How to market your event on social media, FOR FREE!
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
So, you’re organising an event. You’ve secured a fantastic venue, you have created a great programme with a couple of well-known speakers, and now you need to get an audience.
How do you utilise social media to market your event?
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to spend any money on ads, if you do it right.
Social media is free, easy to use, and more importantly, your target market is more likely to see your event, as opposed to getting a cold email that’ll never get opened.
Everybody and their great uncle’s cousin’s neighbour’s daughter’s hamster is on social media. You need to exploit this marketing gold mine and spread the news about your new shiny event. But how? Where? What? And when to post about it?
Let’s break down the strategy
· First of all, check out the competition.
See what’s been done and how, to get your inspirational juices flowing. Don’t copy, just analyse the best examples you come across and then create something even better.
· Next, create the eye candy!
What you need is an event graphic - Canva is a great free online tool for this. It’s packed with ready-made templates and easy-to-use drag and drop features. Walk in the park!
Here’s one I’ve created earlier, as an example:
· What is your value proposition?
For example, if you’re putting on a business networking event - how and why is your event different to all the other ones out there? Apart from the recent start-ups, most business owners are bored of attending the same networking event disguised as something else, but exactly the same as all the other ones out there. What makes your event so unique?
· Make sure all the event details are clear
The What - When - Where and Who, if you have special speakers or seminars lined up. What can the attendees expect to see? What will they learn, who will they see? Answering all of these will increase people’s motivation to sign up to your event. Don’t forget to include, dress code, parking details, how-to-get-there instructions, maps, venue details. Make it all clear and easy info to find.
· Social proof - remember, people have to give up their time and money if it’s a paid event. You need to convince potential attendees that your event is definitely worth their time and/or money. Highlight why the event is relevant to them.
How do you satisfy the social proof element? Include testimonials or independent reviews of a previous event of yours.
· Clear call to action! What should the reader do once they’ve read about your event? Book... pre-register? Remember, people are more likely to turn up if they had to register for something - it’s that typical psychological thing to do with making a commitment.
· Have a think about this - which social platform can your audience be found on? Generally, B2B businesses are on LinkedIn, B2C businesses ore on Facebook/Instagram Twitter - but this can depend on their industry and where their own target clients are likely to be present. Do some digging. You might want to target multiple channels and tailor your posts accordingly.
· Timing - give people plenty of notice! Post your event at least 2-3 months in advance.
· Frequency - don’t overdo it!
Post about it once a week at the most. Your followers/network will quickly get bored and unfollow/block you otherwise. You could crank up the frequency during the last two weeks leading up to your event, but be careful not to push the same message too often. Change things up a bit, use different graphics and wording and don’t post every single day!
· Write about it on your website and link your website to the event… this is a great opportunity for website traffic and business exposure! People will want to check out what you’re all about.
· Ask your network to spread the news - this way you’ll gain a wider reach and hopefully more interest in your event.
· Finally, it’s worth setting up your event on Eventbrite - staying the obvious but you’ll get even more eyes on it. Ideally, do this before you start your social media campaign, so you can include the event link in every update you’re posting about your event.
Here’s a short case study of a small-scale event I’ve helped to market on LinkedIn recently:
Client: Working Breakfast (Rodger Scott)
Event: The Working Breakfast Business LinkUp
Objective: to raise awareness, interest and ultimately grow the number of attendees compared to the total visitors the event had in 2018.
Timeline: 6 weeks - social media campaign duration
Method: using the steps outlined above:
We’ve looked at other tradeshows happening in the area (to see how we could be different).
Created a few social graphics to go with our posts.
Registered on Eventbrite.
Clearly stated the value proposition.
“What makes this event different? The objective is to meet new and interesting people, rather than to sell.”
Listed all of the event details in a clear-to-understand way (event venue, date, timings, cost, event price)
For social proof, we’ve asked attendees from last year’s event to provide some feedback. We have also contacted two well-known LinkedIn experts (John Espirian and Greg Cooper) and invited them to attend. This helped us raise the event’s profile.
“Personally, it was a joy to have time to talk with business owners, work through their digital marketing issues and be able to offer solutions. In terms of investment, the customers we received from the event gave us a 100 times return on the costs of exhibiting." Martyn Lenthall – MD at digital nrg
Call to action – we’ve asked would-be attendees to register in advance.
Our audience was predominantly on LinkedIn, so this is where we’ve focused our efforts.
We had a short timeline in this case and started the campaign 6 weeks prior to the event, therefore we posted quite frequently, to try and gain momentum.
The event had its own landing page on the Working Breakfast website.
Finally, we’ve asked the Working Breakfast members as well as our wider network to spread the news about our upcoming event.
Campaign results (remember, this was a small-scale event):
2018 Visitors: 90
2019 Visitors: 121 (up by 26.62% compared to 2018)
No show %:
Are there any other steps and methods you could think of to market your event on social media? Think about how you would drum up interest, using the most popular platforms, in a way that you stand out compared to other event organisers?
Zsike | chief vampire