How to get your event trending on social media

It’s never been easier to get your message seen by thousands. Online interaction and chatter is one of the most effective ways to get your event’s name out there.

Social media is a great way to effectively communicate with thousands and to get noticed, target your audience and make sales. However, with so much traffic on the platforms how can you make sure your event stands out from the crowd?

We have some sure-fire tips to help create a buzz around your next event.

# Hashtags #

Getting the hashtag included in all the posts associated with your event means that they are all easily found and organised. Try to get your venue and any sponsors to include the hashtag in their own posts too, it will expand the reach to a far bigger audience.

Choose carefully and well ahead of time. Make it snappy – if your event has a long title, consider an abbreviation or acronym: no one wants to use up precious characters on Twitter writing out eg. #mackenziesoswaldinvestmentsconference2019! If you do use an acronym, double-check it isn’t shared by something else. You want your hashtag traffic to be yours all yours.

Your event name can look very different when written as one word, so make certain that it doesn’t seem to spell something else entirely. When singer Susan Boyle’s marketing team wanted to celebrate the launch of her new album, their chosen hashtag began trending for all the wrong reasons. Let #susanalbumparty stand as a cautionary tale.

Be prepared

Get your chosen hashtag ‘out there’ well ahead of the event and include it on all your marketing material. Assemble a carefully thought out and engaging a content plan for all your social posts in the run-up to the event as well as during and afterwards. Make sure you tag your sponsors and official attendees in a variety of posts to get the conversation started. Ask them to include your event and hashtag in their content plans too.

Spend time creating compelling, engaging content – don’t let it all be about selling tickets. Ask insightful questions, tantalise your audience with sneak peeks of what you have planned, tell a story and use strong imagery.

Assign a social media team to manage the social streams during the course of the event. They can share shots of the set-up, initiate conversations with potential attendees and respond to any posts which come in about the event. Retweet great comments and images, making sure to always use the hashtag and keep the conversation going with those who are also posting. Frequent iteration of the hashtag will help you climb the trending escalator!

Location, location, location

Add an extra dimension to your sharing. Turn on the location services on your social platforms and encourage attendees and sponsors to use them when creating their own posts. Allowing geo-tagging gives an extra way for people to find your event, meaning that those looking at other things going on at your venue will see your content and that of your attendees as well.

Set the scene

Create some arresting Instagram-worthy corners. Perhaps a flower wall, a green screen or even a photo booth. Encourage your attendees to make use of it and always have a notice with the official hashtag nearby and a request to tag relevant accounts.

Here at Tobacco Dock, we offer countless photo opportunities in our Grade 1 listed, history saturated venue. Whether it’s the industrial stylings inside, the masts of the dry-docked ships on our Quayside or the breath-taking views from Skylight, our rooftop bar, your attendees will be spoilt for choice when it comes to striking backdrops.

Should you have enough budget for it, hire a professional photographer and get them to share images throughout the event over your social accounts. Strong imagery always invokes the best responses from audiences, particularly on the more visual platforms such as Instagram.

Under the influence

One of the most powerful tools you can have in your social marketing arsenal is a well-placed influencer. So-called because of the tremendous levels of sway they have over their ‘followers’, influencers are a brilliant way to get authentic endorsements for your brand, product or event. Through their carefully curated blogs and social accounts, they work hard to build a relationship with their audience and create a bond of trust, as well as showcasing an aspirational lifestyle.

We’ve all heard of the bloggers with millions of followers, but often you’ll find greater value in using those with smaller followings but with greater relevance to your event. The ‘micro-influencer’ (those with a following of between 1,000-10,000) often has a far more engaging relationship with their followers and often focus on more niche subject areas, which may be the perfect fit for you.

When it comes to choosing the right influencer, it’s tempting to just go for the one with the most followers. If they post about your event, that means that all those millions of people will see it, right? Wrong! Far more important than the number of followers they have is the level of engagement they see. Look for a high proportion of ‘likes’ and comments on each of their posts. This is the strongest indicator that they have an engaged and dedicated fan base – perfectly placed to spread the word about your event to the right audience.

Be prepared to put a little budget behind this – the days of bloggers coming to cover events or lend support to products in exchange for free tickets are over. However, professional bloggers will be able to clearly explain what value they are able to lend you.

By that same token, be very clear about what you are expecting from them in terms of coverage and ask for their metrics after the event to help extract their value.

Stoke the FOMO fires

A well-timed competition in the run-up to your event is a great way to create social chatter around your event. Our advice would be to keep it simple, be clear about what the prize is and when you’ll be choosing the winner.

Adapt your competition to what it is you’re hoping to achieve. Want to extend the reach of your hashtag and grow followers? Run a simple ‘retweet and follow’ competition or ask users to answer tagging friends they would like to share the prize with. Want to drive people to your website? Ask a question that they can only answer by finding out information from there. Be sure to include a trackable, shortened link and you’ll be able to see how many visits were as a result of your competition.

Be sure to follow up your competition with a clear announcement of your winner and a link to your ticket site for those who didn’t win but don’t want to miss the opportunity to go to the event.

We wish you the best of luck in building your next event and, if you’re holding it here, look forward to supporting you in getting all the coverage you deserve.