01 Jun Getting Started With Social Media Marketing for Virtual Events ￼
We get it — almost everything is hosted online, from social gatherings, conferences, and events.
The pandemic has shaken up some of the ways we have done events in the past, but it also opens many opportunities to fuel our desire to learn, stay connected, and witness events at your four-cornered screens. And how we’re seeing it at Ignite, it looks like it’s here to stay to the new normal — pandemic or post-pandemic.
For today’s blog, let’s walk you through how you can leverage social media marketing for events, especially when hosting them virtually. Keep reading, and get ready to create some buzz for your next virtual event.
Social Media Marketing Tactics to Increase Event Attendance
When it comes to social media event marketing, we can understand how overwhelming it is to figure out tactics that will work best for promoting your event. It doesn’t just start with graphics, announcements, and publicity. It always starts with strategy.
Luckily, some tried-and-true methods can help increase attendance for online events.
A 2019 study conducted by EventMB said that nearly 40% of event planners state that social media exposure is a key metric of event success. While 58% of marketers use social media to promote before, during, and after the event.
With that being said, it’s truly evident how virtual events have now taken the world by storm and how social media marketing takes a crucial part in it. Let’s talk about social media tactics you can use to increase attendance and make your event a success. We’ll outline these tactics from pre-event to mid and post-event tactics.
Event planners know that a successful event hinges on careful planning and execution pre-event. Social media marketing for events is no different. There are a few pre-event tactics planners can take to ensure their virtual event’s success.
Here are a few pre-event tactics you can do to boost your social media pages leading up to your event.
Game Up Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencer marketing has truly skyrocketed within the marketing industry. In fact, 28% of marketers choose to work with influencers as part of their event strategy.
Influencers are the new internet stars — they have influence, a network of people, community. And they have the power to expose your brand to an even larger audience, which is a great benchmark in communicating and building excitement on your brand’s virtual event.
We’ve enumerated here some of the things you can consider when choosing influencers to work with:
- The number of followers and engagements,
- relevancy to your target market or target audience for the event,
- the industry they are in (You can’t just work with a parent influencer for a teen-fest event), and
- the quality of content they produce.
Now how do you launch your influencer marketing campaign successfully for virtual events? Here are some of our success tips:
- Reach out to 10-15 influencers, depending on the size of your event.
- Make the program a win-win for the influencer (either paying them, offering them speaking roles, co-promotion, or other benefits).
- Ensure the influencer’s audience has similar characteristics and behaviors as your target audience
- Set specific goals for each influencer to track metrics and ROI.
- Make sure your influencers get involved with your virtual event. (Send them a few e-tix to giveaway to their followers)
With the right influencer strategy, you can definitely create the buzz your brand need for your pre-event.
Make Use of Paid Social Promotions
Paid social promotions are a great way to get the word out about your upcoming virtual event on social media. By creating sponsored posts or ads on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can reach a large audience of potential attendees and promote your virtual event cost-effectively.
With paid advertising, your ad campaign can get laser-targeted with only the people interested in attending your event. Ads allow you to target demographics, interests, and preferences and deliver the ad to the right people.
But of course, a good ad also comes with good quality content. Some ideas to incorporate into your content are as follows:
- Notable speakers and guests,
- Discounts for the event,
- Early bird discounts,
- Special session topics,
- Exclusive merchandise or giveaways,
- Video highlights or teasers.
With a bit of planning and creativity, paid social promotions can help you maximize the reach and impact of your virtual event.
Use the Right Tools and Channels
Managing your virtual event on social media can be overwhelming, especially if you manage more than one social platform. That’s why it’s essential for social media marketing for events to choose the right tools. Depending on your event, you might want to use a combination of tools or just one or two.
Use tools before, during, and after the event to streamline your social media posting. This also ensures that you eliminate tedious manual work, get more productive, and track your success.
A few tools you can keep in mind:
Live streaming channels
Strategize Your Content
Organizing a successful virtual event requires careful planning and thoughtful content strategy. A good event all comes down to good content — content for your future influencer campaign, ads, and even to be used for your social channels.
Moving forward to your event preparation, you need to come up with good quality content that will bring success to the table. Interesting, well-crafted content will keep attendees engaged and wanting to come back for more. That’s why it’s so important to spend time planning and strategizing your virtual event content ahead of time.
Here are three reasons why it’s essential to focus on content when planning your virtual event.
First, your virtual event will need to be attention-grabbing and engaging to hold your audience’s attention. This means that your content must be well-crafted and relevant to your audience.
Secondly, virtual events are often held over several days. You’ll need to have a steady stream of fresh, engaging content to keep people coming back for more.
Finally, virtual events are often recorded and made available online after the event has ended. This means that your content needs to be absolutely top-notch to make a lasting impression.
A few things to keep in mind when strategizing your content:
- make sure you create a unique event #hashtag,
- consider the format of the event,
- think about the audience’s interests and what captures them,
- choose speakers who are engaging and experts in the field,
- plan and test for technical glitches, and lastly
- get the word out and generate excitement about the event.
Now that you have all the virtual event planning basics down, it’s time to start thinking about your post-event social media strategy. Just because the event is over doesn’t mean your work is done. Post-event social media can be just as important as the event itself.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your post-event social media strategy.
Consider Repurposing Event Content
The event is over, and now what?
You will have dozens of social media posts, graphics, and videos from event planning to executing the event. Should you just upload them to an archived folder, good as a memory?
We hope not.
Now, if you’re looking for ways to get more mileage out of your virtual event content, you’re in luck. There are a number of ways you can repurpose your content to keep the conversations going long after your event has ended. How here are some ideas:
- Create social media posts around your key takeaways and insights.
- Build an on-demand version of your event for digital viewers.
- Edit short-cuts videos and snippets for social posting all year long.
- Repurpose popular sessions into podcasts and blog posts or use them as teasers for your next event.
- Repurpose content into a web series or a mini-course and use it to drive leads
Essentially, whatever type of virtual event you’ve held, there’s no need to let the content gather dust on your hard drive. By taking a little time to repurpose your content, you’ll be able to extend its reach and impact far beyond the initial event.
Focus on Community Building
Essentially, the importance of creating an event, virtual or not, is the impression that you leave. This should the core goal of your social media marketing for events.
A virtual event is a great way to build community and create leads. Focusing on building community after your virtual event or conference is the best way to keep the momentum going and ensure your attendees have a positive experience.
There are many ways to build community after a virtual event, such as:
- creating a private Facebook group for attendees,
- providing exclusive content for attendees,
- getting their email address and sending them exclusive content,
- or holding virtual meetups.
By focusing on community building, you can create an engaged and loyal audience that will continue to patronize your brand long after the virtual event is over. And this same group of people can be your potential attendees to your next event too.
Come Together Virtual: Final Thoughts
Planning for a virtual event is not an overnight thing — solid strategies, technical planning, and backend work need an army of creators and marketers.
By using the tactics we’ve outlined in this blog post, you can create a social media marketing plan that will help increase attendance at your next virtual event. Not just virtually, even if an in-person event, the same principles can still help you in your online promotion efforts.
At Ignite Social Media, we help brands get more from their social media marketing. Contact us today to learn how.