Marketing an Event on Social Media: The Before, During & After

When marketing a particular event on social media you need to think ahead. The better you plan, the more time you will save. There are three stages to planning social media to advertise an event, the before, during and after:

Before
The first thing you need to do is choose which social media platforms you will use. This will change depending on the nature of the event. For instance: A youth event may be best advertised using Twitter and Instagram, whilst a family event may work best on Facebook.

Secondly, you need to decide on a hashtag to use. You can use hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This will not only connect all event posts together but will also let other people use it to talk about the event.
Choose a hashtag that is short and easy to remember. Don’t forget to also check that that hashtag isn’t already in use by another organisation as tweets about two different events with the same hashtag will be confusing.

Also – add your hashtag to any design or promotional material so people can be aware of it and be encouraged to use it.

The third part to planning ahead is letting people know it’s happening!
There are many ways you can do this but images will always work best. Design graphics that can be shared easily through social media, keeping to the same colours and branding throughout so that people will quickly connect the graphics to the event. (See my post on resources for designing easy graphics)

Schedule posts regularly leading up to the event on different days and at different times of days to catch different audiences. Work out the earliest date you should be posting and work forward from there. At the beginning, the posts should be more spaced out and as the event gets closer the frequency of posts should increase. For instance: Three months before, two months before, a month before, two-four times a week, every day.

Ideas for things to post:

  • Countdown reminders (Five days to go! Two days to go!)
  • Invitation/Save the date graphics
  • Regular links to your website page or Eventbrite page which has all your event information on it
  • Photos of people planning, getting things ready, setting up the event space
  • Reminders of the hashtag
  • Teasers of what will happen at the event
  • Photos/videos from previous events
  • Videos/messages from people saying what they are looking forward to

During
This is the bit you can’t schedule – but you can still plan ahead.
Typically Twitter is best for sharing regular, live updates. Twitter has a reputation for being the place for live events because of its nature of short, quick posts.

Think about the kinds of things people will be interested in seeing and knowing about. Making a list of all the things to keep an eye out for will keep you focused. Depending on the event it may be photos of people arriving, quotes from a talk/speech or video of people dancing.

Keep an eye on other people talking about the event and share their posts too. You may find that the more you retweet other people, the more they’ll tweet about it. Don’t forget to give people reminders about the hashtag at the event too.

If it’s a conference, why not use a site like Twitterfall which will show a constantly updating wall of tweets from a particular user or hashtag. You can have these showing on a screen to one side so people can see tweets from those attending and using the chosen hashtag. People enjoy spotting their own tweets (though this can be distracting sometimes!)

After
There are still things to be sharing after the event. This could be a selection of the best photos or an edited video from the event. This a great way of sharing what you got up to for the people who couldn’t make it, while also advertising any future events that may be happening. You can even share the next date if you’ve planned ahead.

Another way to look back on the event is to ‘Storify’ it.
Storify is a way of bringing together social media posts into a story of events. You can pull together Tweets, Facebook posts, Youtube videos and more into a timeline of your choosing. It’s a great way of sharing your social media in a easy to follow narrative.

Finally, keep an eye for people Tweeting any comments after the event. Retweet any of the positive messages and thank people for their comments.

Got any more tips or questions? Let me know in the comments.
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