I just finished spearheading the social media for a music festival that Solamar sponsors called Secret Stages, and while it’s still fresh in my brain, I thought this would be a good time to go over the best way to utilize social media to promote a mid-to-large sized event, whether it be a festival, convention or retreat.
Events are a great way to gather a lot of notice from areas of the real world you may not yet have approached, while simultaneously reenforcing your connection with folks who already know you exist. Using social media in the lead-up to and during an event can can increase that effect exponentially. However, handling a number of social networks while making sure the other event logistics also happen smoothly can be a difficult task.
Here are a few tips to make that task more manageable. Follow these few simple pieces of advice, and you’ll be promoting your event in real-time while making sure everything else goes forward without a hitch, no problem!
Don’t Go It Alone
While you should most definitely have one person who is over-all responsible for making sure the social media marketing plan is executed properly, the job is much too big for one person to achieve effectively. One person can only be in one place at a time, and your social media strategy should be attempting to cover as many aspects of your event at the same time as possible. To overcome this problem, choose a few people whom you trust, and give them access to all social networks you plan to use during the event. Make sure they understand what you expect in the way of content, and then let them loose!
Who Should You Choose?
There are more social networks these days than you can shake a stick at, so choosing which ones to focus on during your event can be difficult. That said, there are three services you need to pay attention to if you want to be successful – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can use more if you like, but don’t skip these. All of these networks have large numbers of users, and allow hashtags, photo-uploading and tagging. Being able to tag your attendees and hashtag your events will go a long way towards increasing attendee engagement and the possibility of your posts going viral.
Speaking of #Hashtags
You must choose a hashtag to represent your event, but don’t choose it arbitrarily. Make sure it’s easy to type, unique and not being used somewhere else in the social-verse. Once it’s chosen, make sure you promote it in the weeks leading up to the event, so that your attendees know what it is and are in the habit of using it. Provide incentive for them to use your hashtag. This also increases engagement, while having the added benefit of giving you an easy way to check in on the over-all state of your event.
Automate What You Can
Despite how important it is, you want to minimize how much time you need to spend during the event dealing with social media. If you had to upload a photo to each network separately, it would take forever! That’s why it’s important to automate as much of the process as possible. My personal favorite way to do this is to link my Instagram account to my Twitter and Facebook accounts, and then post the things I want translated across all three networks on instagram. The photos that accompany every Instagram post translate really well across all three networks and are visually engaging. It’s still important to post unique content to each network as well, so people don’t feel like there isn’t a reason to check them all out, but this technique should save you some time. If you are using some alternative networks, check out IFTTT (If This Then That), a service that will let you automate the sharing of content across dozens of available social networks.
There you go! You should be a little bit better prepared to take on the task of handling social media for your event. Here’s hoping your next one is a smashing success.