Want to draw a crowd to your event or conference?
Social media is a brilliant tool for building up the buzz around your event, so your venue will be packed to overflowing.
Here’s what you can do to draw a crowd…
Create an Event Hashtag
If you only do one thing to promote your event on social media, make it this. An event hashtag is a fantastic way to subtly spread the word about your event.
- Be sure to tell all delegates about the hashtag as soon as they sign up to attend. You want people to start sharing the hashtag as early as possible, as that gets the word out and builds anticipation.
- An effective event hashtag is short, so delegates can easily remember it, and unique so that tweets about your event don’t get lost amidst the noise. #sxsw is a brilliant example of a hashtag.
- Make sure that delegates use the hashtag during the event when they share any event updates with their followers. More on that in a moment.
- It’s a good idea to have a new hashtag each year to generate extra buzz and excitement.
Retweet Any Event Mentions
Anytime your event gets tweeted about (you are listening for mentions, aren’t you?), retweet it to your follows.
Why? Because positive mentions are a form of social proof. You’re allowing other people to “sell” your event on your behalf, which is a much more powerful way of selling.
What’s more, it’s an excellent way to engage your delegates, as being retweeted always feels good.
Crowdsource the Organising
Setting up an event takes a lot of energy and creativity. You’ll have to come up with a theme and workshop ideas, then tap your network for potential speakers.
What if there was a better way of organising events, that also helped with promotion?
That’s where crowdsourcing comes in. You can involve your social media followers in organising your event by:
- Asking them to suggest event themes.
- Listening to their concerns and questions. If your event addresses these, then you’re onto a winner.
- Asking them to propose speakers and workshop leaders they’d like.
Once you’ve got ideas from your audience, create a shortlist. Then get your followers to vote on their favourite.
This approach means that people will be invested in your conference at a really early stage. People who help you come up with ideas will be really excited to attend your event. They’ll probably want to help with event promotion too.
Plus, you’ll get people talking about your event. When you get people to suggest themes, ask them to include the event hashtag. That means more eyeballs on your event, which is good news when it comes to attracting delegates.
Write an Event Blog
When blogs are useful, they attract an audience. They pull people in. As such, blogs are a form of marketing.
Blogs dovetail perfectly with conferences. Why? Because both blogs and conferences are about sharing useful information. The more useful a blog is, the more readers it will attract. The more useful a conference is, the bigger the audience of delegates who’ll attend.
Creating an event blogs means you can demonstrate the value of your event all year round. And you don’t have to do all the work yourself. It’s a good idea to ask conference speakers to contribute to a blog. You can even ask delegates if they’d like to have their say on your blog.
Remember, your conference blog isn’t about sharing the joys and woes of organising a conference. The content on your blog should reflect the topics your event speakers will be talking about.
Have a Tweet Display In Conference Rooms
Want to get people talking? Conferences are great for sharing opinions. So why not get delegates to share their thoughts publicly?
Put up a screen in every venue at your conference. Let delegates know that you’ll display any tweets with the conference hashtag.
Tools you can use for this include:
Having a tweet screen encourages people to share their thoughts, generates discussion, and acts as a promotional tool.
Broadcast Your Event to the World
Tools such as Google Hangouts On Air make it super easy to share a live video feed of your event.
Of course you don’t want to broadcast your whole event, as that’s unfair to delegates who paid for tickets. But it’s a good idea to share one or two keynote speeches.
As a bonus, recording video of your event allows you to create a highlights video for promoting next year’s event.
(Still not convinced broadcasting your event is a good idea? Check out TED. If that doesn’t convince you, then you’re a lost cause.)
Take Photos of Delegates – and Tag Them
Social media is increasingly becoming all about visuals. That means if you want to promote your event on social media, you must have pictures.
The easiest way to get pictures is to take photographs at your event. Appoint an event photographer to take as many photos as possible. Then upload them to social media, and if you can, tag the people in the photographs.
Quote ALL Quotables Your Speakers Share
Whenever a speaker or workshop leader at your event says something that’s worth sharing, share it!
Event better, ask the speaker if you can use their photograph. Then create a meme-style image, with the quote overlaid on their photo.
Decide on the Content You’ll Create From the Event
We’ve already looked at creating a promotional video from footage of your event, and using photos to share on social media. But there’s way more content you can get out of an event.
- Conducting a live interview? Record it and turn it into a podcast.
- Got a Q&A session? Take notes on all the questions asked. This is a excellent source of content ideas.
- Get a transcript of the keynote speech, and ask the speaker if you can publish it to your blog.
- We’ve already mentioned collecting quotes from your event. Why not combine them into a mega-post for your blog?
Over to You
Have you used social media to promote a business event? What worked well for you? Did you use any tactics that we missed in this article?