The winning brands are the ones using social media purposefully, efficiently and creatively, in line with their brand identities.
~Adèle Gritten, Head of Media And Financial Services Consulting, YouGov
True indeed! From building a strong online identity to creating a buzz, today social media has become that magic stick that does it all. With minute-by-minute increasing populace, social media has become the most powerful medium to connect with people in less time and efforts. Thus, apart from regular promotional activities, social media is now playing a pivotal role in organizing successful events. Digital Marketers have already avowed the power of social media for event promotion and successfully created social buzz for their events. However, to seal the success of an event, pro use some hacks to get optimum visibility, create awareness and connect with the right community to make their events a big success.
Let’s steal some social media hacks used by the top brands and put out a cheat-sheet for a successful event.
Hack #1 They Know Their Audience
Before talking about any of the social media hacks for a successful event, pre-event research and planning are very important. Whether it is creating an event page on Facebook or choosing the right hashtag for Twitter and Instagram, everything comes second to a strategically-planned and well-conducted research. For this, you need to know and understand your target audience and choose the social media channels accordingly. For example, for business events inviting C-Suite executives, LinkedIn would probably be the best platform, for youngsters in the age range 18-21, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook would be the best and for adults, you can use Twitter and Facebook.
Hack #2 They Create Facebook Events
Facebook is the ideal platform to promote any event. Creating an event on Facebook would help you reach out to the 1.7 billion plus fan reach as the Facebook events are ubiquitous and help all those interested in knowing all the latest news about the event. While creating a Facebook event page, it is important that it has clear call-to-actions to keep the audience engaged. Telegraph Ski and Snowboarding Show is one of the best examples of Facebook event page with a clear and attractive call-to-action for booking tickets. Get people excited with the event page and keep posting the latest pictures and updates on the page to make your event a big success.
Hack #3 They Have An Event Hashtag
Hashtags have the power to make anything on the internet the latest trend. Having a hashtag for the event would certainly create buzz among the netizens and would also enable you to know how many people are interacting with your event. Hashtags are public identifiers through which the people can find and identify your event quickly on social media. Hashtags are not merely for Twitter but can be used on all social media platforms and even at other places, from your business card and event flyers to the event page and website and even in the email signature. Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is one of the best examples of creating a short, unique and intriguing hashtags #ADE12, #ADE13, and #ADE14… for their big electronic music event every year.
Hack #4 They Use Facebook Advertising
Facebook remains undefeated in the realms of social media and when it comes to advertising, there is no better platform than this social networking site. Facebook ads cost less with relatively low cost-per-click made and enable the event promoters to target a large audience base through these advertisements. The call-to-actions of the Facebook ads should direct the audience to the ticket purchase page, thus making it an ideal tool to create a social buzz among the target audience about the event. MnSearch, which hosts monthly MnSearch events, uses Facebook ads only on a meager budget of $40 a month to promote their events every month and even create a local search community for the success of any future events as well.
Hack #5 They Don’t Forget To Add Videos
“A picture speaks a thousand words,” and moving graphics or videos speak a thousand more. It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no better way to engage the current audience than videos. Short and attractive videos will not only attract people to the event but also drive them to share the videos with their social media circle. The video should be everywhere, on the event page, the website, YouTube, Facebook event page and even in the ads you generate. You can rent a video booth, create a time-lapse video and use Snapchat videos, welcome video or launch video to engage the audience. Design Council made effective use of videos to promote its “Leading Business By Design” summit. They created Vine videos showing and challenging the audience to create airplanes in less than 7 seconds using the event flyers.
Hack #6 They Hold Contests For Free Tickets
Free things are always welcomed by the audience. While promoting an event on social media, contests for free tickets or invites play a big role in creating a buzz among the people. Social Media Giveaways is the best practice to get interactive with the audience. Giving away a ticket or two would not cost you much but would definitely amp up the buzz among people. Include the event name, timing, special guest, event organizers etc., in the contest visual, have multiple prizes for different days and enable a low barrier-of-entry for the contest. Zafran, a leading Indian eatery in Dubai, organized a “Win With Zafran” contest to get people excited about “The Big Biryani Festival”. The contest gave away Zafran’s Signature Biryani as a price to the contestants and even received more than 350 entries.
Hack #7 They Use #Throwback Videos
For those who have hosted events previously or are hosting a repeat event like the Amsterdam Dance Event, throwback videos are the best way to convey more information through less to the audience. These throwback videos should comprise of the previous year attendees having fun and enjoying to the utmost to ignite the viewers for attending this year’s event. Last year attendees’ testimonial videos can also be posted along with throwback videos on various social media pages to attract more people to the event and make it a success. Give a sneak peak to the people as to what they are signing up for through these throwback videos. A business coaching firm, named ActionCoach used testimonial videos from their previous attendees to promote their “6 steps to a better business” event.
Hack #8 They Leverage The Influence Of The Main Guest
The speakers or special guests appearing for the event are one of the biggest Unique selling Proposition of your event and it is important that you make good use of these guests on social media to promote the event. Create special graphics for each guest, including the key information about the event, and ask the guests to share these graphics on their own social media platforms as well. Use quote overlays with a close-up picture of the top performer, speaker or the special guest in all the social media updates to attract more people to the event. The event, “Social Media Marketing World 2013” became a big success because of many reasons, out of which one pivotal reason was its special graphics for guest speaker Waynette Tubbs having shared so much on social media that it even appeared on the Times Square.
Hack #9 They Offer Early Bird Discounts
Discounts are one of the biggest motivations that drive people towards quick action. It is an art of playing with the psychology of people and their fear of missing out that can attract more registration for any event. Just like personal brands using social media to offer early bird discount, you can also flash early bird discounts on various social media sites to make your guests feel valued for getting a great deal. A digital voucher for the same can be used that would entitle the person to a discount on registration up until a certain date. The use of promo code for those registering within a limited period can also be used to encourage the people to take advantage of this discount as soon as possible. The “Digital Design Summit” generated a promo code for its event in Switzerland while “The Annual Designer’s Conference” gave an early bird ticket of $100 only to those who registered within the first week of July.
Hack #10 They Offer Behind-The-Scenes Live Video
Live videos have become the newest fad amongst today’s social media generation. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and many other social media platforms have come up with this new Live Video feature which has turned out to be a great marketing tool. You can promote the event using these live videos by showing behind the scene visuals from time to time. These live videos can be used as a teaser for the main event and made to effective use for attracting a large number of people. Grab the attention of people using by showing little things from the event to get them all excited about the event. This technique was successfully used by the famous Gallery Poulsen ApS in Denmark to promote its latest painting exhibit.
These were a few of the social media hacks used by top brands to promote their events. There can be more as per the social media platform you wish to use. Just take the cue from these hacks and use them to promote your events on social media, which is an amazing tool to market and promote any event amidst right community. Try these hacks and see which one works best with your target audience and share your experiences.
Anurag Gupta is a budding entrepreneur with stakes in WeblinkIndia.net an acclaimed Web Designing & Development Company, headquartered in India. He also happens to be a keen writer, sharing insights, tips, and tutorials on subjects related to the ever evolving landscape of Web Designing and Development.