​​ Your Complete Guide to Social Media Promotion for Events

, Published by Ultimate Experience

Planning a big event is no easy task!

A lot of work goes into getting every little detail just right, as you want to make it perfect for the guests attending the event.

When planning an event, good marketing through social media the key to getting your event off the ground.

It’s the best way to reach your target market, generate a buzz online, and create a real interest in what you are promoting.

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can help you publicise your event by spreading the word throughout online communities.

We’ve created this comprehensive guide to social media promotion for events to help you learn everything you need to know about harnessing the power of social media. By the time you finish this guide, you’ll be a lot closer to rocking your event like a digital marketing pro!​

Why Focus on Social Media Promotion for Events?

Is social media really all that useful? Should you spend all this time learning how to harness social media for your events? Think about this:

  • The Wimbledon organisation tweeted continuously throughout the two week event, posting 2,634 tweets from June 24 to July 7.
  • 35.6 million people tweeted about a single World Cup 2014 game (Brazil vs. Germany)
  • 15,700 people tweeted about the 2014 Grammy Awards
  • Ellen's selfie image has been retweeted 3,336,938 times
  • 254,644 people tweeted every minute during Ellen’s “selfies with the stars” at the 2014 Academy Awards
  • The 2016 Grammy Awared received a 1.2 million mentions on Twitter on the event night excluding retweets
  • Taylor Swift received over 88k mentions during the 2016 Grammy Awards
  • During the broadcast, tweets regarding The Super Bowl XLIX was seen over 2 billion times
  • 16.13 million users in the United States used Twitter to live-tweet the The Super Bowl XLIX

Imagine if you could get even a fraction of those people tweeting or posting about your event!

For this reason, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to using the most popular social media platforms today’s digital marketers rely on. You’ll learn how to Tweet like a pro, how to harness the power of Facebook, how to engage with users on YouTube and how to rock Instagram and LinkedIn.

Good luck, and happy marketing!

Download our FREE Event Promotion Checklist!

Here is a checklist for you to be used for promoting both small and large events using social media. This, of course, can be adjusted according to which social media channels that are mostly used in your location.


1. Twitter for Event Promotion

Did you know that:

  • Twitter is currently used by roughly 270 million people around the world?
  • More than 300 billion Tweets have been shared since Twitter was launched?
  • Roughly 37% of Twitter users will buy from brands that they follow?

Clearly, Twitter is a powerful force to harness for any marketing or promotional campaign.

But how can you use it for your event? Here’s everything you need to know about using the power of Twitter as a force for good:

Before the Big Event

You need to start generating buzz for your event well before it is scheduled to take place.

As you’d expect, it all starts with a #hashtag…

Create a #Hashtag for your event

If you spend more than 5 minutes on social media, you’ll see that hashtags are everywhere! You can’t check your Facebook feed or look at photos on Instagram without being flooded by hashtags. 

But what the heck are they? Simply put, hashtags turn any word into a searchable link that anyone can find. For example, let’s say you like the word snufflepug. Put the “#” (pound) sign before the word—giving you #snufflepug—and all of a sudden you have a keyword that you can search on Twitter. Anytime someone uses #snufflepug, you’ll be able to see who said it, when, and in what context.

For your event, a hashtag can be a truly brilliant creation! Your own unique hashtag (#yourbigday) will help you to track any activity around that keyword. It will make it much easier for you to spread word about your program or campaign!

But what kind of hashtag should you create for your event?

  • Short – Who has the time to type out “#bigeventjustaroundthecornerandtotallywanttogo”? No one! The shorter the hashtag is, the easier it will be for your audience to re-Tweet it. With only 140 characters per Tweet, shorter is always best.
  • Unique – What makes “snufflepug” such an awesome hashtag? It’s 100% unique! No one else has used it before you created it, so any time it’s used from now on, it’s referring to you. The more unique your hashtag, the better!
  • Relevant – Would you post about your event using the hashtag “#dayoff”? Of course not! You will use hashtag like “#awesomeevent” or “#seeuslive” to let people know what’s happening. Make sure your hashtag is as relevant to your big event as possible.
  • Tweet-worthy – Your goal is to create a hashtag that people are going to want to re-Tweet. It needs to be short, unique, and relevant, but the more memorable it is, the more Tweet-worthy it will be. Why do you think the term “selfie” took off? It’s the perfect hashtag to describe exactly what it is!

Bonus: If you can make your hashtag something you can use in the text of your tweet (rather than one you use after the Tweet), mad props to you. For example, “Come on down to #purplepizzaparty at Domino’s Pizza”. How awesome would that event be?!

