7 tips on how to use social media to promote a convention.
Updated: Mar 14
In-person conventions are back! Many conventions are being held as ‘hybrid’ events which allow attendees to be present at the event either in-person or virtually. Regardless of how attendees are attending these conventions, the immense value of conventions remains the same. Conventions are an incredible way to network, get inspired, gain valuable industry insights, and expose your business’ services/products. That said, throwing an event is only as valuable as the number of exhibitors & attendees who register for the event; because, if no one attends your event then there isn’t much value in it. Fortunately, there are a few tips & tricks that we are going to share with you which will help you build hype and drive FOMO deep into your target audience on social media. Before we get into those tips & tricks, we want to share with you why you should hold a convention, what to have at your event to attract more people, & lastly how to keep your event safe.
After reading this article you will be much more knowledgeable about how to use social media to promote a convention.
Why You Should Hold a Convention.
Hosting an event is one of the best ways to build awareness around your products/services. Whether your event is a quick online virtual event, an evening gathering of 40-50 people at your store, or a multi-day convention with hundreds of attendees; a well-executed event can propel your business to all new levels of exposure & ultimately improve your bottom line. When you host an event, you also create an opportunity for your guests/attendees to create & share photos/videos of your business to social media platforms. This is incredibly valuable because now your business is being exposed online to potentially tens of thousands of people (if not more). From our experience in using the tactics listed below we have helped businesses small & medium sized increase their average attendance 250%.
What to Have at Your Convention to Attract People to Attend?
Hosting events can seem daunting especially for business owners/hosts who may be more introverted. The good news is that there are a few things you can supply your guests to help break the ice & help attract more attendees. First & foremost: food. People have been gathering around a table to share a meal for millennia, and today is no different. You don’t need to break the bank either; simple food options like small bags of chips or a popcorn machine will allow your attendees to snack on something while they enjoy your event. If you’re hosting a larger convention, be sure to serve food or to have food vendors such as food trucks present at your event. Additionally, you can always point your attendees to tasty restaurants in the local area where your guests can enjoy an unforgettable dining experience. A second must-have at your event is music. There are many music options which fit all budgets, but a few options include playing music from a smart phone & portable speaker, a professional DJ with professional speakers, or you hire a band to play LIVE music. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to have a competition with prizes OR a raffle. You can always attract more attendees to your events if you offer free stuff in the form of prizes/raffle. Perhaps you’re a clothing boutique hosting a party, you could entice attendees to attend your event by offering a FREE $50 gift certificate to your store for one lucky raffle winner. You could also gather attendees’ email addresses for future email marketing campaigns in exchange for a raffle ticket. More on email marketing strategies to come in future blog posts!
How to Keep Your Event Safe
Safety has always been a priority for event hosts but today it is especially important. COIVD-19 has taught society that global pandemics are very serious and very dangerous, and it is very important for event hosts to take the necessary steps to keep all their attendees safe. A great option for keeping everyone safe is to offer your event as a hybrid; that is, host your event both in-person & virtually online. There are plenty of virtual event hosting platforms including hopin.com which are incredibly useful in helping your event reach those who feel safer from the comfort of their own homes. Additionally, if you plan to serve alcohol or if your event will have a large number of attendees you may need to adhere to local & state laws pertaining to security guards at your event.
7 Tips on How to Use Social Media to Promote a Convention
Now for the 7 tips on how to use digital marketing for event promotion.
1 Create an Event on Facebook & Linkedin
Both Facebook & Linkedin have dedicated event integrations which allow businesses to create events with vital information pertaining to your event. Information including date, time, location, additional information, & a discussion board for your event. Both Linkedin & Facebook allow you to upload images for your event, so be sure to select a visually striking image which will make your potential attendees want to share your event to their networks. Once you have created your event you absolutely must share your event link to relevant groups on Facebook & Linkedin.
