posts. At Lukas Partners, we have found that sponsoring and boosting certain posts can extend organizations’ reach beyond the existing core audience. Sponsored posts can be tailored to key audiences through targeted age groups, cities and professions. Paying to promote the event to the right audience can help build participation in a big way. Creating an event page on Facebook and circulating the event through paid placements on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can be a very effective technique, keeping in mind that rich images and videos are going to garner the most engagement from audiences throughout all platforms.

Display products to social audiences because most social media users are naturally drawn to visual elements. According to Brightcove, social video garners 1200% more engagement. Consider displaying photos and videos of new products to demonstrate new features, how they work and why/how consumers or businesses stand to benefit.

Tag and follow businesses, event organizers and other key players affiliated with the event on social media, well in advance of the event date. At Lukas Partners, we believe in harnessing the power and audiences of other entities involved to grow your core audience who may be interested in attending. Teaming up on social media can be a very effective strategy. When others involved in the event share related event content, it provides an opportunity to re-tweet or share to help promote the event and vice versa.

Encourage tweets and/or posts from those who are attending the event. Also, research or create a hashtag relating to the event. We tell clients to keep it simple and memorable when it comes to hashtags because short and effective hashtags are more likely to catch on. Ask others involved to share and use the hashtag when posting.

Drive people to your event through other social media aspects beyond posting. Add an event link in bios on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and create a dedicated profile or timeline photo for Facebook and other platforms. You also could put the link in your organization’s email signatures to help generate interest beyond social audiences.

Post a map to let people know where they can find your table, tent or booth if you are participating in an event.

Post a map to let people know where they can find your table, tent or booth if you are participating in an event.

Create contests and product giveaways to grow your presence on social media. Invite people to enter to win a product in exchange for a like or follow of your page. Another way to drive engagement through a contest is to ask contestants to share or re-tweet the post as a way to enter. We suggest this type of social media campaign as a way to generate excitement for an event that is seeking appeal to a broader audience.

Think about a team approach to events on social media. Social media networking to build a team supporting an event is key to building an audience. Post early and often, and vary posts so that the information is flowing at a continuous pace leading up to an event. Keep your social media messages clear, concise and grammatically correct. Tell the story of the event and give a good reason as to why people should attend.

During your event:

Live video is growing in popularity and attracts a greater audience on social media. At Lukas Partners, we suggest clients seize live video opportunities because according to Facebook, audiences watch live content three times longer. Think about offering your audience a live video tour or showcase a product live on social media. You also could stream part of the event live. We recommend a bit of planning in advance of any live video, including a connection test and basic game plan for the flow and content of the live video.

Consider running special pricing for a product that is being displayed at your event. You can advertise through social media as a way to increase foot traffic to your event.

Post a map to let people know where they can find your table, tent or booth.

Ask attendees to engage and post content to social media at the event. Create a special offer for a tweet or check-in on social media using a specific hashtag. Organizers also could arrange for posts with a certain hashtag to appear on a big screen at the venue. This can cause a domino effect on social media and possibly result in a trending hashtag. Having a photo booth or backdrop specifically for selfies and other photos is also optimal for social engagement at events. The bottom line is that events can build momentum on social media by making it clear to attendees that social media posts are not only welcomed, but encouraged. If you build it, the social media posts will come.

At Lukas Partners, we recommend organizations post on social media a few times during the event about what’s happening to entice audiences during the event. Use the event hashtag, keeping in mind that videos and photos will be most effective. Keeping others in the loop about what’s happening through social media or allowing them to participate in some way in their hometown can really boost engagement during the event.”

After the event:

If you’ve collected contact information for potential clients or business leads, follow up with them by writing a letter to the attendee, their company or their CEO. The letter should contain more information about your company and its products and services, and tailor the letter to the recipient. Let them know how your company can make their operations more efficient and offer tours or consultations. The art of letter writing is rare with the growth of social media, so your letter will stand out among the crowd.”

Use your new contact list to engage with the prospective clients and customers on social media. You could follow and like the pages of their companies. Using this strategy can, in turn, increase your social media presence and following and indirectly let the companies know that you were invested in them and their company needs.

Follow up with an email to attendees to thank them for attending. At Lukas Partners, we recommend recapping the event with stats and key takeaways. Be sure to include an actionable item, be it following a company blog or a save the date for next year’s event. Also connect with them on LinkeIn, and write something about the conference on LinkedIn to engage them.

Maximize content by repurposing it for social media. If you’re posting to social media, think about how you can re-use or re-tool the post for other platforms or for another time or date. You also can keep an eye on your social media analytics to capitalize more on engaging posts. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overdo it on social media. There is a fine line between posting often and posting too much. Follow best practices to ensure you aren’t bombarding your audience.

Organizations could greatly benefit by exploring all of the opportunities available to them for building up momentum before an event. Simply putting an event on Facebook isn’t enough in today’s social centered world. We live in a fast-paced, technology-driven society, and audiences today want video and rich images, as well as solid information and facts that provide enticement to attend events in-person. With 2 billion active Facebook users worldwide, social media can help drive more traffic and interest to the event itself which can give you more face-to-face time with potential event goers. Keeping an eye on social media trends also is a great way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your promotion strategy.

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