marketing

Leveraging your Event with Social Media by Jordan Hefler

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | How to Create a Branded Experience On and Offline | Jordan Hefler

Hi hey hello! This morning I got to give a presentation at the Baton Rouge Events Association about how you can use social media to leverage a branded experience for your event- or any event you’re a part of as an entrepreneur or business owner. I think the presentation went pretty well so I decided to share some of that info with y’all too, cuz why not?!

In a digital and social age, it's more important than ever to properly utilize social media to help plan, market, and execute your event to your target audience. You can use social media to create a branded, engaging, and successful experience for your guests- before, during, and after your event.

There are two ways you can approach these methods- planning your own event vs. leveraging an event you’re involved with.

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

It might sound pretty elementary, but you can totally use social media to help plan, brand, market, execute, cross promote, and leverage your event (and for free! It’s free advertising!)

These methods can be applied for weddings, corporate meetings, conferences, parties, business launches, concerts, festivals, fundraisers, galas, art shows, or even your own kid’s birthday party!

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

SO. How many of y’all have ever gotten on social media to get ideas about how to plan your event? If you thought “no” then you’re wrong because you’re on a blog learning about it right now so HA!!!!

Anyways…searching Pinterest or Instagram to get ideas for what you want your event to be like is super useful. It can help you answer these questions-

  • What is your event? Are there experiential factors you can create at the event that will make the attendees want to post while they are there? (photo booth, curated area, social media wall, etc.) What about your product, service, or venue is “instagrammable?” Social media is just the ancient art of “word of mouth” just online- What will make people want to share and tell their friends?

People love murals, props, neon signs, mylar balloons, signage, cute table details, etc. People WANT to post pictures of themselves or things that they are doing. They want to be seen! AND they want to use special hashtags with their posts- but just make sure you think of something easy for everyone to spell otherwise you won’t be able to find the photos later!

If you’re searching for ideas on Pinterest, there’s no reason why you can’t use photos of your own execution of the idea and re-share it on Pinterest to help the next person who’s searching. It’s a big cycle y’all!

If you’re searching for ideas on Pinterest, there’s no reason why you can’t use photos of your own execution of the idea and re-share it on Pinterest to help the next person who’s searching. It’s a big cycle y’all!

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

Y’all know I am a little nerdy about branding. I mean I have a whole online workshop about it. But I think it’s one of the most important (if not the most important!) aspects to marketing anything successfully! Just like having consistent branding in your business, I am a firm believer that your event should have a brand of its own. Think of the best parties you’ve ever been to- they probably had a pretty baller theme, am I right?

  • What is the vibe of the event? Is there an aesthetic, theme, or persona for the event both on and offline? (Colors, tone of voice, logo, design assets, etc.)

  • Once you have identified your brand, it becomes easier to share/take images that fit that mold. Make your marketing strategy intentional with a branded look!

If you still need help identifying a brand, get inspired with my FREE branding worksheet here!

An example of using consistent branding on and offline- while also utilizing branded hashtags and cross promotion tagging.

An example of using consistent branding on and offline- while also utilizing branded hashtags and cross promotion tagging.

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

Now that you’ve identified what the theme/brand/aesthetic/vibe is going to be, you can use social media to promote those branded assets in a rhythmic way up until the event.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY.

  • You can do wayy more than just saying “get your tickets!” or “see you there!” You don’t have to be so salesy when marketing your event- you basically want to brainwash them into knowing what the post is about without even having to read it (that means you branded it well!)

  • Use social media to promote multiple different aspects of your event or service. For instance, you can spotlight different sponsors or vendors involved, you can spotlight the location, you can spotlight some behind the scenes action of planning the event, you can post about how you came up with the idea, you can post pretty photos that just generally align with the branding even if they’re irrelevant…there are tons of angles you can go at this from!

  • Repost user generated content (UGC) with their permission to help gather content as well as spread the word to new audiences. An example of this is when a conference asked if they could repost one of my photos of an orange New Orleans building with a blue sky- I realized their branding was blue and orange and the event was happening in New Orleans. I immediately thought that was genius because I was then aware of the event and even intrigued to find out more info- now I’ve been attending it for 3 years all because they asked if they could repost a photo of mine! I’d say that’s successful marketing.

  • Using affiliates or sponsored posts with influencers- this is a great way to reach new audiences!

