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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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:
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.)
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.