Using Social Media To Promote Events

When it comes to reaching people, Social Media can be a powerful tool if used with strategy. That's where almost half of the world is. Just in Australia, 72% of the population is on social media. And besides being a fantastic tool for brands and institutions to build their image with the community, it is also a great environment to promote events. 

If you’ve read this resource put together by Digital Discipleship, you already understand the importance and how to develop a strategy to communicate in the digital context. That notion is also essential to promote events. Understanding your target audience, who do you want to attract to your event, is crucial to the entire process: from choosing the right platform to developing a marketing campaign on it.

To help with the beginning of that process, here are the profiles of the two leading social platforms in Australia:

Facebook

Facebook is by far the most popular social platform, containing 79% of the online population in Australia. It also is the most diverse platform, being used more frequently by women and younger generations, but at the same time, it's the most used by people older than 65 years. 

Facebook is also the only social network that has a specific tool to promote events. With Facebook Events, you get a dedicated page to provide all the details of your social gathering, manage invites and keep track of who's going. This feature is free, and it's available to anyone. 

Instagram

With only 46% of internet users in Australia, Instagram has a much more specific public. More than half of the total 10 million users are subdivided into two main groups aged 25-34 and 18-24. But age is not the only aspect that defines Instagram. This platform is ideal for promoting photogenic events, and Instagram Stories is an excellent ally to build buzz around your event. 

If you're still not sure about which platform would be the best option, this quiz made by Eventbrite can help you with that. It's important to keep in mind that whichever platform you choose, you need to be present there all year round, not just during your event campaign. So if you decide for a specific network that you'll have to create a page/profile from scratch just for that, the best option might be promoting where you already are. And if you have a budget for paid promotion, you don't even have to create a profile on a new platform. It's possible to run your campaign on Instagram from Facebook, for example. You simply need to redirect the public to a landing page, be that the registration website or your Facebook page. 

Hands-on

Now that you know which platform to use, here are some tips to help you reach the audience you're targeting.

Facebook

Facebook Events is a wonderful tool that allows you to create a dedicated page for public and private events. But there are ways and tricks to get the most out of it. If you're not familiar with this tool, try these tutorials to understand its basic features. 

  • Provide accurate and exciting information about the event

When you're creating an event on Facebook, you need to fill out basic information and a description about it, so people who see the page can understand what that's about. This is a fundamental step, but an important one. Because if you don't provide accurate information, like the correct date, time, address, and if necessary, the registration link, people won't be able to attend it. Be sure to check all the information before publishing the event, so you don't need to edit it later and end up confusing the public. 

  • The right visual communication

Images are a crucial part of social media marketing. That's why the photo of your main cover needs to have high resolution and communicate the event visually. 

Being the most used social platform also makes Facebook a very competitive environment. Even though it offers a great reach potential, it also requires you find ways to stand out amid so much information. So when creating the visual communication for your event, you'll need a friendly, eye-catching, warm and inviting design — and always considering your target. 

It's also important to optimize it for different screen sizes (computers, smartphones, tablets). That should be simple if you follow the recommended dimensions: 

  • 1200×628 (2:1 ratio) – current size
  • 1920×1080 (16:9 ratio) – recommended size
  • 470×174 - minimum dimensions 

Your cover photo will be displayed in three different locations:

  • As the cover photo of your event page 
  • As a thumbnail in the Upcoming Events session
  • On the newsfeed

All of these will have a slightly different size. To ensure that the important elements of your photo won't be cropped out in any version, always use 16:9 format with a safe zone. To make it easier, you can save and use this size guide model:

  • Feed your event page with visual content

This tip is valid for all kinds of events. It doesn't matter if it's the first or the tenth edition, it's important to show off the experience that potential attendees will have at your event. If you already had previous editions, select and post the best photos you have. And here's an important thing to keep in mind: don't forget to take good pictures of your event. Especially if you plan to throw another one in the future. Collecting footage to make videos is also a good idea. 

If this is the first edition of your event, don't panic. There's plenty of visual content you can create. You can highlight the speakers on cool graphic design posts or make short videos of them inviting and highlighting some exciting parts of the event. There are a lot of other ideas you can come up with, try brainstorming them! 

  • Promoting (spread the word)

There are several ways to let people know about your event on Facebook. Once you have your Facebook Events page ready, you can start by sharing it on your own page. That is the very first, and therefore, the most basic step. You can also invite people from your network and ask friends and people involved in the project to do the same. 

A good way to generate buzz around your event is to make people talk about it. You can incite that by posting questions, polls and updates on your event wall or commenting and answering to keep the conversation going.

You can also create a Facebook Event Frame so attendees can apply to their profile pictures. Design it first as a PNG file using Canva or other premium design tools. Access Facebook for developers to upload it and fill out additional details. You can specify start and end times for your frame to be available - the suggestion is to set the expiration right after your event. After you publish your frame, you can share the link as a pinned post on your event and business pages. 

Do you have great speakers and influencers coming to your event? They are a great marketing tool! Not only for you to promote your event by advertising their participation, but also to provide content for them, so they can post and let their followers know about it. 

  • Consider Facebook ads

Facebook offers many opportunities to promote your events for free. But if you have a budget to apply on some paid promotion, go for it! Just don't forget that basic, fundamental thing that we already mentioned: strategy. You'll need to tailor your ads to your specific target audience, and as narrower it is, the better! You can start with as little as $10 a day and see how it goes. 

Instagram

Instagram doesn't have an exclusive feature for events, but its features are perfect to create trends targeting specific niches. Still being a different platform, many of the strategies suggested for Facebook can be applied here. The right visual communication is the most basic one, mainly because Instagram's content is 100% made of photos and videos. You can't post anything there without an image, so invest in great visuals.

Instagram Stories is now the platform's dearest feature. It allows you to engage with your audience in many ways with posts that last 24h. That incites FOMO (fear of missing out) and helps to create the buzz your event needs. It is important, though, to keep in mind that the tool can be powerful, but it only brings results depending on the way we use it. So, be on Instagram feed, stories or even Facebook, always plan your campaign before launching it. Avoid random posts, without connection and relevance. 

First things first, plan your campaign posts. Brainstorm relevant, informative content that keeps your audience engaged. Choose the ideal format for your posts, the best times to publish them and create interesting captions. Now let’s talk about how to use Instagram’s features to engage people in your event:

Stories

Since it was launched, Instagram has been updating and releasing new features for brands and users to interact even more on Stories. Here are some tips on how to use some of those:

  • Countdown: this is perfect for events. Because besides its basic countdown feature it also allows the viewers to activate a notification to when it ends, by just tapping the sticker. So, if you have a ticket sale or a registration deadline, you can use that to remind your followers to take action. 
  • Questions and polls stickers: this feature allow you to generate direct engagement by asking questions, asking for suggestions or feedback. You can open for questions and answer publicly with a video or text on a photo. You can allow your potential attendees to ask questions to a speaker or reverse it to ask them a question about what they expect of the event. And if you want more specific feedback on something, polls are a great option, by giving you the results in percentage. 
  • Highlights: You will probably post many stories with useful information to the public, but since they last only 24h, it's possible that a lot of people won't be able to view them. You can solve that with the highlights. Select the most useful sequences of stories and put them on your Instagram profile. Identify each sequence with a short title, like "Q&A", "Speakers" or whatever suits it.
  • Apps to edit stories: You can create more elaborate stories with professional design and video editing tools, but if you want something easier, here's a list of apps that can give your stories a more professional look:

You can also search for YouTube tutorials about Instagram Stories Hacks and discover many ways to design your content with Instagram’s native features.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram