Social Media Marketing Guide For Event Businesses
We’ve all heard the wonderful benefits of marketing your business on social media. Not only does it increase brand awareness but it can also drive quality traffic to your website and help you build stronger relationships with your audience.
According to Pew Research Center, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they ever use any kind of social media site – a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. When Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, just 5% of American adults used at least one of these platforms. By 2011 that share had risen to half of all Americans, and today 72% of the public uses some type of social media.
Although social media marketing seems to have all the bells and whistles to grow your business, most event businesses don’t really know what they are getting into once they enter the world of social media.
Does this sound familiar? If so, we are here to help you out with this complete guide to social media marketing for event businesses.
Getting Started With Social Media
Pick your platforms:
Today, there is an abundance of social media platforms popping up almost daily. However, that does not always mean your business should jump right away into every platform possible.
As a newbie to social media, it’s best to start small and master one platform at a time before you expand your online presence. At a basic level, the six platforms you can master are:
Do Your Research:
Once you select the two or three platforms that you would like to try, it’s time to do some research. See if your target audience us currently using those platforms, pay attention to the types of content they are sharing and engaging with, etc.
Set Up Your Profiles:
Once you feel confident that you have chosen the best social media networks for your company, it’s time to set up your profiles.
Setting up your social media profiles can be considered the prep work for optimizing your business.
Your social media networks should be given the same amount of love and effort as your website and printed materials. Make sure to include a recognizable profile photo such as your business logo and complete your “about” sections in their entirety as well as remembering to include:
- Brief Company Description
- Phone numbers
- Office locations
- Hours of operation
- Website links (use a platform like Linktree)
Whether it’s a blog post, a press release, a new update to your business or a behind-the-scenes peek at a new project, it can be shared on your social media networks.
Keep these ideas in mind when participating in social media:
Provide value – this is where your audience research comes into play. You want to provide your audience with valuable content that they want to read, so make sure every piece of content you share can provide value or a solution to your audience.
Stay consistent – this will make or break your social media marketing. Social media is not something you can just set up and walk away from. Social media is still your online presence; so don’t let it go stale!
Your social media success will not happen overnight. It takes a long time to build up quality followers and real engagements. It may become discouraging when your favorite piece of content isn’t getting any reactions but don’t give up! If you stay consistent, the results will follow!
Social Media Strategy: It’s More Than Just Posting
It’s simply not enough to just have social media accounts created. It’s also not enough to randomly share images and articles here and there.
Your social media strategy MUST also include the monitoring of your accounts and their engagement.
Giving your social media accounts a little more attention on a daily basis will help your event business tremendously once you know exactly what to look for each day.
Let’s Start With Notifications
If you are using social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you should be receiving notifications. If you aren’t receiving notifications, go into each of your social media account’s settings and turn those notifications ON.
Notifications will alert you to a number of important things such as when you get a new follower, pin, like, and share.
It’s critical to pay attention to all notifications for many reasons.
Likes: Some posts may receive more likes than others. Give it some thought – why did one post do better than the others? What did people like more about it? Was it simply the time of day that you shared it or was it about the content? The answers to these questions will help you to better curate content in the future.
Comments: You want to be reading all comments that are received on your posts. Not only should you be aware of what people are saying (and asking), you want to engage and respond. Responding to your comments in a timely fashion creates a reputation of being personable, professional, and engaged with your community.
Followers: Pay attention to who follows you as you may want to follow them back. You want to create a social media feed for yourself involving relevant industry content while also providing you with a sense of community amongst your fellow vendors.
Shares: It’s important to know when another account shares your content. You want to be able to thank them for sharing and then pay attention to their content in the future as you may wish to reciprocate the sharing gesture. Your followers and community like to see you sharing other relevant content, not just promoting your own.
Often neglected are direct messages which are sent to you privately within your social media accounts. Maybe you were tagged in an Instagram story or someone has sent you a private message on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
You would be surprised by how many people are reaching out with service questions, product inquires and possible order placement via direct message! Check for these messages a few times a day to ensure you are seeing all possible communication. You don’t want to miss a business opportunity!
Don’t Forget To Engage
Your social media strategy should involve more than just sharing your own content. As stated above, it’s crucial to follow other event professionals and engage in their content too. Like, comment, and share their content while remembering to tag the vendors who worked with you in your posts as well.
