It’s a lot of work to produce a successful event. Plan out your online marketing just like you would the event.
- Editorial Calendar. Work backwards from the date of the event and add the platforms you want to post to and applicable content: sponsor mentions, save the dates, registration, why you are holding the event, behind-the-scenes. Don’t forget your content for AFTER the event takes place too!
- Event Sign-Up. I like using Constant Contact for events. People can pay online, you automatically collect emails, can send reminders to attendees, create attendee lists and capture additional information that might come in handy. You can even sell add-on items like shirts and stickers. It also creates a unique URL that you can use across social platforms.
- Shareable Image(s). Depending on the platform, you may need to adjust the size of the image. Limit the amount of text on your image as platforms like Facebook only allow text if you plan to run an ad or boost a post. Think about what colors or images would show up well in the news feeds and what types of images are more likely to be shared.
- Hashtags. Not only should you create a unique hashtag for your event so the social media savvy can interact, but also include location and topic hashtags. i.e. #Denver #Autism
- Blog About It. This blog should be the source for all of the event information, especially since you should limit text in your social posts. You can use this unique link to drive traffic to your website. You can update this blog as often as needed with new content.
- Email. Keep it short and sweet and link back to the blog for full details on the event. Don’t forget to include a donation button and/or sponsor sign-up.
- Social Sharing. Each social platform can create some unique possibilities for getting the word out about your event. They also serve as a great way to mention sponsors, venues, entertainers, and volunteers.
Facebook – Create an event, post to the event, and share it. Others will see when someone clicks Yes to attending, attendees will get an email when you post to the event, and you should encourage people to RSVP. Also consider boosting these posts or creating an ad directed to your target market, this will help your event get seen by more people. Don’t forget to link back to your blog, hashtags, and @mention sponsors in the text too. Encourage ownership and sharing by adding more than one event admin.
Twitter – YouTube videos and Twitter images are automatically shown in the feed. Don’t forget your hashtags, sponsor mentions and linking back to your blog. Check your hashtags often so you can engage in the conversations. You can also post multiple images at once and tag Twitter accounts!
YouTube– Videos are easily shared across many platforms and play with one click inside the platforms, especially LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Don’t forget to include tags and keywords in the description of your video. Link back to that blog!
Pinterest – Create boards that highlight your event. Change the link source to any pins or re-pins to your blog link. Also consider a public board that allows attendees to pin too! Don’t forget your hashtags and keywords in the text of the pin.
LinkedIn – Post teaser details to your personal and company page. Attach that shareable image to stand out in the feed. Be sure to @mention sponsors and post to groups as well. Hashtags are used on LinkedIn again, and you can link to your blog and feed to Twitter.
Instagram – Post images that show the “behind-the-scenes” leading up to the event. Take the opportunity to @mention people and sponsors. Check your hashtag after the event too for more fun images from attendees. Consider one Direct Message to your audience, but just one so you don’t look too spammy! Also, Instagram doesn’t allow links in posts, so leading up to the event, change your www on your profile to the blog link.
During/After the Event: You’ve promoted your heart out! Now keep going.
- collect emails during the event for list building
- take photos during the event and encourage guests to tag themselves
- post live/stream event to add excitement and another change to mention sponsors
- create photo gallery on your website and facebook to link back to
- blog about successes, link to images, thank sponsors
- email thanks with donation and sponsor-sign up for next event
- say thanks via video
The editorial calendar will keep you from being totally overwhelmed, so put the most work into that and everything else will fall into place.