How do you use social media to promote your event and reach your target audience?

How do you use social media to promote your event and reach your target audience?
They might look a little different these days, but events are back. Whether live, virtual, or a combination of the two, you and your client still have the same goals and that is to have a well attended, successful event. Keep reading for insight and strategies for promoting your event on social media.

One way to ensure your post gets a much wider reach is to tag all of your speakers, sponsors, ambassadors and stakeholders in every post you make.

As I outline in depth in step 7 of my masterclass, getting people excited about the event and its programming is key to selling tickets AND driving engagement on site whether your event is virtual or in-person.

If your social feed is anything like mine right now, every other post is sponsored, which is why I recommend getting creative with traditional organic reach rather than spending marketing dollars on sponsored posts that will get lost in a sea of paid digital noise.

Here are 8 tips and tricks to get the biggest bang for your buck with social media event promotion.

  1. Select your channels thoughtfully. Not all social media platforms are relevant for every event. If your target audience doesn’t use one (or more) of them, don’t waste time creating content for it.

  2. Make it easy! No one is going to care about your event as much as you do. If you want anyone (i.e. employees, speakers, etc) to help you spread the word, you must provide them with everything they need for posting to be as simple as downloading, uploading, copying and pasting.

  3. Consistency is key. Pre-plan your posts. A simple way to do this is to assign a theme to each day and then populate from there. Speaker, sponsor and session/track spotlights; key event features, social programming, registration phases, attendee competitions and destination focused posts can get your ball rolling.

  4. Get (contractual) buy-in from speakers. Add a set number of promotional posts required by the speaker/sponsor into those agreements and then provide them with kits containing digital assets highlighting their involvement and sample messaging.

  5. Social media takeovers. You might not be able to control external stakeholders, but you can flood social channels by driving company-wide employee engagement. Select a small number of key announcements and encourage [read: require] all employees to post or reshare the announcement on the same day. This is a surefire way to grab attention.

  6. Use tags and relevant hashtags. One way to ensure your post gets a much wider reach is to tag all of your speakers, sponsors, ambassadors and stakeholders in every post you make. Depending on the platform, this will help their followers see your post and encourage interaction by way of likes and comments.

  7. Collaborate with your community. Make a list of all relevant community, industry and corporate groups that have a large following OR key influence over your target audience. Reach out with a thoughtful way stating how you can provide value to their audience in exchange for promotional posts about your event.

  8. Have fun! As long as you stay on brand, push boundaries and create FOMO with quirky content and funky graphics. Safe marketing has never sold out an event.

Melissa Park

Global Event Producer

Choose the best platform to fit your event’s target audience.

Social media is a great tool that really helps to build excitement for your event, improve participation, and boost engagement. Here are three ways to use social media for marketing your event and achieving your sales goals.

1) Start as early as possible. It’s never too early to start promoting your event. The more often your audience sees these promotions, the more it will be etched into their memory and create a level of curiosity and build interest. I usually start promoting an event a year to at least 6 months in advance. If it’s an annual event, at the end of the event I’ll start promoting the next year’s date while people are excited, and their experiences of the current event is fresh. I usually start with light advertising once a week or once every two weeks, in the early stages. As we get closer to the event date, our social media post promotions start getting more frequent at least 5 times a week across multiple platforms. Starting early will also help to create an algorithm for the event which helps greatly with knowing what’s working and what’s not.

2) Choose your social media platforms wisely before you start investing in promotional ads on any social media platform. Choose the best platform to fit your event’s target audience. Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Facebook, all have very different audiences. Do your research. Who you are trying to reach will be the deciding factor on which platform will work best to produce the best sales results. Research also helps you to know what to create, how to present your promotional visuals and write your copy to produce relevant interest for your event.

3) Lastly, create an event posting calendar that plans out all the different posts and strategies you will create and use before, during & after your event. Include in your posts the event’s agenda, speakers, sponsorship & partnerships, and relevant industry fun facts. Include visually appealing photos and highlight videos. Schedule post updates and promotional offers, giveaways, and contests to get people excited and keep them engaged.

Carline Beaubrun

Carline Beaubrun

Creative Director

Events By Carline, Garden City, NY

High quality content takes time to create and perfect, and the best content for your social media depends on your target audience.

