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Getting Social With Your Event Promotions: Before, During & After

Hello everyone! I thought it would be a good idea to share some of our thoughts and tips that we’ve learned from helping businesses out with the promotion of an event they are hosting. Last summer we helped the Brookings Bobcat Backers with their annual golf fundraising tournament, and it was the first time that all three of us - Andy, Justin and myself - were able to do an event promotion together.

Now, Justin and I have done several different marketing campaigns geared toward an event, but this was the first time that all three of us did one together. Not only did we learn some tips that I wanted to share with everyone, but we also realized how much fun these are to do together. So, whether you have an event coming up, or hosting events is a central part of your business, I hope you get some tips/tricks you can use after reading this. If you have any tips that I may have missed in this, feel free to comment below. It’s always great hearing how others use marketing!

Get Prepared

It’s easy, especially with social media, to think that when the day comes you’ll know what to do and you’ll share things as they happen. This is a dangerous route to take. There are probably a lot of other responsibilities that you will have during the event and could easily end up forgetting about social media entirely.

Before the event even starts, you have to think about promoting the event on your social channels, you know, to make sure people actually show up! It’s equally as important to start thinking/outlining what you are going to do on the day of the event. The more prep work you can do ahead of time, the less you have to stress about during the event - which, more than likely, you’ll have plenty of other things on your mind.

Create a Facebook Event

Let’s use an easy, but incredibly effective, way to create a central place of information for your event: a Facebook event. Aside from it being completely free to create, it’s a great way to attract attention from people looking for something going on in their area. If you tag the location of the event and make it public, it will show up for anyone looking for events going on in that area.

Think of an image you’d like for the event. If you’re not sure about sizes, or you’re not a graphic designer, go to Canva’s website and search “Facebook event image.” You’ll get a free template to use.

Next, provide a description of the event. Include the date, time and, of course, the location. That’s it, you’re ready to go!

If your event needs to know the number of attendees who plan on coming, make sure they know to RSVP on the event page. Point it out in your event description and in any promotional posts for extra awareness.

Now that you have a Facebook event page created, it should automatically show up on the timeline for your business page. Aside from that, you can also grab the link to the event page and share it on all of your other social media channels. This can serve as what I like to call “Home Tree” for all of your possible customers/attendees.

If you’re not sure what I mean by Home Tree, then I strongly encourage you to watch the movie Avatar as I can assure you it’s not the last time I mention it in a blog post.

Establish Your Hashtag

Next, you should think about a hashtag to use for your event to help tie all of your posts together and to help monitor to see what others are saying about your event. If an event doesn’t have an official hashtag that is easy to find, people will usually end up creating their own.

Don’t underestimate the value a good hashtag can bring for real-time feedback of your event. You can instantly see if there is an area you missed and can fix it on the fly. You can also look after the event is over to determine what you can do better next time.

If your event involves other companies, be sure to let them know what hashtag you plan on using and also look at what hashtags they might be using already. Your goal is to get as much attention to your posts as possible, so the more hashtags (that are relevant, of course), the better.

The final part of making sure you have a good hashtag is ensuring it isn’t too long and nobody else is currently using it. You can do a quick search on whatever social media platform you are using for that hashtag to see if any recent posts are using it. If the usage is infrequent or it hasn’t been used in a very long time, you should be safe to claim it for your event. This way nobody will confuse those old, unrelated posts with your event posts.

Call Your Shot

Now we need to think about a shot list. This is the part that is really going to easethe pressure on the day of the event. If you can visualize the event and how it’s going to go, you can come up with ideas on what pictures you’d like to shoot or videos you’d like to record.

Once you think of an idea for something to capture during the event, write it down. Next, determine what channel you’re going to use it on. This could be the social media channel, like Facebook, or it could be more specific like a live broadcast. Or, you could use it as a story for Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

List as many of these ideas as you can. After that, you can determine which ones you’re actually going to do. Then don’t forget to bring it with you so you have it handy on the day of the event.

Grant Access

The last step in preparing for social media posts during the event is account access. Whether it’s an employee or someone you’ve hired to help, they need access to your accounts. You can give specific rights to make sure they don’t delete your entire page, but they can still post on your behalf.

Keep in mind, when it comes to Facebook you need to make sure you grant access to the correct person. Trust me, there are a lot of Matt Anderson’s out there. The last thing you want is to be scrambling around the day of the event trying to find out who needs access to what. Trust me, this is a big time saver.

Execute During the Event

Okay, the day is finally here. It’s game time. You’ve got your shot list. You have your hashtag figured out. Everyone has access to whatever accounts they need access to. Here are a couple of suggestions to keep in mind during the day of the event.

Being random is okay…as long as you’re using stories. Let’s say you have something that is slightly ok, not great, but you want to call attention to it and you just did a post about two minutes ago. You know that double posting or clumping your posts together is a bad idea, so what should you do? Stories.

This is a great way to post this type of content. When people look through stories, they are expecting to see raw, quick hitters. So what if it’s not your best post?! It’s going to be gone in 24 hours! But, what if it’s something that resonates with your audience? Now you’re a genius content marketer.

Give Consistent Updates

Regular posting - if done right - can be a great way to show people that your event is successful and that they are missing out. If it’s a first event, sometimes people are skeptical that it’s actually going to turn out the way that you described in your event description. Showing how everything is going during the event is a great way to refute that point.

If it’s a longer event, regular posting might also help convince some of those people that were on the fence about attending that they should have shown up. But, instead, they now have FOMO because of your posts. (If you’re not sure what FOMO means, email and he’ll be happy to explain.)

Continue After the Event

The event is over. Everything went great (hopefully) and according to plan. Does this mean you don’t have any more social posting responsibilities? Nope!

To get the most out of your event, make sure to have all the pictures and videos that you took stored in a central location. From this, you can put together a highlight video or picture collage to thank everyone for attending your event. This can help show everyone what they missed. It can also build on the momentum from the event and have people looking forward to the next one.

That’s All Folks!

Well, I hope this helped give you some things to think about before your next event. Make sure to have everything planned out ahead of time, have fun during the event, thank everyone afterwards and it’ll all be good. And, as always, if you have any questions or are looking for tips, let us know and we’d be more than happy to help out!

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