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Social Media Event Promotion: The Complete Guide

When it comes to social media event promotion, it’s important to make a plan—whether you’re hosting a private party for clients, or putting on a festival.

Melissa Roach June 26, 2019
social media event promotion
Image via Adam Whitlock under CC0

When it comes to social media event promotion, it’s important to make a plan. Whether you’re hosting a private party for clients, or putting on a festival for thousands, having a strategy is key.

Social media tools let you engage with your audience in creative ways that boost attendance and make for a better experience.

Often, organizers can spend a lot of money and energy on marketing before an event without much thought about what comes next. But, social media event promotion is far from over once your guests walk through the door.

An effective social media event strategy will involve connecting with your followers before, during, and after an event. Here are some social media techniques for creating a killer digital experience for your guests, from start to finish.

Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your strategy, track results, and share with your boss, teammates, and clients.

6 ways to promote an event on social media before it happens

1. Post a countdown on Instagram Stories

The countdown sticker on Instagram Stories lets you set an end date and time. You can also customize the name and color of the clock.

Viewers can subscribe to receive a notification when the clock runs out, or add the countdown to their own Story.

This feature is essentially a branded calendar notification. It’s a great tool for driving ticket sales or reminding people about deadlines for contests or early bird pricing.

Instagram Stories countdown sticker

2. Create an event page on Facebook

Make a Facebook event that includes all the details your guests will need. Tag the official pages of your invited speakers or special guests.

The discussion area of the event is a great space to post announcements or answer questions. You might want to get the word out about exclusive pre-sale codes or share the set times for a concert there.

If there are tickets available through Eventbrite, you have the option to link your account to Facebook. Once the integration is set up, your attendees can buy tickets without ever leaving the Facebook event.

3. Post teasers with necessary details

Share relevant details in the time leading up to the event. Teasers help build up the hype and can also provide your audience members with useful information.

They’re also a way to show off your guests of honour. If you’re hosting a big conference, you could introduce your guest speakers one-by-one in the weeks leading up to it.

Or, share interviews with the stars of your event, like RuPaul’s Drag Race does with their pre-season “Meet the Queens” segment.

4. Create a hashtag

A branded hashtag is a handy way for you and your guests to find all content related to your event across social channels.

Create a hashtag that hasn’t had much prior use so that your event doesn’t get buried in a mountain of irrelevant content.

The most useful hashtags are not just unique, they’re short and easy to spell. Would someone know how to write it if you said it to them out loud?

The shorter, the better, too. Remember, you’ll want to fit in a shortened URL to the event page within your character limit as well.

Use your hashtag on all your social media content, and include it on other marketing collateral as well, even printed materials.

5. Give a sneak peek

One guarantee about social media event promotion? People love a good peek behind the curtain. With plenty of time in advance, reveal tidbits of what your guests can look forward to at the event.

Share behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your venue, speakers, programs, and swag.

Jameela Jamil often plugs her show, The Good Place, by sharing goofy photos of cast on-set, letting fans in on the backstage shenanigans before the airing of a new episode.

6. Host a giveaway

Social media giveaway contests pump up your brand awareness and help convert followers to event attendees.

Ask people to share a contest post from your account and use the hashtag to enter.

Once they share, you’ll have all the eyes of their followers on your brand as well. This gets you a much broader reach, for the price of a handful of free tickets or products.

If your event has any sponsors, consider asking them for giveaway items in exchange for some extra publicity.

5 ways to cover an event on social media while it’s happening

7. Design a custom AR filter for Instagram or Snapchat

Getting creative with augmented reality (AR) camera effects is a fun way for guests to interact with your event. They can use it in their own Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat Stories, leading to some excellent user-generated content.

For Instagram and Facebook: design your own branded AR filters using the free tool Spark AR Studio.

For Snapchat: you’ll need to use their free creators’ platform, Lens Studio 2.0. Here are some tips on how to build one.

Import your own images and sounds into either app and you’re on your way to building your own AR feature.

Who knows, maybe your custom camera effect could become as popular as the dog filter. Or Rhianna’s diamond headpiece filter.

8. Interview attendees on Instagram Stories

Do you watch red carpet highlights on Instagram, even if you don’t tune in for the whole award show? There’s a reason for that.

Short interviews with interesting subjects make for compelling and easily-digestible content. Create your own red carpet moments while the event is underway.

Use Instagram Stories to share people’s reactions and feelings about your event on the spot. What are people talking about? How is the general vibe?

Bonus points if you can get some face-time with any special guests or presenters.