Is Your Social Media Inclusive?
Promoting your event business by taking an inclusive approach to language, images and content allows you to demonstrate your openness, and attract all of the couples with whom you want to work.
Understand the Lingo
Before you publish word one, make sure you are familiar with inclusive language. Use wedding party in place of “bridal” party, wedding suite instead of “bridal suite,” and to-be-weds, nearlyweds or soonlyweds as opposed to brides and grooms. Your choice of words is one of the first impressions you will make on prospective clients, so choose wisely.
Also, ensure that couples feel welcome when they visit your social media pages and website. Let them see other couples who look like them. Feature photos from your LGBTQ-friendly inspiration shoots and real weddings throughout your content.
Each of the major social media platforms has a unique personality, and it’s important to know how to use each one to reach your audience. Facebook has become the go-to platform for sharing information, even if it’s not exclusively yours. It is a great place to post articles relevant to your community, polls, memes, photos and observations.
If you’re trying to appeal to the same-sex wedding community, share real wedding images of LGBTQ weddings, upcoming events geared towards same-sex couples, articles discussing the ever-transforming etiquette or weddings and trend forecasts that include all kinds of couples. Your followers will begin to see you as a source for information they want and need, and your popularity will grow organically.
A Facebook Caution
Content management is constantly evolving on all major social media sites, but nowhere more than on Facebook these days. What was once an almost purely popularity-driven platform is now extremely “pay-to-play,” and even if you are popular today, you can pretty easily fall off the Facebook planet, due to new algorithms and rules overnight. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – diversify your inclusive social media effort and build a following on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter as well.
Instagram and Hashtags:
Instagram has taken over the wedding marketing universe, and LGBTQ couples are searching it for images and related services. While normally Brittny Drye, founder, and editor-in-chief of Love Inc would advise against using tokenizing terms like “LGBTQ Wedding” or “Gay Wedding” in a regular setting, on Insta, these hashtags are among the most highly searched by LGBTQ couples, so it makes sense to include them in your posts. If you’re trying out other hashtags to use in your photos, research to find ones that are relevant to your content and have 2,000 – 1,000,000 uses. You can also create and popularize your own with your company name.
Social Media Marketing For Events
In order to succeed, it is basically now mandatory in today’s world that your professional event management strategy includes the use of social media.
Social media has become a standard promotional mechanism for all vendors within the event industry. Every post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook as well as other platforms will promote business and generate data that both marketers and planners can use to better understand and improve the guest experience.
We put together these 4 easy ways to include social media into your professional event management strategy for your next event.
The social media world LOVES hashtags. Whether it’s to increase engagement and visibility on a post, attract new followers, or help others keep up with what’s going on at an event, there’s a hashtag for everything!
Similar to the trend of utilizing a wedding hashtag, the professional event management benefits of leveraging a branded hashtag encourages attendees to post photos or content on their social media channels and allows you to keep up with what’s being said, posted, and shared about your brand and event. A branded hashtag can also be used as a general professional event management marketing tactic to increase brand awareness and provide you with valuable feedback regarding your business.
Photo “Booth” & Props
A photo booth option provides your guests an easy (and fun!) way to post about your event on social media.
There are several types of photo booth varieties trending right now which are can be implemented at events! It’s not even necessary to spend a great deal of money renting a photo booth. A simple yet decorative backdrop with enticing props (consider sunglasses, boas, and fun costume jewelry) can bring guests together while spreading brand awareness.
Host A Giveaway
Who doesn’t love winning prizes? Hosting a giveaway either before or during the event can actually help promote your event without doing any work. For a pre-event social media giveaway, consider asking users to share, like, or comment on a specific post or invite others to the event. The user with the most interactions wins. Another great idea is to ask your attendees to “check-in” at the event, accompanied by your branded hashtag, and a user-chosen at random will receive a special offer.
T-shirts, sunglasses, flash drives, water bottles, bags, etc. water jugs, can all be branded (remember your hashtag here!) and given away at your events. Including a social media handle on the swag will continue to promote your business and event, while encouraging brand awareness. It may also encourage people to post an image of the swag on social media to tell everyone how awesome your company is!