Pre-event marketing on Twitter

So you’ve got your rockin’ hashtag, you’ve tweeted it a few times, and now what? What more can Twitter do to help you market your event?

1

START TWEETING

Well before the date of your big even, get on Twitter and start spreading the word! Send out informational Tweets with the date, time, and location. Tweet fun and funny things relevant to the event. Fill those 140 characters with interesting facts, stories, and links that will get people interested in what’s going on. Make sure that your hashtag is in EVERY single one of those Tweets.

Awesome Tweets to use could be:

  • Countdown (X more days left until #purplepizzaparty)
  • Notices (Registration opening soon, event goes live in X hours, etc.)
  • Mention of speakers (See Tony Robbins live at #snufflepug luau)
  • Mention of guests (Hey Jane Doe, see you at the event!)
  • Testimonials (Shared by J.C. from LinkedIn: Loved the last #purplepizzaparty event!)
2

INTEGRATE TWITTER INTO YOUR SITE

The website that will be set up for the event MUST have a Twitter feed embedded (usually in the sidebar). That way, people who visit the site will see what is being Tweeted–both by the event coordinators (you) and their peers. Having that embedded Twitter feed will help to remind people to hit “RT” on those interesting posts and Tweets.

The Twitter for Websites suite of products makes it easy for you to add interactive Twitter content to your event page.

Pro Tip: Twitter changes the way they display tweets during events, this is called custom timelines​. This enables event marketers to selectively display tweets in a timeline format, and provides them with essential functionality, such as:

  • Moderating submitted tweets based on a #hashtag
  • Cohesive user experience, in line with the event
  • Ability to integrate in an external website

Some examples of custom Twitter Timelines:

3

TRACK THE USE OF YOUR HASHTAG

You spent all that time and creative effort coming up with a brilliant hashtag, so don’t let it go to waste! Track its use and see how people are using it, or if people are even using it at all. Thank people who use that hashtag to promote your event, and it will generate a lot of goodwill for both you and your event.

A good example is Subway’s #januANY campaign. Their hashtag has two key components: it’s distinctive enough to track easily and it’s simple for fans to remember:

The following FREE tools can help you with Twitter analytics and tracking hashtags:

4

ORGANISE CONTESTS AND OFFERS

Want to spread the word of your hashtag and event more quickly? Offer incentives to anyone who re-Tweets the hashtag for the weeks or days leading up to the event. Organise special contests and offers on Twitter, and only those who know “the right hashtag” will receive the bonus swag you’re offering.

Let's check out some Twitter contest examples:

Photo Contest

A photo contest lets your participants showcase their creativity. With almost everyone having a camera on their smartphone anyone can get involved in posting images from the event, by using a specific #hashtag. Just ask users to Tweet a photo of them enjoying their time at your event using your designated hashtag.

Caption Contest

Caption contests are the epitome of fun! It’s an easy and quick Twitter contest idea to put together. Just ask your event attendees to Tweet a caption for a given photo of your choice, and include your contest hashtag to make it easier to track attendee entries. Choose the most creative caption and you have a winner.

Market Your Event Hashtag

Want to spread the word of your hashtag as much as possible? Here’s how to do it:

  • Add it to press releases — If you’re sending out press releases for the big event, add the hashtag. It will help to connect the press release to your Twitter marketing campaign, tying it all together in a neat bow.
  • Put it in emails — In every email you send out, make sure the hashtag is highly visible and as share-able as possible.
  • Place it in marketing materials — On every flyer, pamphlet, and business card you hand out, that hashtag has to be there.
  • Include it in the registration page — When people sign up for your event, make sure that they can see your hashtag. You can encourage them to “Join the Conversation” by Tweeting using that hashtag, getting more people to spread the word!

Remember, the more people that see the hashtag, the higher your chances of re-Tweets and shares. It’s all about putting your hashtag in front of as many eyes as possible!

Learn from a Good Example

In 2011, HubSpot hosted a webinar, one they marketed as “the world’s biggest webinar”. More than 30,000 people signed up for the event, and nearly 11,000 of them actually attended. The webinar was all about the science of social media, so the HubSpot marketers used the hashtag #smsci.

That hashtag was mentioned in 13,500 different Tweets, and was seen 19.7 million times. Around noon on the day of the event, the hashtag was shared nearly 9,000 times. Talk about getting the hashtag in front of people!

Download our FREE Event Promotion Checklist!

