Let’s be real for a minute… in a day and age where social media brings a whole new meaning to “word of mouth”, there is no excuse for not promoting the heck out of an event where you need attendance. With so many options and platforms to choose from, your only work is really writing up what the event is about and making sure you press “send” enough times to the right spots. In the old days, you’d need months to get something the exposure it needed, plus have to mail things (email? pshh!), but not any more: you need a calendar, maybe a spreadsheet of deadlines for print/broadcast media, an email service provider, and a plan of the social media channels you’ll use. Do things correctly and timely, you can significantly increase the number of people who hear, see, and learn about your event which in turn increases the potential number of attendees. After all, you can’t expect people to attend an event that they know nothing about!
The important highlights include:
- Save the date- first and foremost, you should send out a save the date notice as soon as the event is first scheduled. This creates a quick mental connection for that specific date that something may be going on.
- Create a Facebook Event page- be sure to make the event public, so that as others join and share, their Facebook following may also join the group. It is important to load an image that both describes the event but also catches the attention of users so that it will get shared and let others know they are attending. Make sure to mention it occasionally, keeping in mind not everyone is reading your messaging at the same time as you post.
- Utilize your Twitter account to promote the event- send out regular Tweets about the event, details, how to get involved, where to find it, and why your followers should care. Twitter streams can sometimes become too “loud”, causing some users to simply skim through the tweets without really focusing on what they are saying. It is important to create tweets that are not only insightful, but clever as well.
- Create some sort of contest or incentive within Twitter and/or Facebook- this creates more buzz and gets the users more engaged with your event page. If you offer some sort of incentive for their getting involved, spreading the word about your event, and eventually showing up on the actual day, this gives people more of a tangible reason for attending the event, rather than simple curiosity.
- Utilize a registration tool- sites such as Eventbrite offer an easy and reliable way to register attendees to various events, as well as keep them updated on the latest details regarding events in their area.
- Ask those who have committed to attend to help promote it- this goes back to the power of word of mouth via social media vehicles. If you ask those who have already RSVP’ed to the event to help promote via their own personal social media pages, this widens the reach of your event to hundreds, maybe even thousands more.
As the event date gets closer, you may also want to use a few (or all!) of the following to promote the event as well:
- Send reminders via eNewsletter- if you have a steady readership and send out regular newsletters, be sure to include information about the event as it gets closer, and include a link so people can learn more and register. If you do it right, they will receive multiple reminders ahead of time and even share it with others.
- Press release- sending out press releases to choice media outlets is a great way to promote your event in more “mainstream” channels. Press releases also add an extra touch of credibility, since someone not directly related will be reporting on and discussing your event, i.e., the press.
- Flyers!- Assemble a street team in the days leading up to the event and have them distribute and hang flyers all around town. Flyers have to ability to reach even the those who aren’t active on social media sites and if the design is cool, it might even hang around for others to see.
A general rule of thumb when promoting an event, especially one where attendance is key: to get higher attendance you need to get the word out! Use as many channels as possible and be creative! The more people you reach with some intriguing details, the higher the likelihood they will show up the day of your next great event. Photo Credit: Paul-WShare