Social media is a powerful tool, and when used correctly, it can elevate your business. As social media grows, so do its nuances. Algorithms and user bases change over time, so it is vital for a business to understand how they work to best capitalize on them. By optimizing your social media accounts with a killer social media plan, your business can reach its target audience.

Quality Content
At the foundation of your social media presence should be the best possible content. High quality content takes time to create and perfect, and the best content for your social media depends on your target audience.

Any written content should have exciting language that intrigues your audience and invites them to read more and more. It should be free of spelling and grammar errors, and depending on the platform, include relevant hashtags and emojis. Photo and video content should have crisp visual quality and comprehensible audio. Your content should be representative of your company values and act as an extension of your brand. Utilizing alt text and closed captions makes your content more accessible.

Creating a Plan
Social media plans are the new marketing plans, and they are just as important as a business plan. Social media plans can include content and captions, posting schedules, engagement insights, graphic materials, and layout plans. Since social media is nuanced, it might take trial and error and comprehensive research to determine ideal content, hashtags and posting times for your target audience.

Social media plans should include sections for each platform your company plans to utilize. Each platform behaves differently, and it is important to account for these differences.

Engagement insights are usually offered inside the platform to any account that identifies as a business, and these insights are a great way to determine the success of your content and audience patterns.

By posting consistent, high-quality content that is customized to the platform and your audience, your content will gain attention. With more attention comes more followers, higher engagement, and a higher chance to go viral online.

Virality
Content goes viral by garnering a lot of online attention and social media engagement (views, likes, comments, shares, etc.) in a relatively short period of time. Engagement on a viral post is exponentially higher than your average post, and typically not every post is guaranteed to go viral.

Virality looks different on each social media platform and can be achieved differently. Certain social networks are designed to make content spread incredibly quickly and reach large audiences because of their in-app sharing and discovery features.

Social media posts can go viral for various reasons, and the one posting is not always completely in control. By creating high quality content, posting consistently, and tailoring your posts to your target audience, you will indubitably gain traction, but virality is not guaranteed. Virality can happen by following popular trends, sharing an emotional story, or gaining the attention of another user with a large following.

The concept of going viral isn’t a relatively new concept. Before social media was well-recognized, anything could go viral online or through traditional news outlets (if a story picks up enough traction, larger news sources can report on it). Going viral is becoming more common, thanks to social media.

Entertaining Advertising
The line between entertainment and advertisement has always been blurred, but with social media, the line almost vanishes. Notable large brands are utilizing social media to spread awareness about their brand. Using humor and creativity, social media content can become more of an entertaining spectacle rather than an annoying advertisement.

Social media was originally intended for people to connect and companies to advertise, but now that companies can create accounts and behave like a consumer, those companies now have a new level of personability. With the rise of ad-blockers and payment options to hide ads, it is clear consumers do not like to be advertised to. Social media has bred a whole new way to advertise in a way that keeps consumers entertained and eliminates a company’s need to pay for advertising.

Cassie Harris

Cassie Harris

Event Coodinator | Social Media Manager

Innovative Party Planners, Baltimore, MD

I believe the use of video, stories, REELS and You Tube videos will help improve engagement with prospective clients more so than pictures alone.

I use various social media platforms: Facebook and Instagram.   I create short clip videos to use in Stories a week before event.  The day of event, I like to record behind the scenes video clips, before and after photos which I can share with perspective clients, and video clips of the different scenes of a wedding (ceremony, cocktail hour and reception).

After events, I use a variety of videos with photos on my business page, and to use as a promotion to my target audience.

I believe the use of video, stories, REELS and You Tube videos will help improve engagement with prospective clients more so than pictures alone.  Our cell phones are the best tool in capturing many important details during the planning process and during the event. Social media platforms give us the best value in our marketing efforts.

Abigail Vasquez Bruton

Director of Creative Experiences

Signature Events by Abby, Palm Beach, FL

People engage in the spaces they feel more comfortable, so showing up in the locations that you are choosing to be available works to your advantage.

Social media is very important when promoting events. In a time where there is so much capturing our attention, ensuring that promotions are going out on all social media channels that you choose to be present on is particularly important.