Here is a checklist for you to be used for promoting both small and large events using social media. This, of course, can be adjusted according to which social media channels that are mostly used in your location.

During the Big Event

All that hard work BEFORE the event has paid off, and you’ve gotten a bit of buzz going on social media. The day of the big event rolls around, but don’t think for a minute that your work is done. In fact, it’s ON the day of the event that you’re going to do the most work. Why is that?

People are more interested in things that are happening right now than they are things happening in the future. You’ll generate a lot of interest in the results of your event if you use Twitter on the big day.

Live Event Hashtag Feed

As the event is happening, keep up a steady stream of Tweets.

  • Did an amazing guest speaker just blow the audience’s minds? Tweet that quote with your hashtag!
  • Did something funny or outstanding happen at the event? Tweet it!
  • Did you snap a photo at the event? Share it on Twitter!

The more you Tweet, the more buzz you will generate about what’s happening at the moment.

Connect a computer to a TV, and place it in a high-traffic area at the event. That way, your guests will see all of your Tweets as they are sent out, and they can both “Like” and “Re-tweet” at that very moment. It’s a great way to encourage your guests to Tweet about the event.

If you learn nothing else, remember this: the more interesting, relevant, and buzzworthy content you Tweet on the day of the event, the better!

The following tools can help you implement live Twitter feed:

Encourage Audience Participation on Twitter

Do you want to send the number of Tweets and hashtags through the roof? Get all of your guests to post to their Twitter feeds! How can you do this:

  • Offer free swag to anyone who Tweets. Who doesn’t love free stuff? It won’t cost them anything to say something positive on their Twitter feed, and they can walk away with something cool (with your logo/brand on it–more marketing!).
  • Set up a contest. The person who gets the most “Likes” or “Re-Tweets” will win a prize. Competition is always a great way to go!
  • Set a goal. Tell your guests that you will do something special for every Tweet milestone you reach. You can set up the milestone chart in a visible place, and keep it updated to remind your guests of what they’re working toward.

The more your audience participates in your social media campaign, the better and more effective the campaign will be!

Your event is filled with people, the #1 resource to use for social media marketing. Every one of your employees has a social media account, as do your presenters, hosts, and guests. In a room filled with 100 people, you have no fewer than 50 Twitter accounts!

To make the most of this manpower, encourage EVERYONE – even your employees and guests – to Tweet about the event. Have the presenters post updates of the event to their feed, or snap photos with the presenters and share them–together with your event hashtag, of course.

Re-tweet and Reply Back

Every time someone re-Tweets your posts, thank them. It’s a good way to foster goodwill for your company and brand, and it will help you to get more followers. After all, courtesy is a scarce resource in the internet community.

If someone sends you a message, reply back as soon as possible. Stay on top of your Twitter feed, and have a person (or people) in charge of monitoring all of your online activity. They will handle re-Tweeting any interesting posts from the other guests or attendees, and they’ll keep an eye on who is sharing or re-Tweeting your posts, or even sending replies and private messages.

ALWAYS be on top of your social media activity during your events.

Click to Tweet

Learn from a Good Example

LG planned a simple marketing campaign to boost smartphone sales among the 16-24 demographic: set up a stall in a city in the UK, but don’t tell anyone where it is. Instead, they challenged people to find he stall, and the first person to reach the stall would win two tickets to a popular concert.

The hashtag #lgtickethunter was used, and the more times it was Tweeted, the closer the online map zoomed in to the stall’s location.

The campaign managed to get 5,000 Tweets on Day 1, and they reached more than 50,000 by the time it came to an end. Smartphone sales quadrupled in their target demographic thanks to the wicked marketing campaign!

After the Big Event

The event has come and gone, and now it’s time to gauge the success of the event. Hopefully, if all went well, you reached a large audience, rocked the event, and spread the word of your product or service. On to the next project, right?

Wrong! Just because the event is over, that doesn’t mean the work is done. There’s a lot more to do to not only reward those who engaged with you before and during the event, but also to continue the buzz about your event, brand, and company.

Publish Event Highlights

A lot of pretty awesome stuff happened at your event, right? That’s the kind of stuff to share with the world!

  • Tweet all of your favorite images from the event
  • Post any video clips that you filmed during the event
  • Post a recap video of everything that happened and all the fun that was had
  • Tweet a link to the article on your blog recapping the event
  • Send out a “thank you” to everyone who helped with the event
  • Thank any awesome attendees or speakers who made the event great

You can keep the buzz going for days after the event is over, and all you have to do is keep posting material about the event itself. Simple and free marketing!

