Last week we joined Chicago women-centric tech organization Ms. Tech for a session led by Kelly Janowski of David James Group on the mysteries of social media and how businesses can be using it more efficiently to market their events. We came away with some solid takeaways that you can hopefully use to better handle your next event.
Not Every Event Is ‘Real’
It sounds strange, but it’s true: not every event that you run social media campaigns to promote is a physical event like a conference or a fundraiser. Some events are more like ideas: Women’s History Month is one example that Janowski provided. If a holiday, special day, or concept is important to the goals or mission of your company, then build social media campaigns around it. On the most basic level, they are cost-effective and easy to run. Just remember to define specific campaign goals, even if the event isn’t “real.” For something like Women’s History Month, the goal might be merely to raise awareness and demonstrate your company’s commitment. That is a perfectly acceptable goal, just be sure that you have ways of measuring your success.
Make Use of Images and Visuals
When planning a campaign for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Janowski stated that one of the things that surprised her was the shareability of an asset they created to help promote an event called “Be That Engineer,” in which women engineers were being called upon to inspire young girls about careers in engineering. They created many images including the outreach poster that you see below. They were shocked with the response they received: nearly ten thousand views in addition to the thousands of shares on platforms like Pinterest. The image is eye-catching and meaningful, which is part of what adds to the virality of images on social media. If you have the resources, spend some time creating visual material that will find its way onto walls, boards, and feeds, and meanwhile spread the message of your event—“real” or not—far and wide.
Social media isn’t all about creating shareable things that you post and then let run on their own: it’s about engagement and interaction, which is why Janowski recommends things like tweetchats to get conversations going about an event weeks prior to the event itself. For one large conference, Women Engineers 2013, Janowski utilized the official hashtag (#we13) up to three weeks in advance to “stock the pond,” so to speak, with lots of conversation around the conference to get people used to using and seeing the hashtag. The conversations are things like “what to pack for #we13,” “networking tips for #we13,” etc. Not only does it keep the event at the front of attendees’ minds and build excitement, but the followers of those attendees see the hashtag enough times to where they eventually think “Okay, what is this?” and start investigating.
A lot of marketers know they should be giving things away, but shy away from the actual act because they are under the impression that they have to invest a lot of capital into swag-bags, etc. Not the case, says Janowski! People love winning. It usually doesn’t matter what it is that they are actually winning; just the act of winning itself is exciting. So round up last year’s extra stress balls or pens; dig out those t-shirts from your last event that are laying around your office. They’re taking up space and you could be using them to draw event attendees to your booth with an easy Twitter contest.
You saw this one coming. Just like any other kind of marketing, you should be measuring your success on social media. While this isn’t a strategy leading up to your event, it is something you should always do during and after. Twitter makes it easy to measure engagement and use of a hashtag, so watch those metrics. Do post-event surveys. Pay for social ads so you can measure clicks and conversions. Use bit.ly links to see who’s clicking what, where. This stuff matters and can help you decide what works best for your purposes so you can do more of it at your next event.
Want some more tips for driving leads and measuring success with social media? Download our white paper, B2B Lead Generation for Social Media: Tips for Generating and Tracking Phone Leads. It’s free and has some great tips.