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How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Virtual Events

Around 3.2 billion people use social media every day, making the act of going online synonymous with logging onto social media. Many marketers have, hence, realized the potential of the space to not just promote their events but to also increase audience engagement, build excitement for upcoming events, improve participation, and enhance the audience’s experience.
Amid the rapidly changing digital landscape of 2021, it becomes even more important to embrace social media as a tool to increase your reach. Here are some ways you can employ to promote your event through social media.

How to choose the best social media platforms to boost your event

Not all social media platforms are appropriate for use for all types of events. Some platforms are good for holding discussions, while others provide a higher engagement rate. Your platform will have to fit in with your industry, event themes, target audience and your goals. Here are some things to consider while picking yours:
Instagram: Since this is a visual platform, it offers many promotional opportunities through photos, videos and visually appealing posters.
Of note: The actual traffic and sales from Instagram would be a lot lower than other platforms.
Twitter: Although it has a lot fewer total active users as compared to Facebook, LinkedIn or even Instagram, it offers a higher engaged audience. It is easier to get your post or content trending on Twitter.
Facebook: Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world which means almost every possible target customer will be present on the platform. This makes it a good place to share comments, event messages, and even create an event page.
LinkedIn: This is the best place to announce corporate news and events, or to reach out to knowledge professionals, decision-makers, and executives.
Of note: Write long form posts (around 100-250 words) to drive a high amount of traffic to your event.
Snapchat: Snapchat is the best platform for when your event caters to teenagers and younger adults, although it will need a constant stream of content tobe effective.
Of note: ou can promote your event through Geo-Filters to target new customers.
Upgrade your social profiles
Revisit your event’s pages on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, and make sure they’re up to date with information like:
  • Date and time of your event
  • Event agenda
  • Speaker bios
  • Registration links
  • Payment options
Optimize your headers, company descriptions, and “about us” sections. Make sure to stay consistent across all your channels – including usernames, URLs, headers, and descriptions – so people can easily follow all your pages.
Paid Promotions
Paid promotions are the most widely utilized method of advertising and reaching your target audience. Use AB testing methods to create at least three different ads per campaign and see which ad is performing better than others based on clicks or conversion rates.
Instagram and Facebook allow you to focus your promotional activities on certain audiences through filters like age-group, gender, location, and the people who have searched for particular keywords. You can also use LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads to have users fill out a form and be driven to a landing page.
Of note: According to Hubspot, Facebook is the social media channel that provides marketers with the highest ROI.
Leverage hashtags
Using hashtags is an easy way to double the engagement your posts receive. Hashtags are a good way to create buzz around your event and track it by identifying how frequently they were used.
Your hashtag must be unique, memorable and easy for your target audience to remember. Make sure you create a few hashtags that cover your brand name (or event name), and the topic/theme of your event.
Of note: Tools like Hashtagify allow you to find hashtags related to a particular keyword and check their popularity. Keyhole is another analytics tool that helps keep track of your hashtags’ reach, gives you insights about sentiment and demographics, etc.
Influencer Marketing
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You can collaborate with relevant industry influencers to improve visibility for your event, or even create a dedicated co-branded video with them. This cross promotion can work in an organic or paid manner depending on what your arrangement is with the influencer.
However, it’s extremely important to pick the right platform and influencer based on your niche, event topic and target audience.
Of note: Micro-influencers have been found to have an average engagement rate of 3.86%. on Instagram – better than the 1.21% for mega-influencers. Leverage influencers between 1,000 and 100,000 followers since they’ll be more relevant to your niche and have a stronger relationship with their audience.
Use Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
This can help you narrow down on communities that might be interested in your event. Engage with them and establish your brand as an industry leader by relating how your event can benefit people instead of promoting it outright. This can also be a great place to get feedback after your event is over.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are a great way to drive traffic to a registration or landing page, release information about your online event, build hype and generate attendee engagement with in-app polls and quizzes.
Use Live Streams
Social media live streams – across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even YouTube – are a good way to expand your reach and create connections in real-time. To ensure your streams have the best results, make sure they’re longer than 10 minutes to attract as many users as possible.
Of note: According to Facebook Live, users spend more than thrice the amount of time on a video when it is live, while 30% of people who watch a livestream of an event will attend it the following year.
Create a Social Wall
Your event can have its own social wall, using live social displays or an embedded wall to show social media posts shared by your attendees, speakers, and sponsors; this creates a dedicated virtual audience.
Of note: Google has used social walls quite effectively in several large-scale international events through huge on-site displays, real-time social streams, etc. The social media walls at the Chrome Dev Summit and Android Dev Summit are some good examples.
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Use Custom Filters
Customs filters on Instagram and Snapchat can be used to encourage people to share their selfies using them. This content is not only a way to organically promote your event to audiences who might not have heard of it, but can also be used on your event’s social wall or digital display.
Create Countdowns
Many platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer the ability to create countdowns for upcoming events or announcements. These countdowns can also contain links to relevant assets or the event registration page.
Create a Facebook Event
Over 700 million people use Facebook Events each month – you should too. Facebook Events offer an extra layer of promotion and can help drive event registrations from unexpected audiences. Make sure to write a compelling event description and display your ticketing link prominently.
Repost Attendee-generated Content
Your channel should ideally feature pictures that your attendees took during your event. This will encourage others to post their event-related content so that they can get featured as well. This can be done along with posting event highlights.

Conclusion

73% of marketers have admitted that social media has been “very effective” in their promotion efforts. Although traditional promotion tactics are here to stay, no digital marketer can hope to host an event without charting out the course for its social media handles. These platforms have become increasingly effective in expanding audience awareness and participation for virtual events.
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