Re-Tweet Tweets from Attendees

If you encouraged your attendees to Tweet during the event, there are probably dozens or hundreds of Tweets out there that you can “Like” and “Re-Tweet”. Search for them using your hashtag (see, we told you it would come in handy!), and hit the “RT” button to share those Tweets to your own feed.

As your guests are leaving, ask if they would be willing to post one final Tweet to recap the experience. You can then find and re-Tweet those Tweets, giving you simple, personalized testimonials from all of your guests.

The more re-Tweeting, the better!

Re-Tweet Tweets from Attendees

Thanks to your awesome hashtag and the epic event you held, you probably have a host of new followers. Tweet out a link to a survey, and ask all of your attendees to give you feedback on what they thought of the event. It’s a great way to continue the engagement and bring your brand a bit closer to home for all of those who attended.

Twitter Promotion Tips from the Top Event Marketers

Here is what the experts have to say on using Twitter like a rockstar marketer:

Kristi Hinesauthor of Kikolani

“I find it most helpful to add customers to a specific Twitter list. That way it’s easy to follow their conversations, get to know what content they like and engage with them. What a great way to learn more about your customers and build stronger relationships!”

“When you have more images in your tweets, you’ll get more shares and clicks and a 35% bump in retweets.”

Robert Kilonzo marketing specialist Omnistar Interactive
Rachel Sprungproduct marketing associate - HubSpot

“Before you post something on Twitter, think about what will encourage someone to click on a link. First, how can you phrase your tweet to appeal to someone’s curiosity? Second, what word choices will nudge a person’s desire for self-improvement? With these goals in mind, we can then connect our audience to valuable content.”

"One of the best ways to grow your following and increase engagement on social media is to be there consistently. The first step is to put the right systems in place to keep your posts relevant, interesting and valuable for your audience."

John Lee Dumas host and founder of Entrepreneur on Fire

Follow these tips, and you’ll ROCK your Twitter and make the most of a very valuable resource for event marketing!

2. Facebook for Event Promotion

Facebook is, hands down, the largest social media website in the world. It has roughly 1.44 billion active users every month, with more than 1.25 billion using Facebook from their mobile devices. Talk about a resource to use for your marketing!

The problem with so many users is that there are so many users–others like you who want to tap into the marketing potential of Facebook. So how can you make your event stand out on Facebook? Read on to find out the secrets to using Facebook for your events…

Create an Event Registration Page

You’re going to need a registration page where people can sign up to attend your event. But to make your registration page stand out, try this:

  • Use videos to engage people’s interest. Some of the most shared posts of last year (2014) included a video.
  • Use images, but not just the ones that you took. Use your fans’ images, and it will help to expand your storytelling power.
  • Always caption the images and videos. These captions help to engage the readers!
  • Always use your hashtags with the pictures and videos. In fact, scatter hashtags into every post
  • Don’t forget the call to action–sign up, “Like”, etc.

A few good examples of pages that maximize on the visual tactics are:

Threadless — Great use of art and photographs, added functionality, and Instagram app included on the page.

Intrepid Travel — Search trips and reviews from the Facebook page, making it easy for users to find exactly what they want to know.

Nutella – Lots of images and recipes shared, personalized tabs specifically for Nutella lovers, and engaging content.

These sites know how to use the simple Facebook template like pros!

To maximize your event registration page, make sure that you include “Share” buttons near the top of the page. You want people to share news of the event with EVERYONE, so make it easy for them to do so. Facebook offers an “Invite” tab, but you’ll want to add social share buttons for Twitter, Instagram, and all the other networks.

Make sure that you send out an email to all in your address list, and include the link to the Facebook event registration page. That link should also be included in every press release, Tweet (though with a shortened URL), and post on YouTube and Instagram.

Update Your Event Wall and Send Updates

As the event is taking place, keep the photos flowing! Update the photos as soon as you can, and tag all the people in the photos. Those pictures will then be shared to their walls, garnering more attention for your event Page.

After the event is done, post all of the pictures into an album. Send the link to the album to all the attendees so they can browse through and share the pictures.

Prompt Live Check-ins to Events on Facebook

You will send out an invitation to your guests BEFORE the event, but it’s a good idea to have the guests check-in live once they reach the event. It lets their friends and network know what they’re doing, and will generate buzz for your event. It’s quick and easy to do from any smartphone!

