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Take a moment to imagine the following scenario: You’ve poured countless hours and marketing dollars into planning the perfect event that you’re confident both current clients and prospects are sure to grow your business. The day of the big event rolls around, everything is unfolding smoothly, and you’re ready to start networking and making connections.

Then, the unthinkable happens: no one shows up. The event is a flop!

What went wrong here, and how could this business disaster have been prevented?

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Photo via Flickr by Katie

Social media gives you the power for two-way conversations with your customers and prospects.

The popular motto “if you build it, they will come” unfortunately doesn’t apply in the world of event marketing. In order for your business event to be a hit, you need to make sure you’re reaching the right people and actually enticing them to devote their valuable time to your event.

Social media is the perfect forum for achieving this goal, because unlike traditional forms of marketing, social media allows for a two-way channel of communication between you and your audience.

Here are 3 creative ways to use social media to market your event

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Photo via Flickr by m43photos

1. Create an event hashtag.

Using a dedicated hashtag for your event that’s both relevant and unique is the perfect way to generate social buzz. Every time you tweet, post on Facebook, or share an image on Instagram, make sure o include that hashtag. Go ahead and include it on any other marketing materials you may use too, such as emails and flyers.

The point is to get people interested in the hashtag, which will generate a series of positive results:

● looking up the hashtag,
● attending the event, and
● actually using the hashtags themselves.
If this is an annual event, choose a hashtag that you can use year after year, so that your audience can easily view images from previous years online.

2. Want your social media followers to take a specific action? Just ask!

What is it that you want your social media followers to do? Attend the event? Generate pre-event hype online? Invite their friends? If you don’t know, you can’t ask. Once you’ve figured it out, ask early and ask often.

  • Example: The Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014 was clearly incredibly successful. It raised well over $100 million, and Lou Gehrig’s disease is now in the spotlight – a clear goal of the effort.
  • Your effort: It doesn’t have to be anything as extreme as dumping a bucket of ice water over one’s head. Ask your social media followers to do something specific in the days leading up to the event, such as sharing a selfie with their event tickets and using the event hashtag, or sharing a story or tip related to the event context.

Then, share all of these user posts on your own social accounts to:

  • get users who are already planning to attend excited about the event, and
  • inspire others to attend the event by providing social proof (once they see that other people are actually going and are excited about it, they’ll be more likely to want to go, too).

3. Trending content is powerful – use it!

Pay attention to what’s hot online right now, and jump in on the action by using what’s already trending and finding a way to tie it into your event.

Example: Remember “The Dress” debate of February 2015? While the entire internet was blowing up debating whether the dress was white and gold or blue and black, numerous companies jumped on the bandwagon and used the social buzz to shine light on their own brand. See how Oreo, Olive Garden, BEHR Paint, Xbox, Snapple, Snickers, AT&T, and LEGO used it to their advantage here. How can you take advantage of trending content like Orea played up #TheDress?

If nothing trend-worthy is happening online at the time, you can’t go wrong by falling back on using a popular meme to promote your event. People are familiar with them and they make people laugh – a perfect combination for getting your audience to take notice.

Remember – social media works! Here are the numbers to prove it:

Many businesses put social media marketing on the backburner in favor of traditional advertising, but when it comes to making your event stand out among the competition, social media is the way to go.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box – in fact, the more unique your social media marketing strategy is, the more likely it is that your audience will pay attention.

Need help planning your event, or using social media to reach your event’s target audience? Contact us today to learn more about our services.