Lisa Buyer, president and CEO of the Buyer Group, will lead a workshop on “How to Power Your Events Using Social Media” during the Workshop Series at BizBash Live: The Expo, South Florida on April 23 at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. For more information, and to register, please visit www.bizbash.com/expofl
Working in the events industry, everyone needs to know how to market and promote events the right way. From before your event even starts until after the event ends, it is a long and full circle process.
With new technology and tools coming out every day, our industry has really evolved since it first started. Using Excel was the way to manage events, until all-in-one event management tools came along; as planners and event professionals we need to be able and willing to adapt to the new tools that our industry brings to us. Same can be said when it comes to promoting events.
That is where people like Lisa Buyer come in. As a public relations and corporate communication professional before the digital age, Lisa has become an expert in both traditional and non-traditional ways to promote events and products. We were given the chance to pick Lisa’s brain about the topic of promoting events with social media and jumped at the opportunity.
Before, During and After
When starting to promote your event, you need to think in PR stages: before, during and after. “Strategize and plan what types of pre-event publicity can be done; such as a press release, media relations, identify key influencers or bloggers and interact with them not just about the event,” said Buyer. You need to find different and interesting ways to get people excited about what your event is doing.
Talk about the behind the scenes of an event in an article or have key influencers or bloggers write about your session material before the event. Think about Twitter chats or Google Hangouts with key guests or speakers. Their wide audience will bring a lot of interest to your event. During your event, make sure to capture multiple angles of the event with interviews, videos, photos and more. You want to have a variety of ways to share your content post event. After all, you do want recurring attendees right?
Lisa told us that post event you need to “keep the party going.” The best way to do this is through social media. You can share after party stories, event video and recaps. Reach back out to some of your sponsors or speakers to get their experience of the event – It is a great way to do a recap post. Throughout all of this, don’t forget to optimize your event to get the most exposure. According to Lisa, using hashtags with both common and event specific key words work best. Have an event hashtag, but also use a GEO location hashtag for your attendees who want to check-in.
“Focus on event audience and let
that dictate the social media plan.”
You can promote your event all that you want, but if you aren’t reaching the right audience then what is the point? Find out who is in your event audience by industry and generation. You aren’t going to market to doctors the same way you would to restaurant owners. You also won’t market to millennials the same way you would for baby boomers.
Facebook is the largest social network and has the most opportunity for audience targeting, so it is a good option for whoever your audience is. “I recommend exploring the paid side of Facebook for event promotion,” said Buyer. Since organic reach on the social site has gone down, paid social advertisement is important. Other than Facebook, take a look at the social networks that your audience is on most. Snap Chat and Instagram are more for the younger generations, while LinkedIn does well for an older generation of executives and the entry level employees.
“Have an editorial plan in place so everyone has the
plan of story topics, hashtags, messages and visuals.”
The process of planning your event doesn’t have to be done alone either. When event professionals and PR professionals come together, they can make an unstoppable team. Lisa believes that:
“Event planners have more access to behind the scenes opportunities to capture images that might make a cool story, and PR pros can help stitch together background info, visuals and interesting factoids into a series of angles and story ideas. The more the event planner shares with the publicist, the more opportunity for idea generation. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.”
When you are in the process of setting up your social media and editorial plan, please make sure everyone on the same page. We asked Lisa how she is able to know that all parties will have a cohesive and consistent message when promoting an event. “Have a curated portfolio of visuals, images and video to keep momentum going after the event and if it’s an annual event it can be used in between” said Buyer. In order to stay consistent you also need push the same message, but in a different format. Having the same wording or visuals across multiple platforms could look bad.
“The best place to start a community
is from within another community!”
While promoting, it is important to build a community of like-minded individuals. Find the audience that fits with your type of event and start engaging. Lisa suggests looking at your email database. “If you have an email list with over 2500 names you can use that list to target in Facebook – an example of starting a community from your current community of customers, associates and prospects,” said Buyer. These are the people that you want on your side. Once you start engaging with your allies, they will bring their other associates on board by sharing your content!
Social Media + Events = Match Made in Heaven
When social media and events coming together, they change the way that we promote events. While the traditional press release isn’t gone, it has definitely evolved. Lisa said it best, “the press release has morphed into a social, mobile and visual way to report news.” It doesn’t have to be one page with detailed and corporate information. It can be a tweet or a blog post or even an interesting infographic. The key is to great creative when promoting your event and social media allows you to do that.
Lisa was able to provide us with just a snap shot of all that social media and events can do together. You can reach an even wider audience if you master promotion on all relevant social media sites. If you can’t make it to BizBash Live in Florida to hear Lisa speak, then take into account these five tips that Lisa left us to bring more exposure to your events:
- Learn how to optimize your event. Be smart about hashtags and keywords.
- Writing skills are KEY – Journalistic style writing, short form, and personality.
- To be most effective in social, especially Facebook – you need to pay to play. Hire someone who has experience in Facebook ads, proven experience on the last 6 months that keeps up with social media best practices. What worked last year does not necessarily work today.
- Promoted tweets and targeted newsfeed ads in Facebook are perfect for event exposure ad publicity.
- Treat your social networks as mini publications, understand the community for each.
If you are attending BizBash Live: The Expo, South Florida on April 23, we highly recommend that you DON’T MISS Lisa’s session on “How to Power Your Events Using Social Media.” If you care about maximizing your event exposure, strengthening your relationships, increasing media coverage and furthering your event’s reach on social networks, then you will be there!
Author of Social PR Secrets and named one of the top 40 digital strategists for 2013, Lisa Buyer is passionate and ambitious about how public relations, social media, and online marketing influence one another. She is president and C.E.O. of the Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and social agency located in Celebration, Florida, and editor for Social #PR Chat. Buyer writes for several industry publications and is a regular speaker with PubCon, SMX, ClickZ Live, and OMI, and she’s an instructor of the University of San Francisco’s online Advanced Social Media certificate program. She graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism.
Written by: Kristen Carvalho