Social media can significantly boost the numbers of a business event. But, if you’re confused as to how to pull that off, you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know to make social media work for you.
Use Events to Become a Thought Leader
Events are a natural marketing channel. Even though you might think that events are primarily about “getting the word out,” you can also use them as a way to sell not just your brand but your products and services as well.
Use your office, or a rented space, to host a variety of different types of events like speaker series, workshops, panels and discussions, networking events, and conferences.
As a host, you’ll be positioning yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. This will allow you to build trust and relationships with business leaders. You’ll also be providing amazing value to your customers.
How to Set the Right Tone
Setting the tone of the event is important. On social media, you should be promoting your event through teaser posts. Engage with event attendees online, and start a buzz around the event. Use an official hashtag before, during, and after the event to help brand it.
At the event, use roller banners to create atmosphere. Include your hashtag on it, and create a visual (tangible) link back to social media so that people share, like, and tweet the event.
How to Schedule Your Social Messages In Advance
Use a program like Pagemodo to schedule your social media posts in advance. This lets you effectively promote your event “on autopilot,” since you can set up a bunch of posts and tweets beforehand and then auto-publish them over time.
Don’t get too carried away with scheduling though. Leave room for some real-time interaction during and after the event.
There is always the risk that users will discover that tweets are scheduled in advance. If something unusual happens at the event, for example, and you’re not tweeting it right away, attendees might become suspicious. Therefore, you may want to have someone dedicated to managing tweets throughout the event in addition to your scheduled tweets.
A Note on Pricing Your Events
What should you charge for the event? That’s the big question. It’s not something a lot of marketers or business consultants address. It’s sort of assumed that you know what you want to charge.
If you price things too high, you’ll destroy attendance. If it’s too low, you won’t make enough money to cover your expenses.
If you’re planning on hosting a free event, keep in mind that not everyone who RSVPs will show up. Confusing, right? You’d think that people would be all about a free workshop or a conference, but free is very much associated with being low quality or non-committal. In other words, it’s assumed to be not as important as a paid event.
On the other hand, people almost always go to paid events. Think about it – If you paid good money to attend an event, you’re probably going to go, right? It would be a waste not to go. With a free event, it’s actually more expensive to go, since you have to pay for the gas, and possibly parking, to get there.
Be sure to consider all of these options when approaching pricing.
Follow Up with Unhappy Attendees
Try as you might, you’re not going to please everyone. Avoid social media faux pas by acknowledging your audience and, if someone is unhappy, acknowledge that too.
This is especially true if someone posts something offensive or even civil (but negative) on your Facebook event page. Acknowledge it, take the conversation offline, and try to resolve the issue. Addressing the issue will ensure that the good vibes surrounding your event aren’t totally destroyed.
Find Shareable Moments
Numbers are great, but finding a shareable moment is equally important. If a story or photo from the event was particularly popular, share it on your company’s blog or website. Customers and fellow professionals will appreciate the opportunity to feel like they’re part of the community and an important part of your company – even if they’re “only” a customer.
These moments humanize your brand, and make it more real for people who have never done business with you. It’s unfortunate, but many people are inherently distrustful of business. They’re grown up thinking that businesses are dishonest or, at best, opportunistic.
Show that you do care about them and that by selling them something or inviting them to an event, you’re there to support them and help them achieve their goals and solve their problems.
Have more questions about event marketing? Ask them in the comments!
About the Author: Ben Llewellyn is the co-founder of Ultimate Banners. Ultimate Banners is a specialist large format printing company based in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Ben has been working within the printing industry for over 7 years.