  • Take your prospective attendees behind the scenes of the planning process (Use IG stories/snapchat etc.) Use this to build up anticipation!

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

Alright so your event is here...now it’s time to execute all this hard work! This is when you are realllllly going to want to take lots of photos and have someone running the social media platforms to film stories, document, etc. to let everyone at home know what they’re missing out on. You can literally hire someone to do this, OR you can do it yourself. Just make sure you don’t forget- sometimes when you’re the one running the show you don’t have time and you’re going to definitely want this content for later!

If you’re taking the photos yourself and you don’t know where to start, I’d suggest enrolling in my Mastering iPhoneography workshop series online. It’ll teach you how to create DIY content with your phone!

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people post photos and don’t credit! As a photographer, this could be a make or break situation for me potentially getting hired for another gig- tagging other vendors and crediting them on social media is a huge way to cross promote each other and make it a mutually beneficial experience.

If you’re an event planner and you take a photo of the food spread, tag the caterer AND the venue AND maybe the band playing AND the florist and yaddi yadda. It’s not only polite- it’ll make them see it and probably do the same, which would therefore get your social media platforms in front of other audiences. Here are a few more cross promotion strategies:

Here are some examples of accounts successfully cross promoting with other accounts.

Here are some examples of accounts successfully cross promoting with other accounts.

  • Tag your location with the geo-tags (mixing this up every post is a good way to reach new audiences- city vs. venue, etc.)

  • Respond to comments! This is a PUBLIC way to show your personality. Other people will be reading the comments you respond back with, so use this as an opportunity to really get your name in front of them.

  • Reaching new audiences: engaging with those other people who have liked the other account’s image (IE you and caterer post the same photo and tagged each other- go like everyone’s photos of who liked the caterer’s photo.)

Here’s an example of posting an image with the specific event’s geo-tag, then searching that geo-tag to interact with other posts made at the same location. This is a great way to reach a targeted audience- AKA people who have also attended that event. By engaging with their images, there’s a good probability they’ll click your account and see relevant posts from the event and maybe hire you/follow you/become aware of you/engage with you online.

Here’s an example of posting an image with the specific event’s geo-tag, then searching that geo-tag to interact with other posts made at the same location. This is a great way to reach a targeted audience- AKA people who have also attended that event. By engaging with their images, there’s a good probability they’ll click your account and see relevant posts from the event and maybe hire you/follow you/become aware of you/engage with you online.

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | Jordan Hefler

Sooo the event came and went and it was successful. Don’t let the conversation stop when the event is over! Analyze posts that were made from guests with the hashtag, check the location geo-tag and like everyone’s images who came, comment and message back to people. Use those images/stories others posted to share into your own feed as user generated content to promote it again for next time!

  • Leverage it even further by making a blog post about the event with behind the scenes insight/tips from the whole process with the images you got, and put all of those images on Pinterest. SHARE your experiences, don’t be stingy- this is what people are searching for on Pinterest (you got your ideas from these types of posts, remember?!) In the end, people who are searching for that topic will see you as the authority on the subject and therefore engage with your content or maybe even hire you for their next need. Did I hack your mind yet because that’s exactly what I’m doing with this blog post as we speak!

If you’re looking to dive even deeper into these subjects, consider enrolling in my Do What You Want Workshops! Click below for more info.

Leveraging your Event with Social Media | How to Create a Branded Experience On and Offline | Jordan Hefler

5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field by Jordan Hefler

5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler

So it's no secret that I am a very social person... I LIVE for networking events, conferences, ice breakers, meet-ups, etc. (I'm a sorority girl, DUH!) Especially since I am a creative that works from home- I totally crave the comradery that used to be taken for granted when I was in school. 

Something I've been really passionate about and look forward to every year is attending conferences that not only help me grow as a person and a creative, but also as a business owner. I have been rewarded tenfold from every conference I have attended, whether it was going to a local Student Council summer camp in high school, a national sorority convention in college, or traveling to New York with some friends to attend one of the biggest creative conferences, Create Cultivate.

5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler

Recently I was asked to teach part of my Mastering iPhoneography workshop in person at a Baton Rouge design conference called Crop, and it made me realize how much I really do just love the atmosphere at creative conferences. I mean, have you seen my video about the story behind "Do What You Want?" I talk about how going to a creative conference in New Orleans called Venture Pop helped me formulate that tag line...which is basically now a sub brand of my business.