2 Create Content Specifically for That Event’s Discussion Page
Congratulations you have created your event on Facebook/Linkedin! Now you need to create content which is dedicated to promoting your event. Remember that clothing boutique party we referred to above? You could create dedicated content for your event by posting a video saying, “Our party is going to be giving away a $50 gift certificate to one lucky attendee of our event! All you have to do is attend our party and enter into our raffle to win!” This video can then mention the event in the caption and keep your event front of mind for your potential attendees. One very important thing to do once you’ve created event-specific content is to share that content to your event’s discussion page. Both Facebook & Linkedin event pages have discussion subpages which allows hosts & attendees to post photos & videos in anticipation for the event. When you share content to discussions your attendees get notified and reminded about your event and ultimately builds FOMO for your event!
3 Boost a Post for the Event
Boosting your event on Facebook delivers a significant ROI. This is because when you boost an event on Facebook you get a 2 for 1 special. Not only do you get to build exposure for your event & ultimately get more attendees to your event, you also get the opportunity to invite people who ‘Like’ your event to ‘Like’ your page as well. From our experience in boosting events on Facebook we receive about a 10% conversion when inviting people to like our page. When your invites start converting to follower your Facebook page will have more people following it and thus more opportunity to reach new customers AND more people who would be interested in attending future events. We can’t recommend boosting events on Facebook & Linkedin enough!
4 Collaborate on LIVE Content with Industry Relevant Individuals
Want your event to reach more people but you don’t want to pay for ads? Want your event to reach more people in addition to paying for ads? Then collaborating with industry relevant individuals via going LIVE on Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, etc… is just for you! Reach out to customers, vendors, influencers, or executives & ask them if they would be interested in doing a LIVE interview to talk about something pertaining to your event. LIVE collaborations are a great way to expose your event because you now are leveraging the network of your interviewee. Depending on the ‘following’ that your interviewee has you could potentially reach thousands of people with your LIVE interview. Many social media platforms have their own LIVE interfaces, but if you want to go live on multiple social media platforms simultaneously then you will need to use a software such as Restream.IO. LIVE streaming is incredibly important in all digital marketing campaigns, but it is very important for promoting conventions & events. You can also share you LIVE links to your event’s discussion board as mentioned above.
5 Ask Your Exhibitors & Attendees to Share Your Event Content
Okay so you have created content specifically for your event & you have gone LIVE to discuss your event & relevant information about your event. Now it is time to reach out to your exhibitors & attendees and ask them kindly to share your content to their networks. They can either share your content via the ‘share’ buttons most social media platforms have or you can send them the content via email to post directly to their accounts. This again will allow you to leverage the networks of many other accounts and ultimately reach many more potential attendees. Additionally, most parts of the country have local social media accounts which highlight local events. You can reach out to those accounts, or you can tag those accounts in your posts to make sure they are informed about your event!
6 Give Discounts on Products/Services Which Will be Useful at Your Event.
A great way to build excitement for your event & to build digital exposure for your event is to give discounts on products/services which are useful at your event. If you’re hosting a convention, you could do a giveaway on social media saying, “If you tag two friends in this post & share it to your story then you will be entered into our drawing to win FREE ACCOMMODATION at our event”. Giveaway posts are incredibly useful and popular on social media for businesses ranging from fortune 500 companies to start ups still in their garages.
7 Throw a Really Good Event!
The most important thing to do in marketing your event is to throw a really good event! This will allow your attendees to create their own content around your event and build FOMO in those who did not attend. We recommend having large banners or signs reminding attendees to tag your business in their social media content. People often need to be told what to do so don’t be afraid to jump on the microphone and remind everyone to share a photo or video to their social media accounts and to tag your business in their posts.
Now that you know the best practices in promoting a convention, we wish you luck in your endeavors. If you have any questions then please feel free to reach out! If you are hosting an event but you don’t have time to promote the event on social media, then submit a form on our contact us page. We would love to help you build exposure for your events & for your business!
Written by Peter Markel on September 13, 2021