If you’ve tried to hold any event recently, you’ll know just how much of an effect social media can have on it. People always want to see updates about it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms. Here’s when social sharing comes in.
Given how busy audiences are today and how swamped people are with things vying for their attention, you need your event to make a lasting impression before it even happens.
We want to keep your audience engaged, involved, and interested in what your event has to offer. Yes, traditional marketing channels still work — but one consistent factor among all successful company and brands is that they have learned to maximize the potential of social sharing to hype up their events.
Social media isn’t something to be feared — it’s simply a tool that you use to your advantage. And the skill of using it can be learned and developed.
No matter what kind of event you’re planning — whether it’s a meeting of thought leaders or a massive party for the entire industry — you need social media’s reach to ensure success. Read on for our tips.
One of the first things you need to do is ensure that you have a catchy hashtag to encourage social sharing. This ensures that you have a simple way to collate user-generated content about your event. Anytime someone mentions your event, you need to know about it. According to HubSpot, posts with 9-12 hashtags are optimal and receive more engagement.
A good rule to follow when creating your hashtag is to search for it, checking to make sure that it hasn’t been used by anyone else before. We don’t need or want content from another brand cluttering up our space — the focus has to be on your upcoming event.
Not only does your hashtag need to be distinct and catchy, but it also has to be relatively short. Yes, a long-tail hashtag can help draw in traffic from people who are already interested and more likely to pay attention to your message — but we also don’t want to make it too clunky to say or use.
An event social wall is an engagement tool that allows you to collect content posted by attendees and speakers using your event’s hashtag. If your event is private, a social wall will help you connect with your attendees by making it easy for them to upload content directly on the wall. The event wall acts as a social hub and encourages interaction between attendees, speakers, sponsors, and fans.
It enables you to curate the content and display it on a screen, embed it on your event website or live stream, or show it before and after each session.
Google uses social media walls for some of its large-scale international events. They incorporated social walls on-site, as well as into their live streams. They even made innovative use of our Custom Posts feature.
Great events make even the organizers excited – and when the people behind the scenes are passionate about something, that’s something share-worthy. Encourage your employees and staff to plug the event on their own social media accounts using the killer hashtag you’ve already created. Word of mouth is a potent tool, and every little bit helps.
This shows the human side of the event – it’s all about the people coming together to make it happen and the value that each one contributes to its success. That can be much more enticing to many people compared to slick marketing content.
4. Highlight your past successes
A highlight reel of your past events can be especially effective on visual platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, or even Facebook alternative sites. Using video marketing this way plays to your strengths because you can pick and choose only the best bits of hours of content. In fact, the most significant difficulty may be deciding what bits to leave out.
We’re looking for this tip to emphasize the kind of energy that your events have. You don’t need so much content – instead, showcase the vibe and sense of camaraderie at your events, which can’t be found anywhere else.
Your video should be engaging enough to stop users from simply scrolling past, then set the tone for what your audience should expect from your upcoming event. The most significant caveat of this tip is that you may need to expend some effort creating different videos for different platforms. For example, YouTube videos can be the longest, followed by Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn; then Twitter should be the shortest.
Your audience will be asking: What do I get out of going to your event? This is your chance to show them exactly what they can expect. While the previous tip was your highlight reel, this is your teaser trailer. You can opt to make an actual teaser trailer if you so wish – if your video content skills are on point, then, by all means, do so.
But the teasers don’t just need to be video content. You can share your event space being built or set up, show off event giveaways being bagged, or even post a list of guest speakers and topics. The sky’s the limit. But, of course, it depends on what you’re willing to show before the event happens.
One approach we like is to have contests or giveaways related to the teaser content – imagine an Instagram Story question with the correct answer being one of the speakers or guest acts for your event. Similar concepts can be hashed out for almost anything you’ve yet to reveal to your audience. You can even explore creating campaign pop-ups that lead your website visitors to your social media teasers. Then, once your teaser info is revealed, you can post readily shareable content with that new information – you both get your audience engaged and let them spread the word about what’s in store.
You can also do some behind-the-scenes social sharing, create content of your team setting up the event and share it. Remember what we said about the people behind the scenes being passionate about their work? They also deserve some time in the limelight. You don’t need to have a videographer following everyone around as they prepare, just some short highlights of what people are doing and what they’re working on – and how this will eventually turn into something great.
People love to share content, a.k.a. social sharing, so long as it’s easy to do so. One has to look at the viral success of the When We Were Young festival – all it took was an image of the list of bands slated to go, and the internet nearly exploded in excitement.
You can make social sharing easy for your audience, employees, and other affiliates by encouraging them to share details about your event. Host your repository of resources that anyone can use to plug your event. It’s already common practice to have wallpapers, schedules, and the like all available for download — go the extra mile and package all that information into formats that are tailor-made for specific social media platforms.
The ideal format will differ from one platform to another, and expecting your fans to go through the trouble of converting or translating it themselves is not good enough these days. Organizing your content according to where it’ll work best is something you only need to do once for your event, and it makes everyone else’s lives easier. For example: create square images for Instagram and rectangular images for Twitter – the same information can be on both; you’re just making it more shareable for anyone who wants to do so.
You don’t need to stop there. Create reusable graphics or logos, Facebook profile picture frames, or even custom Instagram filters. So long as they’re all consistent with the aesthetic and messaging of your event, it’s all fair game. We want to give your audience the tools to make your event a part of their lives.
7. Give live updates and summaries
The job of hyping the event doesn’t stop when the event starts — we’d argue that you need to do more work as the event happens, not less. Events are increasingly becoming all-virtual or hybrid, which means there’s more opportunity for people worldwide to join. Even in-person attendees are unlikely to catch everything your event has to offer.
To give everyone a chance to fully experience the best of your event, it’s a great idea to go live or post highlights and summaries as soon as possible while the event happens. Maybe a speaker had an incredibly lively presentation – create quotes based on the best parts of the presentation and link to a transcript or summary of what they said. Create a survey to collect valuable data from the attendees. You can take this approach with almost anything – from user-generated content to your planned surprises. This way, no one needs to miss out on the best parts of your event.
Related blog posts: