Promoting your events through social media event marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to generate ticket sales. The truth is that if you build it (i.e., an event website and ticket sales page), they won’t come. That’s the reality of the internet. There are simply so many websites out there today that creating an event website and ticket sales page doesn’t guarantee ticket sales anymore.
In addition to publishing your event website and ticket sales page, you need to go where the people are, and the vast majority of the online audience spends time using social media. You need to be there, too! If you’re not, you’re losing ticket sales. It really is that simple.
Social Media Event Marketing – Where to Invest Time and Money
As with any marketing investment, you should spend money on opportunities that put you in front of your target audience. All social media tools aren’t the same. They have different audiences and work best for different types of social media event marketing.
Facebook boasts 1.9 billion users every month. More specifically, 83% of all online women and 75% of all online men use Facebook every month. Most Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 49. Facebook users respond best to content that is not promotional. This is a site that is very much pay-to-play. In other words, if you don’t invest in advertising, it’s hard to get noticed on Facebook.
In total, Twitter has 347 million unique users every month. This includes 15% of all online women and 22% of all online men. Most users are between the ages of 18 and 29. The broad Twitter audience likes quick-hit, informational content.
LinkedIn has 106 million unique monthly users, including 27% of all online women and 31% of all online men. LinkedIn users are professionals and interested in business, career, and related topics. They want educational and thought leadership content, and they do not like promotional content.
Instagram has 700 million unique monthly users, which includes 38% of all online women and 26% of all online men. Approximately 90% of the Instagram audience is under age 35. The site is intended for image and video content.
Snapchat has 300 million active users each month, and 70% of them are female. In total, 71% of Snapchat users are under age 34, and 45% are between 18 and 26 years of age. Since content published to Snapchat has a short lifespan (content self-deletes about 10 seconds after it’s viewed), content published there needs to deliver immediate results to the audience.
Pinterest has 317 unique visitors per month, which includes 45% of all online women and 17% of all online men. There is a fairly even age distribution between 18 and 64 years old. Users generally like image content related to how-to, do-it-yourself, aspirations, and creativity.
YouTube has 1 billion monthly users. Approximately 45% of YouTube users are women and 55% are male. Most users are between the ages of 18 and 49. YouTube is used for video content, but as the second largest search engine in the world, it should not to be undervalued as part of your social media event marketing plan.
10 Ways to Use Social Media Event Marketing to Sell More Tickets
Your goal with social media event marketing is to publish, share, and engage beyond self-promotion. Yes, you want to hype your event, but you also want to create a brand story. What does your event promise to attendees? Use content to make that story immersive and spark a fear of missing out (FOMO) in your audience. Telling a story through content helps create an emotional connection between your event brand and the audience, which can greatly help your ticket sales.
To help you get started, following are 10 key steps you should take to improve your social media event marketing results and sell more tickets.
1. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles and Pages
Every social media profile or page that you use to directly and indirectly promote your event should be optimized to boost interest among prospective attendees and to increase ticket sales. People judge social media profiles and pages on their first impressions, so if you can’t interest them within a few seconds, you could lose your chance.
With that in mind, here are several things you should do immediately to optimize your social media profiles and pages:
- Edit the bio and/or about sections of your profiles and pages to promote your event. Use intriguing messages that pique the attention of visitors. Also, include relevant keywords and a link to your ticket sales page.
- Create an eye-catching, relevant heading image and/or avatar image that promotes your event and includes the ticket sales page URL within the image.
- Include your event hashtag (see #5 below) in your social media bios and heading images.
- On your Facebook Page, use the CTA button (call-to-action button) feature and link it directly to your ticket sales page.
2. Leverage Advertising and Retargeting
Most social media sites offer advertising opportunities. On Facebook, invest in ads and boost posts. In addition, always track each ad’s performance so you can use retargeting ads to improve your results.
You can also advertise on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. Choose the best social media site to reach your target audience, and test different messages, images, and ad types to find the best performing mix.
3. Publish Images
Publish photos and visual content from previous events (particularly of performers, speakers, and attendees having fun), behind the scenes photos leading up to your current event, and any other images that help tell your story. Remember, the goal is to generate excitement and sharing so people can’t resist attending. Images help people feel like they’re part of an experience, and social media users respond extremely well to them in terms of engagement and sharing.
4. Use Video and Livestreaming
Videos and livestreaming (especially on Facebook Live) help to make people feel like they’re connected to an event, so use them liberally. Videos uploaded directly to Facebook generally perform better than videos uploaded to YouTube or another video hosting site and then shared to Facebook.
