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5 Effective Methods for Promoting a Conference Event in Social Media

Dan McCarthy

Ticket sales reflect how well you market your event

There are dozens of promotion ideas for conferences; it’s no surprise that a majority of these involve social media.

There is hardly a scenario more disheartening to an event planner than having more than a handful of unsold conference tickets. Ticket sales reflect how well you market your event; it’s that simple. However, it’s easier said than done.

Social media has nearly all the resources you need for an effective campaign. It comes down to how well you take advantage of the latest social media trends.

Here are five methods you should already be using or plan to use for your next conference.

1. #CreateYourOwnHashtag

If you promote your event through social media in any capacity, then it’s a given that Twitter will be among your marketing resources. The social network, after all, has 317 million monthly active users worldwide. Come up with an event hashtag and use it for all event-related tweets and other posts.

Encourage staff and followers to do the same. Here are a few golden rules regarding hashtag use for events:

  • Use no more than two hashtags.
  • Keep it discernable. #2017TechExpoNY, for example, is more effective than #TechExpo. The latter, while shorter and easier to remember, is too vague and can be confused with other tech events.
  • Try to include the company name or the event name. Use abbreviations to prevent the hashtag from becoming too long. (i.e. #CKFashionShowNY instead of #CalvinKleinFashionShowNY)
  • Remember to capitalize. #susanalbumparty was a popular hashtag in 2012 that became massively viral for all the wrong reasons. Some people read it as #SusAnalBumParty, instead of #SusanAlbumParty to celebrate Susan Boyle’s album release.

2. Livestream the Event

Events should be livestreamed to reach out to a remote audience and anyone unable to attend in person. Conferences, in fact, make up 43 percent of viewed content that is streamed live.

YouTube enables livestreaming and so does Facebook through its Facebook Live feature. This is really easy to do; just set up a camera on a tripod and begin shooting once the main lecture or presentation begins.

New technology also makes livestreaming even more dynamic. You can, for instance, a film using a 360-degree virtual camera. This enables viewers to adjust the angle and tilt even as the event is in progress. The Cascadis Congress is one event that showcases a series of lectures filmed using a rotational camera.

You can even promote the event by doing a live Ustream where you answer questions from social media. A lot of celebrities do this as a way of connecting with their fan base. Encourage followers to submit their questions through Facebook or Twitter and remind them to use the event hashtag.

3. Create a Social Media Contest

Social media marketing should go beyond just sending out posts here and there. Make the followers become active participants by creating some sort of contest. Try to keep the contest simple. An example would be a caption contest where you add a funny quote to an existing picture, which followers submit on their Instagram account using the event hashtag. The contest creates a fun activity for participants while promoting your conference in the process.

Be sure to include prizes. Perhaps this can be something like a free ticket or bump to VIP status for the winner and a small consolation prize for everyone else who participated.

Contests can also involve sweepstakes. Automatically enter people into a raffle who perform some form of favorable action, such as liking the event registration page. This is really simple and does not require any games, judges or rules to be memorized.

4. Incorporate Snapchat

What makes Snapchat unique is its self-delete feature. Some people find the notion ridiculous, but it’s catching on, especially with millennial social media users. Thirty percent of U.S. millennials are regular Snapchat users.

How can you use Snapchat to your advantage? You can use it to send regular posts and updates. The fact that it can only be viewed once gives it a for-your-eyes-only sense of importance. Here are some ways for using this popular network:

  • Submit a quick behind the scenes tour
  • Send a funny video, such as waking a sleeping staff member with a blaring horn
  • Send an inspirational quote, preferably from an industry-related figure
  • Send a quick see-you-there message a day or two before the event

Aside from Snapchat, Instagram also followed suit with Instagram Stories, which is essentially the same thing with posts that self-delete.

5. Create an Infographic

Stats bring credibility to your industry. Collect multiple stats and use them to draw interest to your event. You can use Twitter to relay a stat every now and then. You can also create an infographic, which is far more visually appealing. Submit this infographic to your Instagram or include it on the main Facebook event registration page. Alternatively, you can create a stats video using whiteboard animation.

Infographics and/or a stats video can be used to supplement a blog post pushing the event. The stats present a problem, and the blog post can lead the readers to the conference as providing a solution.

Here is an example of a cybersecurity event:

Stat: 80 percent of smartphone users had their devices hacked in 2016. 70 percent of these users never even found out until more than 30 days later. (note: not a real statistic)

The 3rd annual Cybersecurity Expo showcases the latest tactics utilized by hackers and the latest apps designed to block the malware.

There are dozens of promotion ideas for conferences; it’s no surprise that a majority of these involve social media. Social networks are the way of the future. They allow you to connect with your audience in ways that pique their curiosity.

Photo credit: PowerUp/Shutterstock

Dan McCarthy Member
Dan has worked in the event management industry for five years and is currently an event manager for the UK-based company Venueseeker. His portfolio includes many successful event planning projects for companies across various niches. He is currently a regular contributor for his company’s blog site. Follow him on Twitter at @DanCarthy2.