Social media continues to evolve at an exponential rate, and is no longer confined to just Facebook, Twitter and social channel updates. When a brand truly embraces social media, they are choosing to engage with real customers in real time, in meaningful conversations. Social is not simply confined to the digital world, but translates into every day life.
Events are an integral way for brands to connect with their customers and fans and can also be used to bridge the gap between social media’s digital efforts and the “real world”.
Here are some ways marketers can use social media to help promote a big, “real world” event:
1. Create an Event Hashtag
In a world where people speak in hashtags like “hashtag fail” or “hashtag winning” (thanks, Charlie Sheen), its no wonder the social search function has taken the digital and social world by storm. Facebook now allows hashtags in post content, and Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus have been using them for months/years.
Creating a branded event hashtag is an important step in monitoring and tracking conversations across platforms before, during and after the event. Tools such as TagBoard allow marketers to view hashtag conversations across all platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine to not miss a beat during the excitement of event promotion.
2. Social Media Content Calendar
Create a calendar of posts, tweets and video you will want and need to help assist with promoting an event. Carefully craft which pieces of content you will want to leak to drum up excitement and build buzz around the event. By carefully scheduling the content ahead of time, you can ensure that you are properly getting the word out across all social channels to leverage as much exposure as possible.
3. Run Social Sweepstakes or Promotions
People love free stuff, especially when it’s from a brand they love. When promoting an event, consider hosting a sweepstakes that works in tandem with your events calendar.
For instance, run a special discounted offer to your Facebook fans if they pre-register for the event. Or, host a “Retweet to Win” campaign on Twitter, where you reward one lucky follower a complimentary hotel room at the conference, or a private meet and greet with the company CEO. Social advocates are valuable assets for brands, so treat them right and they will continue to be loyal consumers.
4. Invite Influencers to the Event
The best way to leverage social media to help promote an event is to harness the power of social influencers in your industry and space. Identify ideal influential people who are relevant to your brand on social media and listen and learn about them. Connect with them on their channels and listen to how they engage, and what content they tend to share to their readers or followers. Then, infiltrate the conversations and connect with them on a personal level on behalf of the brand, and invite those who are relevant to come to your event and “cover” it via social media.
Email marketing is a powerful tool when trying to promote an off-line event. Add social media share options into the email to announce the event, and encourage subscribers to share across their social channels. Good call-to-actions include adding the event hashtag, taking them to a Facebook event RSVP app or registration capture on your website. Email is also a great way to share social media coverage post-event and link them to an album (perhaps on Facebook), where they can look through the event photos.
How are you using social media to help promote a big event, or what is an example you’ve seen of a brand doing so successfully?
Share with us in the comments section below!