Many small business owners and consultants organise and host events as a way of increasing brand awareness, attracting customers and building their influence. It can be a very effective way of converting prospects too; as they get first hand experience of the support, services or products you offer, and an opportunity to really explore whether they want to buy from you, or work with you.
Looking at our Business Hub members, many people are promoting events either on a regular basis or more sporadically. In recent months I’ve seen IT companies running GDPR workshops, business coaches promoting sector-specific talks aimed at very niche markets, and digital marketing and social media people sharing their expertise with start ups and sole traders.
Naturally our Business Hubs are also busy promoting their weekly events. In some ways each Hub franchise is an event company – online and offline – focused on building business communities. That makes our Hub owners experts in promoting events on social media, they need to get a good crowd at each weekly meeting and social media is an important way to do this.
So if you’re thinking of organising an event to showcase your business and expertise, who better to ask than the people who do it week in, week out?! Here are our tips for promoting your event on social media.
- Know your audience
The better you know your audience, the more engaging you can make the message about your event.
- Know where they hang out
If you know your audience well, you’ll also know where they hang out. Are they Facebook users, Twitter or LinkedIn? Can you reach them through a group such as via a local Facebook group or an industry specific group on LinkedIn?
- Be clear about the benefits of attending your event
It’s very easy for social media users to express an interest attending an event, and then not follow through. Make sure you give them clear reasons for attending, let them know what they’ll get out of it, and they’ll be more likely to register and turn up.
- Make booking easy
When someone books an event you then have the opportunity to use other channels to communicate with them. For example using a booking platform like EventBrite will give you data such as email addresses and phone numbers so you can send reminders or other relevant messages. Therefore it’s really important to make the booking process really easy so you can get your hands on this essential data.
- Promote your event early
Give people plenty of time to see your event messages and book early. Even if you don’t have the full details, such as speakers and content, if you have a date, time, venue and an overview of what type of event it is, get it up! Details can be added later as they are confirmed, and you have the maximum amount of time to promote the event.
- Keep telling people!
Social media updates and ads get lost very quickly in peoples’ timelines so promote it multiple times. Don’t worry that some people might have seen your post already, if anything it acts as another reminder that it’s coming soon.
- Make it visual
Social media messages that contain only text, i.e. the details of your event, are easy to pass over. Instead you need something to make your message stand out from everyone else’s and get noticed. Our Hub owners are fans of Canva.com that allows you to create really engaging graphics for posting on social media.
- Don’t forget the details
If people can’t see instantly the date, time and location of your event they won’t click. You may have all this detail on your event page, but social media users want to know instantly whether they are available and can attend before clicking on a link. You can include these details in your graphic as well as in the text box for each update.
- Use Facebook ads and boosted posts
In our experience Facebook is a very effective tool for promoting your event to a targeted audience – especially local audiences. Use Facebook ads or boosted posts to target your preferred audience. Farnham Hub owner Jonathan Howkins is an expert on Facebook if you need further help.
- Measure results and use them
Social media provides loads of data to help you ensure that your posts and ads are converting prospects into attendees. Make sure you have ways to measure which platforms are most successful for you, and use those results to get more interest. For example, if most of your bookings are coming from Twitter give this platform some extra love!
- Use content marketing
Blog posts are an ideal platform for driving attendees to your event. Write about the subject of your event, identifying the reasons someone would attend and discuss those in detail. Of course you don’t want to give away detailed content that negates any need to attend, instead having shared some useful insights and information, point readers to your event if they want to learn more. Post content on your company blog and / or on LinkedIn Pulse.
- Post your event in LinkedIn groups
And Facebook too. If you know your target audience you can often find groups on LinkedIn or Facebook where they hang out. With the moderator’s permission post your event in these groups, or if they discourage that type activity post a message about your blog post to drive group members first to that content, and then to your event. Allen Ruddock (the Guildford Hub) is a LinkedIn expert if you require any help with using this platform.
- Enlist support from trusted associates
Social media posts really benefit from some good initial engagement. When the almighty social media algorithms see that a post is generating some interest it gets more exposure and that increases your reach. So recruit some trusted connections to help boost interest initially – a good place to start would be any speakers or sponsors; they can help you reach more people. Failing that, get employees and other business contacts to help you.
- Encourage attendees to tell their connections
Chances are that your event attendees can think of a number of other people who might be interested in attending your event. Encourage them to tell their associates about the event using clear messages on your event page and any communications you have with them.
- Follow up
Following up via email or SMS is really important. Even if someone has booked for your event there’s still a chance that they might not turn up, especially if the event is free. Therefore continue to communicate the value of attending and remind them to put it in their diary. Follow up emails are also a good opportunity to encourage them to share the event more widely, provide them with easy ways to do this using social media buttons and ‘email to your contacts’ type CTAs.
If you can follow up in person, even better. People will feel more obliged to attend if they’ve spoken to you personally and you’ll also be able to provide them with more information and compelling reasons to attend.
If your target audience is small business owners and entrepreneurs, running your own Business Hub can be an excellent way of attracting and engaging with prospects. Business Hubs are about building really vibrant local business communities, and therefore running a Hub puts you and your business and services at the centre of that community. To find out more get in touch with me or click on the link below.