Being able to link the online and offline worlds is a complex challenge. It was only less than a year ago that Amazon managed to make the leap with its first book shop and only in the last couple of months that it has branches out with food.
But one area where people have been successfully moving traffic from online to offline is the promotion of events. The internet, and more specifically social media, has allowed like-minded people to meet up virtually and want to meet up in the real world. But what should you look for when promoting an event on social media?
Create a Hashtag and Use It Everywhere: You should spend some time working out the best hashtag to use. It needs to be original, snappy and not invite the ‘wrong’ type of engagement. The internet is littered with examples of poor hashtags (Susan Boyle anyone?) or hashtags that have been predictably hijacked (#AskStevieG is a particular favourite). Once created, use it in every related post – and use it on all offline material too, people will be able to make the connection.
Engage Stakeholders: Every event has a wide number of stakeholders and you should encourage them all to do their bit in promoting the event. Suppliers, speakers, hosts and influencers will all have presences on social media and if they have a vested interest in the success of the event, this will boost the amount of ‘earned’ media that your event receives.
Before, During, After: There should be three phases to your event promotion:
- Before: Here you are trying to generate interest in the event, so you should be teasing what people can expect, advertising the speakers and content of the event and offering a behind the scenes look at the planning for the event
- During: At the event, live posting can engage people who are not able to physically attend the event, but that is only the start. You should consider live streaming from the event – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are encouraging people to do this and while the technology is still fairly new, initial results look very promising
- After: All of the photos, video and other content that you gather on the day can only be used after the event. So make sure that people know where they need to go to get even more content
Should I Pay? Well, that kind of depends! If you have a large social media following which contains the people who you want to engage with, there is an argument to say that you shouldn’t pay – but to gain some cut through to your message, a little spend wouldn’t go amiss. If your audience are not engaging with you yet, you can advertise on social media and define that audience yourself: a nice way of making sure you are speaking to the audience you want.
Hope these tips have helped – if I have missed your favourite, leave a comment and let me know.
Happy New Year!