9. Live tweet

Help keep people’s FOMO at bay—or increase it—by sharing images and highlights from the day as they happen.

Think of live tweeting as an informative and entertaining play-by-play of the event.

Live tweeting sets the tone and shape of the online conversation around your event. It’s useful for capturing performances, or timely discourse, like at conferences, debates, and speaking events.

Be consistent with the use of your event hashtag and share funny moments, main takeaways, and powerful quotes from speakers.

Live event coverage is also important for engaging with your guests in real time. Monitor your feeds to address any concerns or questions that come up for people.

10. Tell your followers to come find you if you have swag

If you have any swag to give away, let people know where to find you on-site.

Why hand out swag? A 2017 Inkwell study found that six in 10 people will hold onto promotional products for up to two years.

Promotional products are most effective when they’re a combination of useful and fun, like these Spider-Man amenity kits.

Put the word out through your channels about where to go for some sweet freebies. Branded items are best delivered one-on-one, allowing you to make a personal connection with your audience.

11. Display social media posts at the event

Social media can still be a collective experience without everyone looking down at their phones.

Use a social media aggregation tool like Hootfeed. Hootfeed uses your dedicated hashtag to push related tweets to a real-time display.

This strategy makes the online conversation more accessible and interactive for people in the room. It might even persuade them to join in, too.

6 ways to promote an event on social media after it’s over

Remember: social media event promotion doesn’t end when your event ends. There’s still lots of work to do.

12. Post user-generated content of the event

If your short, easy-to-remember hashtag has done its job, it will be easy to find content posted by your audience and presenters after the fact.

Respond to and share user-generated content to make a personal connection with your attendees. You’ll also get to celebrate your success and show off your event from several perspectives.

When the I Weigh movement launched in 2019, the party featured an interactive photo booth that did a great job of inspiring dynamic user-generated content. They shared photos and thanked guests for participating as a follow-up.

13. Follow up with customers

When the show is over and people are returning to the daily grind, reconnect with them to say thank you or wish them a safe trip home.

Don’t leave any loose ends untied. If people had remaining concerns or complaints, follow up with them to make sure those issues are addressed.

This does a lot to strengthen people’s relationship to your brand. They’ll be more likely to engage with you again, whether that’s online or at the next event.

14. Save event highlights to your highlights

One of the beautiful things about Stories is that they don’t take up space on your profile, so you can post a higher volume of content that doesn’t have to be as polished.

But you don’t want all of that content to disappear within 24 hours, especially if you’ve been doing some great event coverage there.

While Instagram and Facebook Stories are gone within a day, you can pin that same content to your Story Highlights to share it longer-term.

Highlights live on your profile until you delete them. They let you curate your favorite story content and organize it under different labels. Each labelled highlight shows up as an individual icon on your profile with a custom name and cover image.

15. Create summaries for people who couldn’t make it

Even if some of your followers couldn’t be there in-person, they can still take part in the event experience.

Share content that gives people a taste of what they missed. Post images and videos that will inspire that “it’s-like-I-was-there” feeling.

If you had a waitlist of people who weren’t able to snag tickets, send them exclusive content to let them know you value their interest.

16. Analyze your performance

No marketing campaign is complete without an evaluation component.

Set goals and social media metrics ahead of time so you can measure your campaign’s success against them. Was your priority ticket sales? Brand awareness?

Take a deep dive into your analytics. Find out whether your team met those performance goals and how well you executed your plan.

The insights you gain from this campaign will inform how you develop your social media strategy for future events.

17. Run a post-event survey

If you want to up your game going forward, it’s important to ask people what they thought of the event.

Create a post-event survey through a free platform like SurveyMonkey. You can also ask questions using poll stickers and emoji slider stickers in Instagram Stories.

Asking for feedback with social media polling features is more informal. It makes it easy for people to respond. Keep in mind that this feedback won’t be anonymous though.

Instagram Stories poll sticker

The format of an anonymous online survey lets people take time to develop their ideas. You’ll end up receiving more honest and helpful feedback.

Don’t only send your survey to the attendees, either. Presenters, organizers, and volunteers all have valuable insights to share.

Try to be open to all types of feedback. It will only make your approach to future social media event promotion even better.

Promote your brand’s events on all the major social media platforms from one dashboard with Hootsuite. Run contests, post teasers, and follow up with attendees. Try it free today.

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By Melissa Roach

Melissa Roach is a freelance writer and communicator based in Vancouver, BC. When she's not creating content, she's puzzling, crafting, and thrifting up a storm.

Read more by Melissa Roach

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