You can plan the most spectacular product release party, special in-store sale, or conference ever, but the time, effort, and money you put into it is only really going to pay off if you get people to come to your event. In the pre-internet days, your promotion efforts may have been focused on putting up fliers around town or mailing out event invitations, but with social media, there’s a lot more that you can do to reach a large audience.
Of course, the downside of this convenience is that every other business is also using social media to promote their own events, so you have to go beyond just creating a Facebook event page if you want to stand out. Here are five tips to help you promote your company’s next big event.
Sell Your Facebook Event through Details
Creating a Facebook event page is the first basic step that you should perform when promoting an event; Facebook is still the biggest social media site in the world and will give you the opportunity to start getting exposure. Create your event through your business Fan page so that people who have already “liked” your brand will be the first to see this upcoming gathering (this is also a great opportunity to grow your Fan page as more and more people discover the event).
Make sure you include important details so that people viewing the page will know exactly when, where, and why they should attend. Incorporate pictures whenever possible; if this is an annual event and you have some photos of people having a great time at last year’s event, this is a great space to share those images. You should also post links to a page on your company’s website where viewers can go if they want to learn even more about your event.
Important note: the one downside of creating an event through your Fan page is that you can’t directly invite people from that page. However, you can set yourself and other event planners as hosts, which will allow you to directly invite people.
Get Loyal Customers to Share with their Networks
Social media is all about collaboration, and there’s no sense in you doing all the promotion yourself. Spread the word about your event by reaching out to loyal fans and customers via Facebook, Twitter, and email and encouraging them to share the event with their friends and followers. If it’s feasible, offer some kind of incentive for sharing, like entry into a raffle or a free meal voucher to be used at the event.
You may also want to reach out to local bloggers or podcasters to see if they are interested in doing a write-up of your upcoming event or an interview with one of the event organizers. Since this requires more effort than just sharing a link on Facebook, offer them something like free admission to the event or a promotional gift as a thank you.
Build Anticipation with Updates
Sharing the same status update about your event over and over again may get pretty annoying for your followers, so try getting creative with your Facebook and Twitter updates. Before you create the event page, you might build anticipation by saying something like, “We’ve got something big in the works, and you’re invited. Details coming soon.” After you’ve introduced the event, you might share updates about what you’re doing to get ready for it (“We’re excited to be working with [local catering company],” “Hope you like free T-shirts, because we just ordered 1,000 for our upcoming event!”). Show your followers how excited your company is for the event in order to build enthusiasm and convince more people to attend.
Use Images and Videos to Share Behind-the-Scenes Prep
There’s no need for your event promotion to be entirely text-based. In fact, you should incorporate images and videos wherever they fit in order to build interest. You might share pictures of your company getting ready for the event, or maybe create a promotional video in which the CEO and a handful of employees talk about why they’re looking forward to the event. If you do create a video, try to keep it short and punchy; viewers are much more willing to commit to a 90-second video than a 10-minute one.
While you can absolutely share photos and videos on Facebook, you should also consider sharing this type of content through other channels, like Pinterest and Vimeo. This will give you the opportunity to reach out to potential customers that you might not otherwise have connected with.
Don’t forget to post images and videos on your company website as well. Not only will this allow you to promote your event to the people who come directly to your site, it will also show Google that you’re posting new, quality content, and you’ll get a boost in the search engine rankings.
Live Tweet the Event as It Happens
You might think that you’re done with promotion once the event actually gets underway, but this is actually a great time to continue your promotion by live tweeting. When you live tweet an event, you allow people who may not have been able to attend the event to get involved, and you may end up encouraging more people to show up midway through the day! Create a hashtag for your event and encourage attendees to use it; people who didn’t come to this event may see the Tweets and be inspired to learn more about your company or even attend the next event you put on.