I was recently invited to take part in Pickevent’s Best practices in social media promotion session.
The event was jam-packed full of insights and best practices in social media promotion, and I can’t help but want to share them!
1. Do and learn
That’s all there is to it; you just need to get out there and try, and refine your approach as you go. The clue is in the title – it’s social. There’s a significant need to test continuously, just keep posting, keep improving and you’ll find the best way to reach out.
My take is that unless your social media or marketing team have their 5 senses, the event industry is not going to have the backlash and stories you see every now and then in the papers from politicians or big brands. Just do it.
2. Know your platforms inside out
Not every market is on every platform so you need to go on a hunt to find the one that suits your industry best. Once you’ve defined the most fruitful arena to be active in, focus on it and perfect your approach.
Realistically if you are in the B2B environment, have short resources and not a lot of time (does this resonate with you?) my advise will be to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter.
3. Don’t tell me about your lawnmower, tell me about your lawn
You have to focus on your customers’ needs and not just on your event. It can be hard to think about the bigger picture when promoting a conference but you have to get across how your event will help attendees solve problems and overcome professional challenges. Don’t just tell them how amazing you think it will be.
If your social media strategy is based on talking about your event, you will run out of things to say very very quickly.
4. The 4 C’s – content, conversations, connecting and common sense
Social media is a creative outlet – not one that should be governed by publishing X amount of posts per day. Be reactive, stimulate debate, and plan some innovative content too. There’s no excuse for being boring.
5. Think conversations and engagement – not campaigns
It’s pretty obvious when an organisation executes a well thought out, premeditated social media campaign that they have the sole intention of driving revenue or appealing to newcomers. What works better is when you simply reach out to your followers or community, and demonstrate that you’re interested in sharing knowledge, finding synergies with contacts and peers, or instigating a digital brainstorm. This may well lead to the same end result, but it’s the epitome of the inbound approach.
6. React and respond
If you have a smart phone you should be using it to take action on social media on the go. It’s not enough to simply schedule your posts in advance and let the conversation go on without you – you have to be present, otherwise what’s the point?
7. Don’t forget about the ROI
One of the often forgotten best practices in social media promotion for event professionals is monitoring your metrics. You need to define a few key measures relevant to your organisation and ensure you can demonstrate the ROI of campaigns to your boss.
In our world and I am sure in your boss' one is the number of leads and customers you generated through social media engagement as a first touch-point.
8. The 70/20/10 guideline
As a final thought the audience asked: What should be the ideal ratio of content shared on social media? Here is my recommendation:
70% should be content created by yourself/company - Non event specific
20% should be content created by someone else that you shared/liked/commented/responded to - Non event specific
10% can be content created by yourself - Yes, finally you can tell them how great your event is
So if 90% of the content that I share is non event specific, how do I generate leads and event registrations? The answer is that once you generate the click or visit to your site, then your event CTA will be prominently displayed on your site with a very clear action or irresistible offer.
In addition the 70% of the value add content you share, is and should be related to the topics, issues and pains your event is solving.
Think you can do it?
Social media promotion for events can be samey across the board. You may want to show off the many benefits to attending and craft a campaign around these, but this can often leave your audience feeling disengaged, uninterested and highly unlikely to attend. Do things differently, be innovative, and speak to your contacts on a human level. Engage with them and they’ll be more likely to want to engage with you at your conference, and further down the line.
Huge thanks to Jose Bort, organiser of the #Eventprofs network and all those at Pickevent who made the session happen. Pickevent brings together a varied and diverse community of event professionals, from event organisers and technology innovators to event media and professional associations. It offers an inspiring environment for event enthusiasts to share learnings and knowledge from all areas of the industry.