I can't say enough how important it is to try and find events within your career scope (or maybe even out of it!) Below are my top 5 reasons why you need to pull the trigger, buy that ticket, and show up!

I AM SICK BUT I AM HERE! #VenturePop2017 @venturepopconf

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5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler
5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler

1. NETWORKING

So the most obvious reason to attend a conference is to network. People use this term loosely all of the time, but I seriously mean it... you hardcore network at conferences even if you aren't aware that you're doing it. When I was at SXSW (I was photographing more than I was really attending) every time I sat down to check my phone or grab some food I struck up a conversation with someone new. I met people from all over the world! At conferences such as Crop and Venture Pop, I have made countless connections which turned into business endeavors and later on, friendships. When I went to the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week alone, I sat next to this woman who talked to me for literally 2 minutes. We exchanged cards and a few months later I got a referral from her for a huge commercial photography assignment at a music festival.

This is probably the easiest way to make friends and connections in your field, especially if you show up to the conference alone. You'll get so many business cards from people and you should hand yours out as well! You never know what could come from it but you gotta go to make it happen in the first place!

Photo by  Trevor Mark

Photo by Trevor Mark

pow pow meeting internet friends IRL @nolanknight_ 😛 #SXSW

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2. GAINING INSPIRATION

Since I attend mostly creative conferences, this is a given. Regardless of your field, there's something you can takeaway from meeting other people who are working in a similar fashion as you. Fun tip- attend something that's a little out of your comfort zone if you want to gain even more inspiration! An example of this for me is Crop, the annual design conference in Baton Rouge. Graphic design makes up about 10% of my business but these people at Crop are LEGIT ARTISTS. I get so inspired every time just from being around people who are so passionate and talented...and then I'm just the token photographer who's there in the corner soaking everything up from the presentations. It opens up my mind when the conference is over and has me looking at my work from a different perspective, which can be refreshing.

5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler

3. AN EXCUSE TO TRAVEL

This is a big one. If you work for a company or in a corporate setting, see what types of conferences your work is willing to send you to! My boyfriend works in marketing and he's actually about to go to Las Vegas for a conference on behalf of his work next week. Um, COOL!? Conferences are legitimate business excuses to travel and if you can swing it to be part of your paid days that you would have been in the office, that's even better. For me, this is a bit daunting because I work for myself and end up having to foot the bill, but last year two friends and I went to New York for a conference and made a whole trip out of it. It was 100% worth it and I am always trying to see where I can go next! Definitely put some money aside because conferences are investments for not only your own personal growth, but the growth of your business.

4. LEARNING SOMETHING NEW

This kind of goes hand in hand with inspiration, but unlike inspiration this is applicable to the real world in an immediate way. People who speak at conferences are presenting for a reason- it's because they know what they're talking about and they are there to teach you something new. Take notes! I've learned so many tips and tricks from watching the presentations and just having casual conversations with people sitting around me. This can be so valuable for your business, especially if you work alone.

5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler

5. MARKETING

This one is a bit more relevant for those of you who are there to promote your own business, but nonetheless going to a conference in your field gives you a built in audience of people who *should* be interested in what you have to offer. Find out if you can contribute to putting your marketing materials in the "swag bags" given to everyone at the conference, or bring your own cards, stickers, or other materials to hand out to people throughout your time there. If you're in a position to, BECOME A SPONSOR OF THE EVENT. Boom, instant advertising for an already tailored audience! When I was asked to do my workshop in person, I was so excited because I immediately realized I would 1. be helping a ton of people at once by teaching what I knew, and 2. if nothing else get my name out there to people who may be interested in my work.

I hate using the word "exposure" but going to a conference is one of the most classic examples of this because it truly is a great way to get yourself out there and let your face/business/knowledge be seen and heard! I always like to post something with my face in it about being at the conference if I can, because then people who are searching that event's hashtag will know who I am and hopefully that leads to in person conversations. This strategy has really helped me connect with others online who are also at the conference! To take it even further, from a branding aspect I like to wear bright colors in some way so that people associate what they see on my Instagram with what I look like in person. When I was in New York this one girl actually came up to me and said she had seen my posts with the conference hashtag and figured that must be me because of the colorful shoes I was wearing!

What conferences have you attended that made a difference in your life or business? I'd love to hear, and you already know I'm always on the lookout for something new to attend!

5 Reasons to Attend a Conference in your Field | Jordan Hefler