Your Guide to Event Marketing on Social Media for Your Next In-Person Event
With most countries lifting pandemic restrictions, people are looking forward to in-person events again. Music festivals, business conferences, team building, fundraisers, you name them. Social media presents a great opportunity for event marketers to reach out to their target audiences quickly and market their event at a low cost.
There are thousands of competing events in each calendar year—virtual, in-person, and hybrid events. So you can’t afford to ignore social media marketing if you want to sell out tickets and have fans talking about your event for months.
Here are six social media for events strategies you should follow.
1. Create a Facebook Event Page
Facebook is by far the largest social media platform, and casts a wide net of demographic audiences. Facebook also provides a host of tools that event planners can use to market their events. These include a handy hosting of pictures and videos, precise ad targeting, and Facebook events pages.
To create a Facebook events page, you can do the following:
- Click on the “Pages” option at the top right of your feed.
- Tap on the “Events” option and click on “Create New Event.”
- Choose in-person event.
- Edit the event details such as date, time and location.
- Click “Create”. You can then edit the event page, for example the cover photo, or add relevant posts.
See an example of a Facebook event page for New York Comic Con 2022 below.
On the event page, you can see important details such as the physical event location, date, important event info like ticket pricing, early bird discounts, etc. On this page, you could also share photos from past events, video interviews with previous attendees, and promotional event swag and merchandise.
The Facebook event page will also help event organizers to generate FOMO or the fear of missing out. How? Well, you can show the number of attending and interested guests as shown in the example above. If people see 4.5K people going to the event and 12.8K are interested, especially friends, family, or colleagues, they’ll most probably buy a ticket too. You can also generate FOMO on a Facebook events page by installing a countdown clock.
2. Generate an Event Hashtag
Branded event #hashtags are a great way to influence and steer the conversation on social media about your event. You can have your guest speakers, sponsors, partners, vendors, and attendees promote conversations by using the branded hashtag.
In the lead up to the event, you can use the hashtag to build awareness, increase your visibility, and listen to social commentary. During and after the event, the hashtag can be used for promotion and to gather all communications from the event.
Live tweeting during the event with the same hashtag is also a solid strategy.
A few pointers to note about your hashtag:
- It should be short, catchy, and easy to remember.
- It should be in line with your branding and event content, if possible, for example, #NYComicCon22.
- If your event is recurrent, for example, an annual event, try to maintain almost similar hashtags.
- Check that no one else is using your hashtag or has used it in the past.
A great example of this is Content Marketing World’s #CMWorld 2022 event. Both the event organizers and guest speakers promote the event using this unique hashtag. The hashtag is effective since it’s simple and describes the event succinctly. In fact, the hashtag has remained in use for Content Marketing World’s succeeding events.
Finally, use the same hashtag across various social media channels to ensure consistency in your event marketing strategy. Doing this will allow you to collect hashtag analytics that you can use to gauge the performance of your event marketing strategy.
3. Post Teasers
Teasers help build the buzz around your event. Video teasers in particular can hype up your in-person event by visually showing potential attendees what they might be missing out on, like the lined activities, speakers, etc.
Content Marketing World posted an excellent teaser video on YouTube (shown below) for their 2022 #CMWorld event in Cleveland, Ohio. The teaser showed interview snippets with attendees and speakers. Not only was FOMO built up for the event, but also social proof from past events was showcased in the video.
You can post the teaser video on multiple social channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest. You can also split a lengthy teaser video such as the one from #CMWorld into smaller bits and share them periodically in the lead-up to the event.
4. Share Behind-the-Scenes Content
You can get people to attend your event if you pique their interest in the event in the first place. One way you can do this is to give them a look behind the curtain.
Behind-the-scenes (BTS) content for your upcoming event could be any of the following:
- How the stage setup is being done.
- Interviews with potential attendees, event organizers, or even keynote speakers.
- Fun moments such as event team cookouts, playtime, motivational sessions, etc.
- Event swag and merchandise that are to be expected.
- Stand-out moments from a previous event, for example, quotes from speakers, and pre-event interviews
For SaaStock, understanding SaaS marketing and scaling SaaS businesses were at the core of their event marketing agenda. The BTS video from the primary keynote speaker served to amp up the audience’s expectations and anticipation of the upcoming event.
The SaaStock BTS video with ProfitWell’s founder is a great example of a pre-event interview.
5. Use Social VR for Those Who Cannot Attend in Person
Not everyone who would like to attend your event can do it in person. So you can opt to use Virtual Reality (VR). It’s the new frontier for social media for events. Social VR presents an opportunity for more attendees to grace your event remotely while simultaneously keeping it fun and tech-savvy.
Actor, director and IG influencer @BrendanaBradley (shown below) is a big advocate of social VR. He uses the tech to connect with his followers for his many events, a great motivation for other brands to do the same.
To attend VR events, a user is required to have a VR headset such as Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, Meta’s Quest 2, or Vive HTC. You may also need a hosting platform such as Windows, Meta, or even a social VR platform such as AltSpace.
If you decide to host the VR portion of the event natively on your website, for example on an event landing page, you’ll need the fastest web hosting providers to cover your backend. Regular hosting providers may not sufficiently cover any lag or network downturns.
However, though innovative, hosting events with VR has its limitations. First, you may not be able to provide VR headsets to event attendees on a limited budget. VR event hosting is also viewed as having a steep learning curve..
6. Leverage Influencers to Promote Your Event
Influencers are industry experts, niche promoters, or trusted figures whose opinions shape the decisions of their audience. They can be paid, unpaid, or affiliates, but there is usually some benefit for both parties.
Influencers should be at the core of your social media for events strategy. They have networks and a community of followers that you can leverage to market your event.
Influencers can do a variety of things before, during, and after the event. They can:
- Promote event engagement through hashtags, discounts, and promo codes.
- Participate in Q&A sessions.
- Write social media posts such as infographics, and blog posts on their channels on the event.
- Provide snippets of event swag by wearing and promoting it.
- Participate in BTS interviews with attendees, speakers, hosts, etc.
- Promote event-related user-generated content.
- Reach out to an event email list.
Content creator and business coach @marleyjaxx does influencer outreach quite well. For the Content Machine Live encore 2021 edition, she partnered with well-known industry influencers. These included Cristy Code Red, Steve Larsen, and most famously Russell Brunson, founder of ClickFunnels. Marley famously hit six-figure ticketing sales for the event in less than 24 hours thanks to these vital influencer partnerships.
Remember, an influencer should share the same brand values and be able to articulate your event story well. They should have a good audience fit and resonate well with your followers.
You can assess influencer-audience fit by checking out the social media profiles of influencers to see if they have the numbers, the passion, and the motivation to sell your event.
Social media for events will enable you to reach out to audiences more cost effectively, and en masse. Social channels may already host your target demographics and you just need to reach out to these people. Furthermore, social media is highly visual and provides a host of analytics tools that can provide insight into the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
We’ve covered a variety of event marketing strategies for social media. These include creating a Facebook events page, hashtag promotion, influencer marketing, using social VR, and sharing teasers and BTS content.
With these strategies, you will undoubtedly be on the road to hitting your ticket sales targets. Best of luck!
This article was written and co-developed by Nico, who is the founder of Crunch Marketing. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.