Social media can be a wonderful tool to plan events, but can also be overwhelming as to where to start. Which site works best? Is this hashtag going to work? Let’s get rid of the chaos and break down each step into manageable pieces that can be applied to any social media site.
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Step One: Create an Events Page, 3 months before.
Think of this as the mothership of the event. All social sites are connected through it, and all information about the event is on it. Contact information, engaging content, as well as bios of all the participants should be on here. The homepage doesn’t have to be fancy, there is beauty in the basic, like Altitude Summit’s layout. It’s simple yet easy to navigate with a recognizable logo. This home site can be on any social media platform, events aren’t picky.
Step Two: Resources, 2.75 months before.
Fill up the Events Page with resources, such as links to the speakers, influencers that are spreading the word, and easily sharable content. Make it simple for visitors to use the site by naming each tab logically, like Comic-Con International’s events page. There’s so much information right on their first page. This is also the perfect time to make an introductory video that describes the basics of the event, addressing all the “who, what, where, when, and why” questions. If this is a physical event (not online only), add links to local hotels, airports, restaurants, and other essential information traveling attendees might need.
Step Three: Share with People, 2.5 months before.
Get the event out there by mentioning it to the public using social media communities. Start writing content and making videos about the event. Get creative with content by adding humor and practical information. Create a hashtag that is simple, relevant, but also doesn’t have any alternative (and unfortunate) meaning. See what people are talking about through analytics such as with TrueSocialMetrics (able to look at all social media accounts at once with this–definite time saver).
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Step Four: Promotions, 2 months before.
Give each speaker easy, sharable content that they can use to self promote. Write out a concise summary of all the event details for them to use, to stay consistent with each speaker. Retweet, repost, and hashtag relevant posts they write. Also, see what people are sharing and what content is getting the most hits. 90% of people trust their peer’s recommendations when considering purchasing a product, so getting quality testimonials is key to selling event tickets.
Step Five: Contests and Giveaways, 3 weeks before.
Reward loyal and eager attendees with contests and giveaways. Start a photo contest and announce fun giveaways of swag bags from the event sponsors. Swag can be anything from small customized pens and shirts to big ticket stuff such as airfare or electronics. Make sure to engage the more active members of the event by sending them direct links to these activities.
Step Six: Exclusive First Look, 1 week before.
Give attendees exclusive first looks or sneak peeks into the event to build anticipation. Behind the scenes films are a fun addition to add valuable exclusive content. Film tours of the event set up and interview event workers. When Lena Dunham’s book was a week from becoming available in stores, she filmed ten short films regarding subjects covered in her book, but in a fun advice-column style way. Be creative in how these first looks are presented for optimal sharing and event buzz.
Social media is a vast and ever changing landscape that can be hard know how to use to it’s full potential when it comes to event planning. To rise above the mayhem, organize a strategy using manageable steps and give each one a deadline. That way the event won’t loom as a drop-dead date, and the lead up can be just as fun as the event itself.