Chicken and Waffles: Social Media and Event Marketing

Like chicken and waffles, social media and event marketing are just meant to be together. According to the Social Media & Events report of 2013 from software platform Amiando, 78% of the roughly 1,500 event organizers who were surveyed use Facebook as their primary means of event advertising. Compare that to the 56% who have chosen Twitter, with LinkedIn being a close third. Amiando also reports that 80% of event organizers plan to increase their social media marketing measures this year. Are you planning an event? Don’t book the live music or order Sprinkles cupcakes without planning to integrate Facebook and Twitter into your event.

Before the Event

Facebook, being one of the only social platforms that has adapted to event marketing, is the ultimate event invitation generator. Before creating the event page, you’ll want to congregate a few essential pieces: a high quality image for both your cover and profile photo, and if possible, past event photos to remind second-rounders of all the fun they had at last year’s event, and also for new attendees so they can have an idea of what to expect of the event. Once the Ansell Adams-quality photos are put together, brainstorm a catchy title for the event page. “Cupcake Sale” and “Concert in the Park,” won’t spark too much excitement. But “The Yummiest Cupcakes You Will Ever Have Sale” undeniably will have RSVP’s filling up your inbox. A unique feature of Facebook’s event capabilities is the ability to track those RSVP numbers. Although sometimes a frustration for event planners, as these “yes,” “no” and “maybe” responses are not concrete, the response numbers in each category will frame the attendance of the event. Notice a lack of “yes” responses? Strengthen your event page with an event incentive. Offer free tickets, front row seats, or backstage access through a contest. Encourage event-goers to share the event page with their friends, and they will automatically be entered into the competition.  Spread the announcement of the competition on Twitter to capitalize on cross platform promotion.

During the Event

Utilizing Twitter’s micro-blogging and small update piece appeal, live tweeting during the event will be more worthwhile than any Facebook update. Due to the highly revered (and everyone’s favorite), hashtags brand your tweets and streamline them for users to find.  Choose a simple, yet catchy, hashtag, and encourage event-attendees to do the same for added influence. Hook up your Instagram account with your live tweets for behind the scenes photos, especially catered to those who decided not to come. Employ the same event-only hashtag on the photo-friendly platform, as the hashtags will be hyperlinked, and the event easier to find in searches.

After the Event

Once the event is over and all the confetti has been swept away, create a Facebook photo album with pictures from the event to showcase the people, the vibe, and the design. Urge attendees to tag themselves in the photos and share their favorites. Use Instagram to post event photos for #ThrowbackThursdays with captions such as “We can’t wait for next year! Are you planning to attend again?”  Keep it fun, light-hearted, and you surely will make those who clicked “maybe” a bit jealous. Gain feedback from party guests through Twitter. Tweeting questions such as, “how can we make next year even better?” and “What was your favorite part of the event?” will give you the inside scoop. “If you are not, as an event marketer, in full-fledged effort of storytelling on Facebook… at this moment, you are borderline not relevant to what’s about to happen in the next 24 months,” explains social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk. Have the fanciest invitations you want, but you shouldn’t attempt to promote an event without social media.


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