Therefore, upload videos directly to Facebook when you can, but be sure to publish your videos on YouTube as well, so you can share them on other social networks, embed them in your website and blog, and encourage other people to share and embed them, too. Remember, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, so don’t forget about it!
5. Add Hashtags
Hashtags are primarily used on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+. The purpose of hashtags is to help people find content they’re interested in. You can create a unique hashtag for your event and use it on everything you produce to encourage people to share it and use it themselves.
Be sure to search a site like Hashtags.org or Hashtagify.me to confirm no one else is using your desired hashtag before you adopt it. Also, use your hashtag in posts based on each social media site’s audience’s preferences. On Twitter, users are okay with one or two hashtags in a post, but on Instagram, the more you use, the better.
6. Hold Contests
Holding contests for free tickets, free performer merchandise, free drink or food vouchers, upgraded seats, and so on can be extremely effective in marketing your event and generating excitement that leads to work-of-mouth marketing and increased ticket sales.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are some of the most popular social media sites to hold contests. You can create and manage your contests manually, using tools within each specific social network (e.g., Facebook has a Contests app), or using a third party tool like ShortStack, Woobox, or Wishpond.
7. Create and Share Branded Assets
Create branded assets so it’s as easy as possible for people to talk about and share your event with their own audiences (both online and offline). Attendees, members of the media, vendors, partners, and more might want to use your event logo, photos, graphics, videos, email message scripts, and more in their own social media posts, marketing campaigns, and so on.
To that end, create a page on your event website that includes a variety of content people can download such as logos, sample social media updates, images, sample email messages, sample blog posts, videos, and more. Also, be sure to include short descriptions of your event that are easy to copy and paste anywhere. Clearly state on this download page that these assets can be used without asking for permission first.
If you’re worried about how people will use your event’s branded assets, you can include a list of guidelines or restrictions on the download page, but keep in mind, the more guidelines and restrictions you create, the fewer people will use the assets and the less promotion your event will get. That likely means you’ll sell fewer tickets.
8. Optimize Your Own Content
Create a content publishing and sharing calendar leading up to your event so you know what you’re publishing, where you’re publishing it, and why you’re publishing it. Also, optimize the content you publish by taking some simple steps such as:
- Pin your best post to the top of your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram fees.
- Add a link to your ticket sales page at the end of articles you write and publish on LinkedIn.
- Include the link to the ticket sales page at the end of all of your email messages.
In other words, for every piece of content you publish that isn’t necessarily directly related to your event, think about how you can use it to gently promote your event at the same time.
9. Crowdsource User-Generated Content
You don’t have to create all of your content by yourself. Ask people to share their images and videos related to your event, too. You can get a lot of submissions by holding a photo contest, or you can simply ask your followers to share a photo of themselves or answer a question that you pose.
For example, if you’re holding an annual air show, ask your followers to share photos from the previous year’s show. If you’re holding a fair, ask people answer the question, “What are you most excited for at this year’s fair?” If you’re holding a concert, ask your followers to share photos of themselves with their favorite album by the performer, holding tickets from previous contests they’ve attended, or wearing a T-shirt or other piece of the performer’s merchandise.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! User-generated content can significantly increase the fear of missing out, which leads to more ticket sales.
10. Share Quotes and Testimonials
Quotes and testimonials can be very effective for any kind of event. You can publish text quotes and testimonials, but take it a step further and the results will be significantly better. For example, turn quotes from a previous event into images. If the quote is from a speaker for your upcoming event, create an image using a photo of the speaker and overlay the quote on top of the image. Tools like GetStencil, PicMonkey, and Canva offer free and affordable ways to create these kinds of quote images.
You can also try to get people to provide quotes and testimonials on video. Before your event, ask people to record themselves on their smartphones or webcams, so you can publish them on YouTube, embed them on your event website, and share them as part of your social media event marketing strategy. At your upcoming event, have a video camera ready to capture testimonials. You can use these to promote the event next time you hold it.
Your Next Steps with Social Media Event Marketing
Above are just some of the ways you can use social media event marketing to increase ticket sales for your next event. The key is to understand that no matter what type of event you’re holding or where you’re holding it, there are people using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube who might want to buy tickets.
It’s easy to find your audience because you know where they spend time – on social media. You just need to get active, get in front of them, and make them believe your event is worth their time and money. Use the 10 ideas described in this article, and you’ll be on your way to a sell-out event!