Using Social Media to Brand Your Events
Event marketing, and by extension marketing itself, is all about attention.
It’s a game of appealing to what people want to look at, listen to, feel, taste, do, or share.
And just as important as what people are paying attention to is where their attention is directed. In 2019, we spent a lot of time looking at our phones, and it’s doubtful this will change in 2020.
It’s reflected in the way marketers work—much has changed since the initial dot com boom of the 90s. Branded online content is a better investment than buying ad space in magazines. That’s no surprise when 71% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media. This includes potential ticket buyers for your events.
Social media is a necessary part of any event marketing strategy. With so many built-in ways to market your event on social, using your platforms to brand your events should be a no-brainer. Here are eight tips on how to utilize those resources for branding.
1. Pick the Right Platform
The first step in branding an event is to make sure you’re doing it on the right social media outlet. If you expect an older crowd at your event, getting them to engage with your brand on Snapchat might not be a great idea. Are your attendees on Instagram or Twitter? If your brand is more professional, Linkedin might be your best bet. If your attendees are already on Facebook, consider creating your own Facebook group for them to talk about your event and brand, or create a Facebook event to centralize the conversation. Figure out where your target audience is on social and build your strategy from there.
On the flip side, choosing the wrong platform could have a negative impact on your brand—people will think you’re out of touch with where potential event attendees live online. You wouldn’t want to create a new social media account on a new platform to receive updates and content from an event you’re attending, would you? No matter what, make it your goal to know your audience and use social media accordingly.
2. Create Your Own Hashtag
Hashtags are labels for internet content. They make it easy to find and keep track of posts about a given topic, and they are easy for event attendees to share. You can create your unique hashtag to help brand your event.
Think of a hashtag that works with your brand and the branding strategy of your event. If the event repeats annually, you can use a hashtag that incorporates the year, then change it for your next event.
Make sure your hashtag is short and memorable because part of using hashtags to brand your events on social media is getting other people to use it. If it’s something catchy and clever, they will remember it and want to use it in their posts. This way, the event-related content people share on social will instantly be branded with your hashtag. Even if they don’t know it, every attendee can be a brand ambassador. Additionally, the content posted under the hashtag can provide you with user-generated content to use for future marketing.
3. Brand Your Accounts
Your followers know your logo—they see it in your profile icon every time they look at a post from your account. If you change it, chances are they will notice, and it will spark curiosity.
Change the header image on your Twitter or Facebook page, update your Youtube Channel banner art, and include the branding and hashtag from your event in it. Even changing the background color of your icon on any social account can help create a little bit of buzz (and when it comes to event marketing, you’re in the buzz business).
Make sure to include a link to and description of your event in your bio as well—that way, you can convert curious followers into attendees. Once the event has started, stay on top of branding. Consider creating custom Snapchat geofilters for attendees to share with their followers when they’re at the event. It could be as fun or as subtle as you see fit.
4. Share branded Content
Content and social media go hand in hand. What good is content if you have no place to share it? What good is social media if you have nothing to show off? Creating event-related content before, during, and after your event is essential to generating hype and selling more tickets.
Does your company have a blog? Write an article outlining how great your event will be and share it out on social media. Create a piece around places to eat or things to see while the attendees are in the area if you expect a large out-of-town attendance. You can also share content created by your speakers or do a guest blog post to get your followers interested in what they have to say. Use their star power and insight to promote the event—people will be eager to hear what they’re all about.
You can get creative with the content you’re sharing, too—it doesn’t always have to be a blog post! Create something interactive like a Spotify playlist themed around your event—you can even add your logo to it for extra branding.
Ticket giveaways are another useful event promotion idea, and social media is a perfect platform. You can ask your followers to share content with your hashtag or tag friends who might also want to attend the event in exchange for a chance at a free ticket. You’ll create more brand awareness, gain more potential followers and more attendees.
5. Link Up with Influencers
While promoting your hashtag to your regular social media users and attendees can help generate buzz for your event, reaching out to influencers and asking them to share your hashtag and attend your event can supercharge your brand’s presence on social media.
You might have many followers on your social accounts, but influencers have extensive networks and can meet their followers on a level that brands cannot. Combine your networks to make a giant supernetwork of buzz around your brand. Influencers can promote your brand with nary more than a hashtag and a selfie.
Offering a complimentary admission in exchange for social content from influencers is an excellent way to make sure your influencer marketing strategy works.
6. Start a Conversation
You’ve got your hashtag. You’ve got influencers on board. You have an event coming up, and you want people to talk about it. Before the event to generate buzz and ensure anyone who missed out has FOMO—an emotional marketing tactic that appeals to Millenials and after the event to share memorable moments.
If you’ve got some insightful speakers or a super cool location, allow your followers to let you know what they think.
Make sure to include your hashtag when you make conversation-sparking posts. People coming to your event will be talking about it anyway, and an excellent way to get attendees to engage with your brand is to initiate conversations on social. This is also a good way to remain accessible. Guests will undoubtedly have questions leading up to the event, and keeping up with conversations on social is an excellent way to notice and answer them properly.
7. Pass Out Shareable Giveaways
A great way to brand your events using social media is to put things in front of your attendees that they cannot resist sharing. People love freebies, and swag bags are a surefire way to get them excited about your event and brand. Tote bags and t-shirts are great, but if you give attendees something more unique, like a branded toy or some cool sunglasses, they will be more likely to want to post about it to their social networks.
If it fits your event’s tone and your budget, photobooth photos are a great giveaway. Set up your photo booth with a branded backdrop (just like the red carpet!) and consider bringing some on-brand props for attendees to pose with. You can design the print-out to be branded as well. Photobooth pictures are more fun than a simple selfie or group picture on the phone, so they are more likely to be shared, not to mention, they’re a cute keepsake that will remind attendees of your event for years to come.
8. Retweet Your Attendees
When it comes to event marketing and social media, you can’t just set it and forget it. You have to stay engaged with your followers. Share the best hashtagged posts from speakers and attendees on your pages. You might also consider creating a roundup-style blog post including the best takeaways from your followers. Whatever you do, make sure you have an idea of your post-event strategy and keep track of what people say on social during the process.
Branding your events using social media comes down to paying attention to what attendees are paying attention to. You need to make sure you have a game plan that includes plenty of content and conversation surrounding your event and brand. Remember that your guests are already trying to network amongst themselves, and you can help facilitate those conversations on social media. You’ll create brand awareness at the same time if you follow these tips for using social media to brand your events.