You’ve finalized your event page, you’ve signed contracts for your venue and catering, and you’ve secured your dream team of conference speakers. Your big day is weeks, maybe even months away but as you probably realize…the work is nowhere close to being done.
It’s time to build a solid marketing plan to promote your event to your community. Because you understand the true value of social media and you’ve read our Social Commerce Report (hint: you should read it now, if you haven’t already!), you are aware that online engagement plays a huge role in offline interactions.
And, because you’re such a wise marketer, likely included in your plan, is a sound social media strategy to get the word out, attract a larger audience, and help build excitement in the days leading up to the event.
With all of the tools and channels that are available today, it can be overwhelming (to say the least) when trying to figure out which ones you should use to get the most bang for your buck. Lucky for you, we’re here to shed some light on this space.
Here are our favorite social media tools and platforms for promoting your conference:
If you’re working with a team, be it an internal team helping to craft the content and messaging you plan on promoting via your various social channels…or an external team that is just helping to promote (like a board or sponsors), Google Drive will soon be your best friend. You can create a calendar out of a spreadsheet and type out every tweet, etc. that you plan on sending out during the promotion of your conference and then easily share with all parties involved who need access. No more saving and emailing documents, and then later becoming confused about which document is the most up to date.
Sure, Facebook might be more of a household name these days but with Facebook’s organic reach dropping steadily, it’s becoming harder and harder to reach and engage an audience on this platform now. This is why we feel that Twitter is the perfect platform– both to connect with potential attendees before the event and to interact with them during the event.
Since most Twitter profiles are public, it’s easy to identify, follow, and interact with attendees that may be interested (but not know about) attending your event. If Twitter is still fairly new to you, this post on Twitter basics may be of interest.
Additionally, consider dedicating a hashtag to go along with your event and make sure it’s widely known (put it on your event page, in your emails leading up to the event, in your social media, etc.) so anyone talking about your event will know to use it, and thus all of the mentions of your event will be easy to track online. Here are some of our best practices for using a hashtag with your event.
The professional social network, LinkedIn is a must-use platform for any B2B conference. Along with Twitter, this is where your audience is likely to be hanging out the most online. Make sure you have a top quality company page, get active in relevant industry groups, and send out regular updates to your followers.
Bonus? LinkedIn has now opened up its influencer program to become a publishing platform too. If you have great content to share with your target audience, then you should definitely check out this new opportunity!
HootSuite is a social media management dashboard that allows you to monitor the conversation surrounding your event. Because of how it’s laid out (multiple columns of searches all visible at once), on one screen you can see all mentions of your Twitter handle, all mentions of your event hashtag, any searches you want to monitor (for example, anyone who tweets about one of your speakers), and much more.
Bonus? HootSuite allows you to schedule messages in advance to be published via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. so you don’t have to be sitting in front of your computer all day. After all, you’ve got a big conference to plan!
If you’ve got the bandwidth to create regular content about your event, WordPress is a great blogging platform to check out. Since Google favors pages that are publishing content on a regular basis, blogging can help boost your page ranking and SEO in addition to being a handy place to share information about your conference, interviews with speakers, etc.
Bonus? Eventbrite integrates with WordPress.com, so you could sell tickets directly from your site!
Again, if you’ve got the bandwidth and the budget to capture video at and in the months leading up to your conference, YouTube is a great option to consider. We’ve laid out all of the reasons that creating video for your event and filming at your event is a good idea in this post, but also keep this in mind: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
RowFeeder is a tool that we love to use to capture and report on all mentions of a hashtag used at an event. (You can skip this section if you’re not using a hashtag or are not interested in the metrics surrounding the people who are talking about your event). Once you decide on a hashtag, register for a RowFeeder account and start to track the mentions. RowFeeder offers a free version for tracking a fixed amount of hashtags, but it’s definitely worth the (small) investment to get the paid version if you feel that a lot of people will likely be talking about your event.
At any given time, you have the ability to log into your account and pull all of the data around the usage of your hashtag — the person who tweeted it, the time they tweeted it, the link to the physical tweet, etc. This is a great way to monitor spikes in Tweets, be it before the event (helps you understand when/why people are talking about your conference) or during your event (you can easily identify which parts of the day were most popular by the time of day people are tweeting).
As always, these are just our suggestions and they are really just the tip of the iceberg when you think about all of the options of tools you have for getting the word out about your upcoming event. Are you in love with a tool not mentioned above? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!