Caramel apples, hayrides and pumpkin picking. The fall festival season is around the corner. How do you tell your community about the events your business or organization has planned while measuring ticket sales, brand awareness, and still find time to capture content, engage with attendees and provide real-time updates and information? Easy. Create an Event Marketing Strategy.
The days of only word-of-mouth or putting up flyers in storefront windows to attract an audience. Your efforts must (or should) be determined months in advance in a clear, concise plan for events that you are hosting and require substantial marketing efforts.
We collaborate with our clients to create and execute a Social Media Event Strategy that will align with overall event marketing goals and efforts. In any event with the goal of raising money or selling tickets, providing entertainment, or increasing awareness of a cause, it is imperative for future planning that an event strategy is in place; one that outlines clear guidelines and objectives. In this, provide direction for those executing the event, define what success will be for the event and how it will be measured, and summarize the objectives, tactics, and pre, during, and post-event planning that will take place.
Once an event marketing strategy has been created, and social media has been identified as a tool to be used to support overall efforts, tailor your strategy specifically to social media. If you are reading this and glancing at your calendar with the realization that you are only a few months or maybe weeks away from your next event, the following steps will help you in creating a plan for your social media efforts to quickly and efficiently grow the reach of your event. Pre-Event Planning
Who will be involved?
Assemble a reliable team who knows their way around social media and is familiar with the event and marketing goals.
Tap into the people who are helping make your event a success. Utilize speakers, vendors, presenters, or other business sponsors as influencers on social media. Ask them to engage with your content and share your event and related posts on their own social media channels.
What content is needed?
Managing a successful social media campaign of any kind requires quality visuals and content. Determine what your social media content calendar will include for daily or weekly posts. Then gather the needed photos, videos, and other elements required to prepare your posts leading up to and during the event.
Where is your audience and where will you promote the event?
Reflecting on who you are trying to reach is key and necessary for pre-event planning. This will determine the social media channel(s) you use to promote the event, the audiences you will target if you advertise, and the verbiage used in post copy.
When will you begin marketing?
Write down the event date or dates and work backwards from there. Allow yourself enough lead-time to plan and execute your social media strategy in order to allow for real results. You cannot expect to reach your goals or see extensive reach or engagement if you begin posting one week before the event. Remember that people’s lives are busy with many things so getting on their calendars ASAP is important.
How will you measure success?
At this point, you know why you are using social media and what you hope to gain from it. Now, you need to determine how you will track the success of the campaign. Will it be with hashtags, social advertising, link clicks, and event responses? There are hundreds of ways to measure social media success. Identify your most important metrics and plan to monitor these as the campaign moves forward.
Place your hashtag and social media account icons on banners, flyers, and other promotional materials around the event site so people know to look for you on those platforms
Ask those involved in the event to live stream and post during the event
Encourage the sharing of photos, videos, and comments from attendees. Gathering this content will help you for future marketing, post-event content shares, and evaluating what people’s reactions to your event were.
Maximize video / photo apps
There is an abundance of apps on our cell phones to capture beautiful images and videos in fun ways. Choose a couple to gather new content from your event to share.
Utilize a social media dashboard
You are likely to be running around executing the details of the event. Find free tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts ahead of time so you can focus on managing your event. Designate 1-2 people to post in real-time several times during the event with specific content if there are moments worthy of sharing immediately.
Continue to post
Just because the event is over, does not mean you should end your social media efforts. Use your platform(s) to thank all who attended or sponsored the event, ask for feedback, congratulate winners, and announce a line-up or dates for next year. Keep your audience engaged and looking forward to what you have to offer year-round.
Create a report
Do you remember those goals you had? It’s time to see if you met them and review the efforts put forth on your social media. Using insights from social media channels or reporting within dashboards like Hootsuite, you can create customized reports to analyze. Sit down with your team to review the data and content that was both gathered and shared. Did you do what you set out to accomplish? How did social media tie in with your other marketing efforts? Ask questions and learn!
Plan ahead for next year’s event
Now that you’ve had your first experience with a social media event strategy, how will you take what you learned and prepare for the next event? Maybe you found that you had ultimate success right away or that it was more to take on than anticipated. Whatever the case may be, you can only improve!
If you find you need help in any of these areas for your social media event marketing AOU Creative has the team and tools to help guide and assist you every step of the way!