Events can increase profits and sales, build your brand, spread awareness about your company and what you do, and establish connections between you and your customers or community. Whether the event is a concert featuring Maroon 5 or is an educational conference about marketing software, it’s important to your business and (even if they don’t know it yet) to your customers.
While there are age-old methods of promoting your events, social media has shown itself to be an incredibly powerful tool to boost event attendance. The results are particularly impressive considering that the majority of the promotions done on social media cost either nothing or relatively little, especially when compared with more traditional forms of advertising.
Whatever you’ve got coming up, remember these 7 tips to boost attendance at your event with social media marketing .
1. Create Events on Social Media
On certain social media platforms, you can create events that you can invite people to and update with relevant information, as well as potentially gauging interest and future attendance.
Facebook events are one of the most frequently used event features used on social media. They can be both secret or public, and you can have them set to invitation only or so that anyone can join them. With Facebook events, you’ll see whether users say they’re going, “maybe” going, or not going, as well as how many were invited.
A lot of people know about events on Facebook, which have been around for a while and are commonly used, but not a lot know about how you can advertise events on Linkedin.
While Linkedin got rid of their events features a few years ago, there’s still a loophole you can use to advertise your event on the professional networking site; you can create a Showcase Page, which is a subsection attached to your Company Page that you can create on Linkedin (for those who are unfamiliar with Linkedin, think about the different tabs and sections on Facebook Pages).
Once you’ve created a Showcase Page, you can share it with relevant audiences, link to it in Linkedin Pulse posts, and post relevant updates about your upcoming event. Linkedin is commonly vastly underestimated as far as social media marketing goes, but it has a ton of potential to help you increase event awareness and attendance.
2. Post Frequent (but Limited) Posts
It’s no surprise that you’ll want to post frequently—and across as many platforms as possible—to boost event attendance. After all, the more posts you have, the more hype you’ll create, and the more chance new people will see it.
You want to post relatively frequently about your upcoming event so people learn about it and don’t forget. You don’t want to spam users every couple hours, with all the solely on the event.
Especially if you regularly host events, that will just lose you followers.
3. Promote it with a Hashtag
While hashtags haven’t taken off on Facebook, they’re huge on Twitter and Instagram. Having a branded hashtag to promote your event will make it easier to do so. Once people start picking it up and using it themselves, it can be used to generate conversation and excitement around your event, as well as giving you free advertising that has the potential to go viral. The more the hashtag—and content about your event—spreads, the more hype it creates as more people find out about it, resulting in increased attendance at your upcoming event.
Even better—if your hashtag picks up, it becomes an engagement metric that you’ll be able to track on multiple platforms. You’ll be able to get an idea of how users are receiving your event, and what they’re saying.
4. Start Early
Think about how much work goes into advertising almost every single movie that comes on out to theatres; you start getting small snippets of teasers a year out for some of the biggest films.
When you get started creating an event, posting a teaser on social media sites can peak users’ interest, even if it’s just something small like “We’ve got something great planned for October… Can you guess what it is?” can generate a lot of discussion and curiosity.
Posting relevant information and updates as it becomes available can help build interest and engagement, and the longer the information is out there, the sooner people can book you into their schedules.
To keep things interesting, and with plenty of time to promote your event, you can distribute posts and information across multiple platforms in unique ways. You can use Twitter and Instagram to develop a hashtag, Linkedin and Facebook to create pages and sections dedicated to the event, and YouTube to distribute videos of what’s coming soon.
5. Schedule Relevant Posts Ahead of Time
When you’re in the middle of event planning, particularly when you’re taking part in the actual event or immersed in planning right before, there’s little to no time to actually be posting information about it
Fortunately, Facebook allows you to schedule posts ahead of time, and tools like Rignite and Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts on other platforms like Twitter with plenty of time to spare. You can create the posts and have them set to run on a schedule so that people are getting hit with the content when it’s timely and important, but you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to get it to them.
6. Use Ads
When you want as many people to see your posts as possible, it never hurts to run some paid ad campaigns to increase visibility, boost engagement, and even boost attendance.
When it comes to boosting event attendance with Facebook ads, Facebook has an objective that focuses on increasing event attendance, which you can use to advertise the event you’ve created on Facebook. Sponsored posts or conversions to a website (if you’re driving registration) are also great options.
Using ads across multiple platforms will help extend your visibility and reach as much as possible, as well as getting as many people talking about it on as many platforms as possible.
7. Use Contests to Increase Word of Mouth
You can’t use contests for like-gating anymore, but you can still use them to boost your event attendance. Contests on social media are a great way to get new followers, increase engagement, and—in this case—increase event attendance.
Contest prizes that are relevant to your event can grab a lot of attention and generate a ton of conversation, as well as boost attendance. Whether you offer free tickets, free meals, backstage passes, or a free shirt from your event, everyone loves something free and the adrenaline that comes wit the chance to win something.
Host the contest on one platform, but promote it across all your other platforms and to your e-mail list, using ads to help when appropriate.
Using social media marketing tactics makes it easier than ever to boost attendance at your next event, no matter what type of event it is. While some methods require a small financial investment, such as the cost it takes to run Facebook Ads or host prizes for contest winners, most of these tips to boost engagement cost very little, if anything at all.
How do you use social media to boost event attendance? Have any of these tips worked for you? Leave us a comment and let us know!