Planners and their clients would both like to be able to use social media to build a robust audience for their events. The key to doing this is to think beyond the boundaries of the event itself. True audience development is an ongoing process. Even if your main goal is to promote a single event, you still have to think in a broader time frame. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your promotional efforts.
FIND YOUR PEOPLE
First of all, you’ll need to identify who is part of your event’s natural audience, and then consider where the best places are to find them.
Do your people tend to hang out on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? If you’re not sure, then give yourself some time to find out. Sharing your messaging on multiple platforms makes sense for a few reasons. Firstly, there’s a positive impact to becoming a ubiquitous presence. If people see you everywhere they turn, it reinforces the sense that you have your act together, that your team knows what it’s doing, and that you are substantive – worth taking the time to investigate further. Secondly, by testing out the viability of different platforms, you’ll get to see where you achieve the most traction. Then, you can focus your resources more in the places where you get the best results.
THINK YEAR ROUND
This strategy makes perfect sense if you are planning a yearly event. However, it even applies for a singular occasion. You are building a community, and that takes time. Think in terms of teasers – content that you can begin posting months and months in advance, to start building buzz around your event. You might want to start with compelling images and other multi-media content. Make sure to add a distinctive hashtag that will identify the content as yours and help you track all activity related to it as people share or comment on your posts.
When building an event audience, it’s important to make participants feel like they have some stake in the development of the event itself. If appropriate, invite suggestions or take polls regarding choices in décor or other production elements. Think about using an event platform such as Bizzabo, that allows event registrants to interact with one another as well as with presenters and exhibitors, before, during and after the event. After the event, share pictures and wrap-up stories, and encourage attendees to share their feedback with you and with one another.
Once you understand who your people are, where they are hanging out and what’s important to them, it’s your job to continue a dialogue with them. This is particularly important if you are building a yearly event. You will find that the more you treat your audience as an integral part of your event, the more they will want to stay involved and bring in their friends and colleagues. Don’t forget – social media streams move very fast. If you want to hold people’s attention, you’re going to have to maintain your messaging well past the days immediately before and after your event.