People engage in the spaces they feel more comfortable, so showing up in the locations that you are choosing to be available works to your advantage. It helps you get eyes on your event, and get your target audience excited so that they look forward engaging with you.

Naomi Tucker

Founder

Planners On Purpose, Appleton, WI

Our favorite way to promote an upcoming event to our target audience is to use hashtags!

Our favorite way to promote an upcoming event to our target audience is to use hashtags! No matter how great your content is, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t find your audience, so use hashtags to your benefit and find specific hashtags that fit the audience you are trying to reach.

Audra Homandberg

Audra Homandberg

Founder

Digitally Audacious, Washington, D.C.

The power of social media is endless when it comes to building awareness and reaching a broad audience...

We start by building a communications strategy to define the event purpose and identify the right channels to promote the event. For many of our events, we use email marketing and social media to build excitement through shareable videos, relevant content, and simple visuals, which create engagement opportunities for us and the attendees.

We also believe in leveraging partnerships and guest speakers to promote our events through their network. As well, the power of social media is endless when it comes to building awareness and reaching a broad audience, especially when focused on creating meaningful content.

Juliane Farinazzo

Juliane Farinazzo

Co-Founder | Event Strategist

Events By Bijou, Calgary, AB, Canada

We leverage industry influencers to share details of the event with their networks to expand our reach and increase registration.

We use social media as part of our event promotions strategy in a few different ways. First, where it makes sense, we use paid ads / promoted posts.

Secondly, we leverage industry influencers to share details of the event with their networks to expand our reach and increase registration. Additionally, we make sure to engage our speakers, emcees, and other invited guests to promote the event within their networks, to enhance the events credibility, visibility, and value-proposition.

Finally, we encourage event attendees to engage on social media pre-event, onsite, and post-event to create buzz and FOMO (fear of missing out) to encourage other likeminded individuals to attend the event now, or in the future.

Carly Silberstein

Carly Silberstein

CEO

Redstone Agency, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In addition to all of the usual social media platforms for promoting an event, I have found that placing a short duration ad on Facebook gets a lot of notice.

In addition to all of the usual social media platforms for promoting an event, I have found that placing a short duration ad on Facebook gets a lot of notice.  For a minimal amount of money, you can target a very specific target audience for the ad, such as ’newly engaged’, ‘upcoming winter wedding’, and so on.  I have found an increased amount of click-throughs utilizing this promotional technique.

Rene Kraus

Owner/Chief Event Officer

Agnes Verano Weddings & Events, Big Sky, Montana

I'm seeing my clients use "affiliates" to help to spread the word about their event through various social media platforms.

I’m seeing my clients use “affiliates” to help to spread the word about their event through various social media platforms. This works really well when you have good content, clear instructions and a landing page for people to visit and purchase.

There also needs to be consistency in promoting. One cannot post once a week and expect a great response in sales. The posts need to come regularly with a call to action. Regularly in my mind is daily in the mix with other posts. I don’t think it’s wise for someone to post the same post every day about their upcoming event – that gets old. The content should be mixed up with details about the event, the location, the people involved, the speakers, the giveaways, previous year pictures and content and testimonials. That content can also be switched up with regular content from that business too.
Covesa Gragg

Covesa Gragg

Founder and CEO

Covesa Kelly Events, Cleveland, OH

Having the ability to leverage and emphasize the visual elements of an event and its key highlights, I find Instagram one of the best social media platforms to engage and entice the audience.

Having the ability to leverage and emphasize the visual elements of an event and its key highlights, I find Instagram one of the best social media platforms to engage and entice the audience. But with Instagram constantly updating algorithms, there has to be a multi touchpoint campaign that includes a combination of scheduled Reels, Stories, Posts and Swipe-ups combined with keynote/talent endorsements, sponsor/partner cross promotion and often paid ads to ensure the registration conversion is achieved.

It is also knowing your demographic. If a majority of your target audience is on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, the Instagram campaign content will also need to be layered throughout those platforms consistently, but without spamming to ensure you have maximized the exposure and desire to attend without appearing frantic.

Christy Bareijsza

Christy Bareijsza

Creative Director

Events By Red Carpet, New York City, NY