Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Anabelle – a content strategist at North Studio, a Victoria-based digital firm. She uses blogging and social media like it’s her job. (Well, actually, it kind of is.)
Last year, I was involved in an event called Twestival. I was the official blogger. My role was to try to drum up interest by writing interesting content about the team, the sponsors and our chosen charity.
I worked hard, but I have to be honest: it’s the social media efforts, on Facebook and Twitter, that really made a difference. Our event was sold out. We had one of the highest donation-per-capita ratio in the world.
During these frenzied months, I learned a lot about the power of social media as a catalyst to bring people together for a live event. Here are 3 thing you can apply to your own event to increase awareness and ticket sales.
Have a hashtag
If you’re going to promote your event on social media, have a hashtag ready. The hashtag serves 2 purposes:
It identifies your event with a unique, social media-ready name
It enables people to follow your event before, during and after
However, a hashtag will be useless if nobody knows it exists. Put in on your event website. Use it with every tweet you post. Let participants know about it and encourage them to tweet with it at different points of the process—when they register, during the days leading up to the event and at the event itself.
Throw a social media contest
Another way to promote your hashtag is to link it to a contest. It can be free tickets, swag, a private meeting with one of your stars… anything that supports interest in your event. Make using the hashtag (and following your account) a condition for entering the contest.
I’ve seen this technique work successfully for a lot of events. Combining a hashtag with a contest can quickly raise your social media profile, especially if your audience is tightly knit and highly engaged.
Connect with influencers
The last tip I have for you is this: connect with influencers. A well-timed and well-placed post from a popular blogger can turn a failing event into an amazing success. Find out who’s who in your event location, connect with them with a personal touch (always essential—never use mass emails to connect with bloggers) and convince them that knowing about your event is going to benefit their audience.
And you don’t have to stop there: stack your influencer approach with your contest and hashtag. A lot of bloggers will be more likely to help you if you provide a pair of free tickets or other swag for their readers. Think of it as a win-win: it helps them increase their readership and it helps you raise awareness about your event.
Social media is powerful—when done right
Lots of people are scared of social media. Too noisy, too time-consuming, “it’s just people posting pictures of their food”. Although there’s a kernel of truth to this, social media has proven to be extremely resilient in the face of criticism.
In other words, everyone ends up using it anyway, because everyone else is on it.
Ignoring social media might not hurt your event, but using it will definitely help. Don’t be afraid of jumping in; you’ll learn to swim really fast, I promise.