I had the pleasure of helping SCORE Greater Phoenix promote their Symposiums, a mall promote their 40th anniversary, businesses with grand openings, as well as organizations publicize major trade shows and expos.
Whatever your event might be — a seminar, webinar, open house, fundraiser, product launch party, grand opening, anniversary celebration, holiday function — you can use social media — especially hashtags(#) — to promote it and your company – before, during and after!
Before the Event
Write out a promotion plan. Get your team playing in the same ballpark and assign organization and promotion duties. Coordination should start well in advance depending on how large an event it is. For instance one of my past clients held their annual, 3-state event in Sept. They started preliminary planning in May. Yes, May.
Sure, you can put on an event in 2 weeks. However, the more time you have to plan, the less stress you’ll have and the more promotion you’ll be able to get out.
At least 4 weeks before the event:
- Create an event on LinkedIn and Facebook or use a service like Eventbrite. If you’re going to charge for the event, Eventbrite connects with PayPal to process tickets. Furthermore, on Facebook and LinkedIn you can link it to Eventbrite or whatever system you use for registration.
- Create an event hashtag and use it consistently when promoting it on all the social networks. For the SCORE event, we had #SCOREPhxExpo and for the Mall it was #Metrocenter40th. When someone clicks on the hashtag, all the posts with it will come up.
- Post the event link on all your social media networks and encourage your followers to invite people. Invite all your friends, clients and followers. Pin it to the top of your pages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Add the link to your email newsletter. Send out special invites and announcements.
- Put it on your website and/or blog. Blog about it.
- Do a short video promo. Upload it everywhere.
- Build up curiosity – entice people to click on the link.
- Share it with groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.
- If it’s a public event at a special venue, tag the venue in the posts. Add them as hosts on Facebook. They’ll have to accept and then it appears under the events on their page. It behooves them to share it with their followers.
Don’t just post it on your company social pages. Share it on your personal profiles. People connect with people. There are more likely to respond to a personal invite than from a business posting. If you’re going to have speakers and participants, ask them to share it on their social networks using the event hashtag.
Keep posting and sharing it at least every other day until 2 weeks before the event. Use HootSuite, Buffer, TweetDeck or Dlvr.it to schedule posts for the future. Reword each post so it’s not repetitive like:
- Don’t miss…
- There’s still room…
- Not too late to register…
2 Weeks before the event start a countdown:
You’ll want to be posting every day for the next week then twice a day for the final week before the event.
- 2 week until the….
- 1 week…
- 5 days left…
- It’s tomorrow!….
Don’t over do it. Also, be careful not to post the exact same thing over and over again. Reword the posts and use different graphics and videos.
Invite your LinkedIn connections. Make sure you’re not randomly choosing people as that comes across as SPAM. Carefully choose the recipients that you feel would be interested in the event. Watch that you don’t invite someone who is from out of town. Sure, they may want to come in for it. In that case, give them enough notice. It helps to know your target market. Ever since I’ve been in Phoenix doing classes, I quickly learned that Phoenix people are last minute people. Whatever tool you use, it should have an “add to calendar” feature. This helps getting registrants to actually attend.
During the Event
Encourage participants to check-in on Facebook and post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram using the event’s #hashtag throughout the event. If enough people are tweeting with it, it may start trending. Create flyers and have them scattered around the event so people remember to use the hashtag. In this day of social selfies, many events use photo booths, with a special branded backdrop, so people can take pictures with other participants.
You can also ask folks to post questions via Twitter during the event with a different hashtag. Be sure to answer as many as possible. Make sure you have someone monitoring it live.
I remember one event a few years ago in the early days of Twitter. Between me and another gal, we were posting quotes from the speakers on Twitter. Not only did we get the hashtag trending, we were tweeting so fast, we actually broke Twitter.
Take pictures and/or videos of the event and participants.
After the Event
Upload and share pictures and/or video on all the networks continuing to use the event’s hashtag. Post them on Pinterest as well as the other networks. Write an event wrap-up blog post and share that post.
Contact participants and answer any questions that may not have been answered during the event. Every question can become a blog post, along with a link to the event pictures or video. Keep using the hashtag.
Overall, it’s about using the free tools that social media provides to spread the word about your event. Even afterwards, people will see it and may attend subsequent events, building awareness of your business and what you have to offer.
It’s nice to see some in-person events happening again! If you need help planning the promotions for you event, schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation here.