How to use social media to catapult event marketing

Looking for a way to make your next trade event work harder? Harness the power of social media to engage your audience, while simultaneously reaching those who aren’t attending but may still be interested in your brand. Here are seven simple steps for how you can use social media to catapult your event marketing strategy, scoring extra reach and engagement.

1. Choose your channels carefully

Start by narrowing down which social media channels to focus on. Work out which channels your target audience is most likely to use and engage with. Consider the type of event content you will be sharing too. For example, for interior design events with extravagant stand designs, Instagram might be the best channel for sharing images. Conferences or roundtable events, on the other hand, would be best matched with Twitter for sharing live soundbites and speaker comments. 

2. Start the conversation

Think of your social media channels as a party. To make it a success, you need people to come and join in. When planning your event, come up with a key theme or topic of discussion and use your social channels to invite people to share their view on this, before during and after the event. It’s a great way to position your brand as thought leaders, while subtly promoting your key messages.

3. Own your event hashtag 

Set up a hashtag that’s unique to your event. This will help not only help to spread the word about your event, but will also make it easier for you to track engagement. During the event, make sure you have a dedicated team member monitoring social media to track, log and reshare guests user-generated content featuring your event hashtag too. If it’s not your event, make sure you’re using the official event hashtag. 

4. Create ‘shareable’ content

Remember, above all else, images are crucial in driving engagement. When planning your event, think about what kind of content will be included in the programme to encourage guests to share. Whether it’s investing in an ‘instagrammable’ exhibition stand design, hiring a branded photo booth or setting up a Twitter wall – make sure you’ve planned ahead to encourage ‘user generated’ content with your social media handles and event hashtag clearly signposted.

5. Tag VIPs

If you’re inviting VIP guests, such as industry influencers or journalists, make sure you request their social media handles, so that you can tag them in social media posts to reach their followers too.

6. Go live 

Think beyond the room and ‘go live’ to reach guests who aren’t able to physically attend your event. Live content from the event can be shared via Instagram Stories, Instagram TV, Facebook Stories/Live and/or via livestream platforms. ‘Live tweets’ can also be shared with soundbites from talks posted in real time.

7. Give your audience an incentive for engagement

Competitions or giveaways can also be effective in driving footfall to your event, while also encouraging user-generated content. Think about how the competition could be used to promote your brand message, products and/or services. Remember, the more people engage with your event content, the greater the impact and reach.

If you’d like more advice on planning and executing a successful event strategy, download The B2B Events Guide series here. 

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