You might feel that deciding to add social media to your event to-do list puts you over the proverbial edge and that you’ll end up with just too many tasks on your plate. As we all know, time is money.
However, social media is necessary, and it’s a fabulous tool for boosting engagement and marketing. And there are strategic ways to get other people, even your attendees, to happily contribute to your social media marketing so the burden is not all on you.
Make Social Media Participation Easy
You’re busy and so are your attendees, so the last thing any of us want is something complicated and time consuming. Here are simple ways you can encourage others to engage and help spread the word for you via social media. The idea behind these is that once you get the ball rolling, others will jump in and actively participate.
Not only does this help your event gain visibility, it is capitalizing on the spirit of social media to have “conversations” with your followers.
- An event hashtag is a must for generating conversation and easily allowing everyone to see what has already been posted. Hashtag hints – the shorter the better, create it early on, and have the word/s be as engaging as possible.
- Provide a list of your Tweets to attendees, before during and after the event. You can do this by posting a PDF transcript of “grab and go” Tweets, with hashtag, on your site and other communication channels.
- Use digital signage or a video wall as an eye-catching Twitter wall that is centrally located at your venue. Viewers love that little piece of fame that comes from having their Tweet up on the big wall, and this encourages yet more Tweeting.
- Create a poll that is conducted over Twitter. You can do this before an event, even using it as a way for attendees to vote on certain event happenings, and you can also do this during an event to get immediate feedback on happenings.
- Do a Twitter contest which rewards Tweeting specific items of interest about your event.
- Have your speakers Tweet intriguing content, such as teasers about their talks.
- Ask people to retweet – this seems small, but too many people don’t ask their followers to retweet event Tweets.
- Post a link in groups you belong to
- Start a new open group for those who will benefit from your event. (Hint – use a good keyword to name your group). Here’s how to invite people you know.
- Post an event link in your status update.
- Encourage content – provide rewards and/or prizes for attendees who post good content, either text or multimedia.
- Add social share buttons (best in the top right).
- Do random giveaways for followers who post on their blog about your event and then link to your event page.
- Have event sponsors contribute useful posts with information your readers can use to better their business or efforts.
- During the event, have someone live blog the sessions – this will give you tons of great posts.
- Encourage attendees to post pictures both during and after your event, and if your event is a repeat one, you can use these pictures in your social media for the next event.
- Keep it short – just because you can make Facebook posts long doesn’t mean you should, so keep it short. This saves you time but also makes it easier for others to share.
- Have a call to action – too many Facebooks posts are very informative with no call to action.
- Consider Facebook ads – you can target Facebook ads so they are seen just by people who would have a high interest in your event (Tips – use an image that is almost text free and keep your message to under 90 characters). Go here to see how ads work.
- Set up numerous admins for your event page, and then have them invite their friends and coworkers.
- Have speakers do mini events on your fan page, like live Q & A before events.
- Add “Share on Facebook” badge to all your emails. Here’s one created by marismith.com that you can use:
Just add the right link!
- Create a Facebook app for your event – here’s how to DIY.
Don’t Pass Up Free Ways to Spread the Word
Don’t overlook your ability to do some high-quality social media posting for free. This can be on your current social media channels as well as on some powerful group platforms. Here are some ideas to help spread the word about your event that take just a few minutes and are free:
- Meetup – largest network of local groups
- Facebook Events (here’s how)
- Facebook – Add a blurb about your event on the page banner
- Facebook – Pin a post to the top of your FB page.
- Eventbrite – share your event and even sell tickets
- LinkedIn – post event link on your status update
- Skype – post event link in your “mood”
- Create a Tweetup (or find one!)
Don’t fall into the trap of simply doing some obligatory pre-event posts and Tweets while you drag your heels.
Think more in terms of front-loading your social media in a powerful way so that others become your best advocates. If you combine this approach with creating your own posts – ones that are not just advertisements for your events but are informative and full of highly useful and actionable items for your attendees – everyone will want to share the information across platforms.
This will not only save you time and money, but everyone will have a whole lot more fun, and that’s good for any event.