February 22, 2017

Discover your audience on social media and build a buzz that draws attendees – old and new – to your next event.

Event marketers know their biggest ally for organic growth is word-of-mouth, and social media now reigns as the most powerful tool in the word-of-mouth toolkit. According to Event Marketing Institute, 88% of event marketers are putting their event content on social media, but only 13% report that they know how to use social media platforms effectively. As with any tool, achieving optimal results requires a purposeful blueprint and some personal craft. Start with these steps to build a solid foundation for your event’s online community.

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Create attendee profiles

Using social media to locate potential attendees for your event begins with building a clear picture of target attendee demographics. Outline the shared characteristics of your attendees; include everything from ages to interests. Don’t forget to include the reasons people have for attending your event.

Choose the right platforms

Next you’ll want to review the demographics of the various social media platforms. Pew research publishes up-to-date demographics for all of the biggest platforms. Decide which platforms your attendees frequent and which have the potential to reach new audiences that would find your event interesting.

Audit social media profiles

Take the time to prepare a great profile for your event on every platform. Include your event’s logo and an appealing image that embodies a key message you want to convey about the event. Describe the event, and be sure to include the top benefits of attending. Include contact details, a link to the event website, call to action, and direct link to registration.

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Create awesome content

Interesting content makes your event shine on social. Focus your content efforts on telling stories, particularly those that focus on the people involved in your event. Content focused on your potential attendees’ needs and interests performs better than brand-centric content.  For a start, interview a few of last year’s attendees, and have them talk about how they applied what they learned.

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Post regularly

Create a regular posting schedule and follow it. Keep your posts engaging and attendee-focused. Avoid posting too much overtly promotional content. Instead, plan out content that can educate, entertain, or otherwise give your target attendees something event-related to engage around.

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Get your speakers talking

Engaging online with your speaker not only extends your reach into the speaker’s social media base, but also gives potential attendees a better sense of what they may take away from presentations. Write a Q&A with the speaker for LinkedIn; Interview a speaker in person and post video teasers on Facebook. Turn speaker quotes into Tweetable soundbites.

Partner with sponsors and vendors

Contact the sponsors and vendors supporting your event and present them with opportunities to partner in social media promotion. Sponsors relish any additional exposure they can get with your attendees, and vendors also benefit from additional online exposure. Supply partners with prepared messaging, supporting photos, and other content making it easy for them to present your message through their channels.

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Enlist digital influencers

Get to know and enlist one or more of your target audience’s digital influencers. AdAge reports that 81% of marketers surveyed run successful micro-influencer campaigns. These campaigns enlist influencers with fewer than 1000 followers. A few calls to attendees you know are coming who also have large social media followings among your target audience can significantly broaden your reach. Give them your content to post or tweet, and let them put their own spin on it.

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Build buzz among attendees

Give attendees a reason to tweet or post about your event when they register. Integrate the opportunity to post or tweet about attendance in the registration process. Follow up online with registered attendees, and ask them to share their reasons for coming or what they hope to accomplish. News of the event will get out to other like-minded people who may be motivated to attend based on friendship or networking opportunities.

Share the moment

Give attendees the best possible experience; then get out there on social media an amplify it after the event. Be sure to capture content to use for next year’s marketing. Finally, remember to thank everyone for their participation – and include information about the date and location of next year’s event.

For additional steps you can take to increase event attendees, Shiloh has produced a helpful infographic “The ABCs of More Event Attendees.”

What’s your favorite trick for marketing an event on social media?

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