Use Instagram To Your Advantage
Instagram Stories and Highlights are the fastest way to use the platform to increase brand awareness and showcase your events. Stories offer a real-time glimpses into your business and events, lasting for 24 hours once posted within the stories feature. Instagram Highlights then allow you to save and group selected content from Stories that then remain on your profile until deleted.
Both Instagram Stories and Highlights are great ways to connect with your followers, show your events and work, and extend the message beyond a single image.
To build your brand, develop trust, and lead people to your website, use Instagram Stories to do the following:
- Show Your Creative Process – One of the biggest ways to build trust is to take viewers behind the scenes of your workplace. Through Instagram stories, showcase various elements of an event during the planning process and then show the finished product.
- Take Viewers To The Party – Everyone likes a good party! Event professionals are using Instagram Stories to show the event from start to finish. This gives followers a Front Row seat to events they would never see such as how Geller Events (@gellerevents) turned this uber-fancy Beverly Hills restaurant into a seaside themed event. Photos can be raw and from set up. Stickers, captions and tags can be fun and light. Keep the money shots for your curated feed.
- Drive Traffic to Your Site – The “Swipe Up” feature which takes your followers to a specific page on your website is the greatest tool for marketing. Because, ultimately, driving traffic to our websites is what it’s all about! In this case, Images by Lighting used a trending HBO show and just one photo of the event in its Stories to entice followers to swipe up for more.
How To Best Outsource Social Media
Social media marketing is hard and it takes time. Throw in new and ever-changing social media platforms and it’s very tempting to hand your advertising entirely over to someone else. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and other online agencies make it cheap and easy to find independent contractors, VA’s, and freelancers whose job it is to know the overall landscape of social media.
Or maybe you are feeling like you don’t “get” Instagram or Snapchat or even Facebook, but you know your 18-year-old niece or your youngest team member are absolutely addicted to it so it makes sense to ask them to jump in and take over.
When outsourcing social media, it’s important to remember that it’s your job to be the guardian of your own brand and messaging. No one can care about your business as much as you do.
Many business owners mistakenly think that if someone knows how to use the platform or app, that’s good enough. Your niece or your freelancer might know Instagram or Facebook inside out, but what they don’t know are your business model and your specific audience. It’s your job to fill them in and work together in a joint effort if you want your social media to take off.
It’s also crucial to remember that the platform is only a vehicle for the message, and without compelling messaging, that attracts your ideal client, your marketing will always fail.
So what’s the solution to both attracting the clients you want while allowing yourself the leeway to outsource your advertising to someone with general social media savvy? According to Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, there are three essential parts to clarifying your brand and directing your marketing:
Know your Ideal Client Avatar (AKA market persona)
This is the client you’re trying to attract – the ideal person who will always want your brand or service and is seeking you out specifically for what you offer. She has specific dreams and challenges as well as lifestyle preferences. Take some time to think deeply about these things so you can meet her where she is at with your messaging.
These are the larger concepts you want your brand to be associated with. Brand adjectives can drive both the visual appeal of your brand as well as your brand voice. For example, if one of your brand adjectives is “elegant”, you may think twice about posting street tacos for Taco Tuesday, or tossing out a swear word or two in your copy. However, if your brand adjectives are “laid-back” and “sassy”, Taco Tuesday and some light cussing could attract your perfect client.
Core Content Categories
These are five or six categories that you talk about consistently to let your ideal client know you understand her and can help her. Let’s say your ICA wants a small, intimate wedding with 30 or so guests where the culinary experience leaves them gushing about her delicious menu for years. You know she’s a foodie and world traveler and values good manners that put people at ease rather than forcing formality on them. Some of your core content categories may be:
- Foodie delights curated from gourmet websites and blogs.
- Real weddings that showcase food and drink.
- Real weddings that showcase details that are sophisticated and worldly.
- Small weddings with a focus on guest experience, especially as it applies to food and drink.
The brand voice would be friendly, like a guide on the side, but also polite and well-mannered; think full sentences, proper punctuation, and limited emojis or exclamation points.
Now that you can see her in your mind’s eye, you can create a brand-brief document (which marketing agencies use all the time) and train your team, be it your niece or a dozen contractors in an advertising agency.