10 Reasons That Social Matters More Than Ever in Event Marketing

We believe strongly in the power of in-person interaction, but that it isn’t the whole story. The modern consumer lives a significant part of his or her life on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (authors included). Features like Facebook Live, as well as Instagram & Snapchat Stories, are bridging the digital divide between consumers and brands. When paired with an engaging event, these tools can help you to meet more consumer needs, and impact more people, than either one can on its own. Check out our tricks of the trade for using social media and experiential marketing, together! Let’s get into it.

  1. Broaden your reach
    1. In terms of overall reach and targeting, you can’t do better than a well-constructed social media campaign for filling your event’s guest list. That’s not to say that mailing lists don’t have their merit, and certain types of events do require personalized invitations, but the advantages of social advertising, especially when using Facebook and Instagram, are plain to see. From the start, you can easily identify the types of attendees you are looking for, and target them specifically. From there, you can track your ad’s performance, while staying nimble to make modifications as the list fills up.
  1. Encourage guests to invite their friends
    1. Social targeting is great, but there’s no substitute for an invitation from a friend. Social posts are easily shareable by design, and you can feel confident that once sent, it will at the very least be acknowledged, rather than joining a list of thousands of unread emails. Not only will friend-to-friend invitations boost your potential attendance, they will help solidify your guests’ commitment to the event, with 12% of millennials admitting that they will only RSVP once they know if their friends are attending (via SocialChorus).
  1. Hype, hype, hype!
    1. From the second that you establish your social presence, you can begin to build excitement for your event, to speak directly to your guests, and to show off all the cool things they’ll get to do. Perhaps just as important as building excitement, a consistent social presence will keep you on your guests’ minds. The more you content you push out, the less likely they will be to forget about their commitment to attend.
  1. Give your event some context
    1. Event professionals know better than anyone, there’s a big difference between an event and an experience. An event is just a thing you go to. An experience, on the other hand, is looked forward to, is savored, is remembered fondly and recounted often. By couching your event in a larger campaign, not only will you give your guests a better idea of what they’re looking forward to, you can build a strategy that can lead to offshoot events, merchandise, and more.
  1. Put all your #content under one roof
    1. Shareability is the name of the game. You know that, we know that, everyone knows that. It’s not groundbreaking to suggest creating an event hashtag, nor to design shareable visual elements for your activation. BUT, your work does not end at the construction of your super-duper cool photo wall! Keep an eye out for posts using that specially crafted hashtag, pull out the best content, compile it, and reach out to your most enthusiastic guests. An event Instagram can be a great hub for that type of content.
  1. Tell a “Story”
    1. Three years ago, who knew that the word “ephemeral” would have risen to the prominence that it finds itself in today? Disappearing content is all the rage, and your event should be taking full advantage. Whether you go with Snapchat or Instagram (or even Facebook? OK, probably not Facebook), the time is now for quick hitting photos and videos that bring consumers into the fold. And for the day-of, don’t forget to design a geofilter, an inexpensive way to let your guests show off a little to their friends. It’s fun, simple, and has plenty of potential to help build buzz for your next event.
  1. Create a community
    1. When you’re on social media, you socialize. It’s what you do. One of our favorite things that we see at nearly all of our events is strangers coming together in some sort of shared experience. Don’t let that moment pass when the event ends! Social pages are a great way to keep the conversation going, and again, the more robust your community, the easier time of it you’ll have filling your guest list the next time around.
  1. Livestream it!
    1. What if we told you there was a way to broaden your event’s reach from a small group in a room or even a convention center, to tens of thousands? Would that be something you might be interested in? We’re talking, of course, about livestreaming. You knew that when you read the section title. As valuable as we think a small group event often can be, we don’t want to exclude people who couldn’t attend our events in person for whatever reason. Livestreaming, (we use Facebook Live) brings everyone in on the action. Just be mindful of your setup: make sure the sound quality is reasonable and you’re capturing something engaging. No one wants to watch glorified security camera footage, whether it’s live or not.
  1. Pull back the curtain
    1. Everyone likes a little bit of inside access. Whether through those Stories that we discussed earlier, on your standard Instagram or Facebook feeds, or even both(!), it costs you nothing to show what went into the event that your guests will be experiencing, or just experienced. You put in the hard work, don’t be afraid to show off!
  1. Let the influencers influence
    1. Hiring influencers to attend your event? Get your money’s worth! Stage a social takeover, and make sure that their impact is felt beyond the lucky group that gets to see them in person. They should also pop in on your live feed. You hire an influencer because their presence means something to people; the more people who see it, the greater the return on investment you will see.

At SoHo, we work to put on events that make a lasting impact. To that end, we think that social media and experiential marketing can be two sides to the same coin, drawing on each other’s strengths in content creation, online and in-person dialogue, and engagement that begins before an event starts and extends long past its conclusion. A well-thought out campaign should employ a strategy that uses both marketing techniques, and develops as the social media features arms race escalates!