Facebook Promotion Tips from Pro Event Marketers

Here are some tips on using Facebook like a pro:

“Twitter is a link economy, whereas Facebook is a picture economy. So just about every status update should include a picture. Ideas for pictures include customers, your product or service in action, employees and events."

"One of the best ways to grow your following and increase engagement on social media is to be there consistently. The first step is to put the right systems in place to keep your posts relevant, interesting and valuable for your audience."

3. LinkedIn for Event Promotion

LinkedIn is marketed as the social media network for professionals, but the truth is that it can be used for more than just hosting a CV. You can tap into it as a tool to promote your event. How can you do that?

LinkedIn once offered an “Event” Page just like Facebook, but unfortunately that is no longer the case. But there are still many ways that you can use LinkedIn to help you market/promote your event:

  • Talk about the event in the Groups – LinkedIn has groups for just about everything! These groups are filled with people who could be interested in your event, so it’s time to post the details of your event to these Groups. Find and join groups relevant to your event, and post there for a few days before adding information about your event. You have to be smart about marketing or promoting yourself in these Groups, as LinkedIn is filled with other people trying to do exactly the same thing.
  • Create your own LinkedIn group about your event, and invite people to it using their email address.
  • Post about the event – Your Status Updates are a great place to post about your upcoming event! Just like your blog posts are published to your LinkedIn feed, you can add an update about the event–including the hashtag and registration page link.
  • Send the details to your network – Take a look at your personal network and see how many of the people you know would be interested in the event. You can create a standard invitation letter and send it out to your contacts one by one. It’s time-consuming, but it can be quite effective!

4. Youtube for Event Promotion

Did you know that YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google? More than 1 billion people use YouTube, and billions of views are generated every day. Harnessing just a few of those people is definitely the way to create buzz for your event.

Develop a YouTube Channel

Well before the date of the event, create a YouTube channel and start posting videos to the channel. Make sure your videos:

  • Tell a story. It’s what engages people!
  • Provides links to your event page and social media sites.
  • Is interesting to those who would view it.
  • Is enjoyable, fun, or funny–the stuff that really gets a lot of views!

You can post videos of your previous events, or “teasers” for the upcoming event.

Share those videos to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds to spread the goodies around all the social networks.

Bonus: Host the video on Vimeo as well as YouTube.

Capture Event on Video

During the event, make sure that there is always someone capturing what is going on. You want to collect as much footage as possible, and then edit that footage into a video to post to your YouTube channel. It will help you to add more valuable content, as well as increase your following for the next event.

Create Videos Around Event Speakers and Sessions

If you’re having a big-name guest coming to the event to speak or give a presentation, create a video about that guest and post it to your channel.

Give some information on who they are, what they are famous for, what they do, and what they are going to speak/present about at your event. Share that video to social media networks, and it will help to spread the word about your event.

5. Utilizing Social Media for Online Registration

Want to drive more people to your event registration page? Here are a few tips to help you maximize your social media use:

1

INCLUDE HASHTAGS AND LINKS IN EVERY EMAIL

In every email sent out about the event, make sure to include both the hashtags and the links. They will serve as a subtle reminder, and they can help your guests stay connected via social media.

2

EMBED A MESSAGE TO RE-TWEET OR SHARE

Want to encourage your contacts and attendees to post about the event? Embed a short 140-character message in the registration page, and ask the attendees to share or re-Tweet that message. It will take them no more than a minute, and it’s free promotion for you!

3

USE THE FAQs

If people have questions about the registration process, use your social media networks to answer those questions. It will help people navigate the process of registering, and will make it much easier for those interested in signing up.

Dreamforce Event, FAQ page

4

HAVE A CONFIRMATION SCREEN

Once your guests have confirmed that they are attending, lead them to a confirmation screen that encourages them to share that conformation to their social media pages.

5

OFFER BONUSES FOR SHARING

Set up a raffle and tell your attendees “Share the event notification and receive a chance to win X awesome prize”. It’s a great way to encourage sharing!

6

USE FOURSQUARE FOR CHECK-INS

If you want to spread word of your event, set up FourSquare for the big day. Ask your guests to check in as they arrive, and the notification will be sent to their contacts.

Some of the event registration tools we recommend:

Download our FREE Event Promotion Checklist!

Here is a checklist for you to be used for promoting both small and large events using social media. This, of course, can be adjusted according to which social media channels that are mostly used in your location.

Conclusion

Social media marketing and promotion is all about engaging with your audience. The more value you can offer them, the more likely they will be to share what you are offering with others.

Be smart with your event marketing, and you will find that the “free” tools of social media will offer you some amazing dividends!