Promote Your Event on Social Media: Engage Your Network

How do you engage potential attendees on Instagram or help new audiences learn about your event on Facebook? In the third part of our Promote Your Event on Social Media series, we’ll answer those questions—and give you tips to keep attendees engaged even after they’re through the door.

Here are three steps to create social content that sells tickets:

Step 1. Use the 4:1:1 Rule to Map Content

Promotional posts can build a lot of excitement. But, too many can annoy your potential audience. After all, social media is meant to be a conversation—not one person with a megaphone. To strike a balance the right balance between promotional and conversational posts, follow the “4:1:1 rule” of social media, which suggests that every promotional post should be matched by one piece of relevant content, and four pieces written by another source.

The goal is to create a relationship with your potential attendees. Like any good relationship, it should be a two-way street that includes giving—in this case, in the form of interesting information—instead of just asking for them to meet your needs.

First, what should you post to promote your event? Here are a few ideas:

  • Countdown to the event or to on-sale dates
  • Share creative reveals of lineups or special guests
  • Use teaser videos to increase excitement like the example above!
  • Offer discount codes to followers of your social media accounts
  • Promote social contests and giveaways, such as offering VIP access to select followers
    who share the post
  • Share articles about your event to generate PR

Examples of relevant posts include:

  • Industry news that keeps your audience up to date.
  • Questions or polls that ask for your audience’s opinion. (These insights can also be used to decide on different elements of your event.)
  • Insights or behind-the-scenes looks at your event’s production.
  • Questions, issues or comments people send your way can be made into FAQ-style posts
  • Pictures, posts, or video made by users who attended the previous year’s event

Promotional and relevant content should only make up two out of every six posts you create. So, what counts as “sharable content”? Think about the last piece of genuinely useful or inspiring content that you “liked” or bookmarked for later and use that as your guide. You can find sharable content by heading to industry-related Facebook groups or following relevant hashtags. Aim for a mix of trending topics and best-of content to appeal to offer maximum value to your audience.

Step 2. Tailor Your Posts for Each Platform

You’ve already learned some of the key differences between audiences on different social platforms in Part 1: Choose Your Platform. While you can use the same post across different social platforms, you’re more likely to engage each audience by tweaking the content into different styles of posts.

Let’s say you want to create a promotional post announcing your event dates. Using a reference to what type of content performs best on each platform according to Buffer, here are a few examples of how you could adjust your content to best fit each platform:

Facebook: Sharable Topics

Start by thinking, “What will make my audience want to share this post?” Videos and images are a great start, especially if you can create an album from a previous year’s event. Facebook allows for lengthier content, so don’t pass up the chance to tell a story—allowing previous attendees to relieve the fun as well as inspiring new ones.

Instagram: Stunning Visuals

High-res photos, quotes, and stories rule on Instagram. For your initial announcement, pick one stand-out image along with a link to ticket sales. Follow-up posts can feature a 5-star review or behind-the-scenes story post to incite even more interest.

Twitter: Current Events

Quick, witty, and eye-catching updates are the preferred style of Twitter post. Look for a quote or interesting snippet of information that can be tweaked to fit a trending conversation.

LinkedIn: Industry Updates

Unless you’re up to your eyeballs in a specific industry, many LinkedIn users rely on the platform primarily for job and networking opportunities. This about how your announcement could add value to the professional lives of your audience and focus on those benefits in an update.

Pinterest: How-To Ideas

More a powerful visual search engine than a social platform, users head to Pinterest when they’re looking for instructions or inspiration. Think of common FAQs in relation to your event, such as “How to make the most of networking opportunities?” and create an infographic. While this takes some effort, creative how-to’s that are both visually appealing and informative will gain much more traction than a simple picture post.

Instead of creating individual posts for each platform, we suggest starting from a birdseye perspective when creating a piece of content. Think of the story it tells as a whole. Then, use elements from the larger piece to create perfectly bite-size posts that use the media and format best for each platform.

This approach is called “transmedia marketing” — we promise it’s simpler than it sounds! Do you have an easier time getting the hang of concepts with visual representation? Just check out the video below:

Step 3: Learn the Best Time to Post

Solid research exists to show the value of writing, tweeting, and posting at certain times of day, and at certain lengths. (Note: most of the existing research has been done onFacebook and Twitter—but the insights are helpful for posts on all networks.)

To get your post in front of as many eyes as possible, you want to post when most of your audience is online. On some social networks like Facebook, you can find out specifically when your followers are logged in the most. For platforms without that information, here’s what experts suggest as a rough guide:

  • Facebook: Maximum post engagement is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Other good times include 12:00–1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Instagram: According to TrackMaven, the effectiveness of sharing photos on Instagram is the same any time of day. But, videos tend to perform best any night of the week between 9 pm and 8 am.
  • Twitter: The most popular time to tweet is between noon and 1 pm local time, for each time zone. The least popular is between 3 to 4 am.
  • LinkedIn: The Huffington Post explains that the best days to post on LinkedIn are Tuesday through Thursday during work hours. In addition, Tuesday 10 to 11 am is known to get the most clicks and shares.

Bonus: Generate Social Buzz During the Event

In “How to Incentivize Attendee Engagement at Your Event,” we share ideas to get attendees engaged. But, how to keep them sharing on social AND in person?

Setting up photobooths or any other Instagrammable space is a great way to get attendees to strike a pose. The key to increasing shares is incorporating a hashtag that allows other attendees to find and follow those posts—both during the event and in the days or months after.

Final tip: When creating your event hashtag, don’t use spaces or extra characters. And, while it’s tempting to shorten words to meet the ideal six-character length, we also suggest being careful with slang.

Related: Part 2: Polish Your Presence
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