Andrew Knoblauch Head Shot
Event Management

Leveraging Social Media for Event Marketing

You’ve sent out invitations. You’ve secured sponsors. Months of planning. Endless phone calls, meetings and details. So what are you missing? It might just be capitalizing on social media to take your event to the next level. But event planners often find social media marketing near the bottom of their to-do list.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, is a co-host on Shark Tank. In face-to-face negotiations with potential partners, Cuban never says yes to a deal when there isn’t commitment on the other end.

“The two most valuable resources I have are time and money,” Cuban said during one episode. Same goes for event planners. You have limited time and a set budget to make magic happen. Said in a different way, there’s little time and most likely little budget, but everyone expects big results.

So how can you capitalize on social media without shirking your other responsibilities? I’ve outlined four tips below to make social media work harder for you and your event.

Investing Money Matters

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but your event probably isn’t the coolest thing in the world right now. As I type this, here are the top topics coming through on Twitter:

  • Tom Brady is preparing to play in his 8th Super Bowl
  • A flood of Democratic women are running for office
  • Game of Thrones rumors are swirling

You get the point, right? Posting on social media and hoping for organic traction is extremely difficult. In fact, Facebook made news earlier this month announcing that it’s going to prioritize people over brands. Here’s what my colleague had to say about the news.

How do you cut through the clutter? Pay for it using social media advertising. In a study by EventMB, 54% of respondents said they were paying $200 or less on social media … and that includes salaries, software costs and marketing expenses. Folks—that’s not going to get it done.

What are the benefits of using social media advertising? You get more eyeballs on your content. Engagements go up, if the content is strong and not over “salesy.” Plus, you can target people more directly, either by their email or if they’ve been on your website.

Use Data, Save Time

“I don’t need opinions, I have data.” Oh, that’s a juicy quote from Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina—and it’s one of my favorites. One of the biggest mistakes event planners make is trying to “be everywhere” on social media instead of letting data and analytics drive decision making.

Start by asking: “Who is my audience and which social media platforms do they use?” Just about every week, you can find an article like this, outlining the various demographic makeups on the different platforms.

Your audience is out there. Find them and use that platform. Of course, using it is half the battle. Once you’re consistently putting messages out, you need to measure results to show impact.

Try setting up a simple measurement plan that allows you to track progress either by month or by piece of content shared. How many people saw it? How many people engaged with it? How many people donated? How many people joined our email list? If the result isn’t happening, you should shift.

Find Your Squad

Teamwork makes the dream work. In an EventMB survey, 47% of respondents said they have a dedicated team that leads social media for their event. That’s a strong number and something I’d greatly recommend. Create a team and delegate responsibilities based on skill sets, capacity, bandwidth and eagerness.

Depending on how many team members you have, you should split up responsibilities so each has a “one-track mind” for the night.

For example, roles could look like:

  • Content creator: Dedicated to creating content the night of the event, including photos, videos or text posts. It’s important for this person to have a keen understanding of the event schedule so they’re always in the right position.
  • Community manager: This person focuses solely on monitoring the conversation around the event. What are people saying on Twitter? How about Facebook? Is there any negative sentiment out there? It’ll be this person’s job to assess and respond to any comments.
  • Sponsorship activation: Lots of events have sponsors, and some of those sponsors may pay to be featured on your social channels. This team member will focus solely on those communications, as they are often time-constrained.
  • Quality assurance: This person has no publishing responsibilities or community management tasks. They’re simply acting as an extra set of eyes across all communications being sent out over social media.

Embrace Visuals

Did you know humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish? You go, goldfish, you super attentive beings you! Oh look, there’s ice cream on my counter.

It’s likely you stopped paying attention to this blog about 85 sentences ago. If you’ve made this far, I applaud your commitment to making the most of your social media. Thanks for tuning in!

You get the point, though. People are busy. People are inherently distracted. I work at an ad agency. Our goal is to distract people enough so they’ll pay attention to what we’re trying to tell them.

And the best way to get their attention?

All things visual. Infographics. Videos. Photos. Every social media network awards content that features interactive or rich media. You’d be making a mistake not including these things in your social posts.

So that hard-hitting, gut-wrenching, emotionally driven video you created to spur up some extra donations? Share that on social media. Ask for more donations. Get more mileage out of it.

I can’t stress it enough. Visuals. Visuals. Visuals.

In Summary

Social media shouldn’t be at the bottom of your checklist as an event planner. We realize it won’t be at the top, but hopefully, you’ll be able to make some simple adjustments that’ll help you get the most out of social media and all its wonders.

Andrew Knoblauch Head Shot

Andrew Knoblauch

Content Marketing and Social Media Supervisor, Dixon Schwabl

Andrew leads the day-to-day operations for Dixon Schwabl’s content marketing and social media team, focusing on content strategy, brand awareness, online engagement, integrating social advertising into digital and traditional marketing campaigns, analytics and new business.

Prior to joining the agency, he oversaw the creation of social media strategies and platforms for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Camp Good Days & Special Times Inc. and the New York Wine & Culinary Center.

Andrew graduated from St. John Fisher College with a degree in management, a concentration in marketing, and a minor in digital cultures and technology.

His clients have included Frontier Communications, the 95th PGA Championship, RBC Heritage, ESL Federal Credit Union, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection and United Way of Greater Rochester.

He also serves as co-host and executive producer of the agency’s official podcast, One More Thing.

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