Marketing Events Using Social Media
As a Social Media Professional, you may be called on to promote all manner of events, activities, sales pursuits, and causes. I recently was employed to help promote an arts, entertainment and networking event in Dallas and thought I would share our methods so others can benefit. I’d also like to hear your thoughts so we can all grow together.
The key to Marketing events is getting the word out to your target audience, communicating the value and providing impelling calls to action. A Prayer for good weather usually helps as well.
In June, I was approached by a local Event Concierge about handling the Social Media Marketing for an event planned for September. They wanted to deliver an event that would feature local artists and entertainers, provide unique networking opportunities and raise money for a few non-profits. The event location was the famous former Starck Club, remodeled and renamed ZOUK. Because it sounded like my kind of event, I signed on to drive awareness and attendance as well as serving as the Emcee.
When you start with a blank slate and brainstorm about how to promote an event of this nature, many methods are considered. We considered Print Ads, Radio Spots, Billboards, TV, Bus Ads, and of course Social Media. With a small budget and a desire to fund non-profits with event proceeds, we chose to focus on using Social Media, PR, and email marketing to drive awareness and attendance to the event. By including the 50 plus event participants, we could leverage online posts and increase engagement.
With our strategy determined, we considered the universe of online tools and narrowed the list to the following:
|Facebook Events Page||Facebook Page|
|Blogging||Eventbrite – Ticket Sales|
HootSuite was the primary method of posting texts with links and pictures. For video I used SocialCam to capture, tag and post to SocialCam, Facebook and YouTube. Here are a few examples:
Our next step was to develop content. We started with a Press Release format with all the facts and figures. This was used to draw content for the Facebook Page and Facebook Event Page, The Eventbrite page, eflyers and social media posts. The next big “bucket of content” was developed by interviewing the artists and performers who would participate in the event. This content was very important in adding interesting posts along with a call to action over a 60 day period leading up to the event. I created an Editorial Calendar by writing a unique post for each day. We posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus and the content was scheduled in HootSuite.
One-One-One Meetings with Participants
This was the single most important activity in driving awareness and attendance. There were 50 plus artists, entertainers, participants, supporters and non-profits involved and we held one-on-one meetings with the majority of them. We scheduled 30 minute sessions over the course of a few days and:
- Invited all of their Facebook friends using a purchased tool so one message went out to all at once
- Found out what the stakeholders understood about social media marketing and explained how they could help promote their business and the event. I allowed them to call me with questions up to the event for no cost.
- Persuaded stakeholders to Like, Comment and Share the posts we published. This was the second most important activity in driving awareness and attendance. When they did this once a week their friends would learn of the event, understand its uniqueness and see a call to action several times. This gave us the “Frequency & Reach” needed to drive several hundred people to the event.
- Crafted a message and executed an email marketing blast to those on our email list. I also sent out two announcements about the event in my July and August newsletters and blogs.
Results & Lessons
The event was a huge success. The artists sold some of their art and jewelry, the performers and artists were able to reach new people and create new relationships, awareness was increased for the non-profits, ALS, Dress for Success and Art Hunger and we raised money even though rain meant that attendance did not meet our projections. Here are a few specific results and lessons learned.
FB event RSVPs – 1,399
Ticket Sales – 600+
Actual attendance – 369
- No amount of marketing can overcome weather.
- FB sharing & comments works to get the word out.
- Most ticket purchases take place in the two weeks before an event, especially two or three days before the event.
- Unless the event has sold out before, early ticket pricing and incentives have little impact on early ticket sales.
I hope this is helpful to you in marketing your next event using Social Media Marketing. I look forward to seeing your comments in the comments section of this blog or reach out to me by one of the methods below.
J.R. Atkins MBA
Author, Speaker & Consultant on Social Media, Mobile Apps, Sales & Marketing
Something Different Companies