Social Media Marketing for Conferences: 4 Ideas for Attracting Attendees
Increase engagement before, during, and after your big event.
When you’re putting on a conference, you want to make sure that your event gets out to the public. But simply creating an event on Facebook or putting up a new blog post won’t always cut it when it comes to attracting the amount of attendees you might want. Don’t worry though, there are several other ways that you can use social media marketing for your conference to garner more interest, increase ticket sales, and guarantee people want to come back. Here are 4 tips on social media marketing for conferences and how you can attract more attendees.
1. Post About Your Event on Multiple Channels
This one might seem obvious, but it’s still important to cover. Depending on the type of conference you’re planning, your target audience may be spread across all social media platforms, or focused on just one or two. Either way, it’s essential to create content for multiple channels so that your conference can reach as many eyes as possible. Here are some ideas for making that happen.
Know Your Audience
Knowing which social media platforms to post on starts with knowing who your audience is and where they spend their time online. If you don’t already have a deep understanding of who your target demographic is, now is the time to dive deep into market research and creating customer personas. You should have a clear understanding of exactly who you’re talking to and then can review usage demographics by platform, to create a clear plan for targeting the right people in the right online spaces.
Consider the Type of Content
Each platform has a certain form of content that usually does better than others. For example, it’s been shown that videos performs best on Facebook. GIFs are great for Twitter, and live video and stories are perfect for Instagram. Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t post videos on Instagram or go live on Facebook, but you should be looking into the forms of content that are going to perform best on each platform. From there, you can create a strategy that produces video, blog posts, photos, and more, and targets audiences on different platforms.
Utilize Cross-Platform Branding
When promoting your conference, you want to make sure that all the content you’re putting out can be clearly identified as a part of your brand. Whether that means adding your logo and brand colors to photos and videos or using the same hashtag for all of your conference content, you want to have a clear brand across all platforms.
2. Interact with Your Event’s Audience
This is another tip that you might think is a no-brainer, but there’s a little bit more to audience interaction than meets the eye. Simply putting content out on your platforms does not count as interaction. I know, crazy right? Now, it can seem like a challenge to respond to all the comments and questions on your posts, especially if you’re posting content on multiple platforms, but taking the time to engage really is worth it. Here are some tips on engaging with your audience before, during and after your conference.
Create an Event Hastag & Reshare Attendee Posts
The secret to social media marketing for conferences is having an event hashtag and telling people about it in as many ways as possible. Post it on your website, include it in the program, add it to your slides and have it posted with WiFi information on the walls. Make sure your emcee and room moderators frequently remind people of the hashtag and ask them to use it. The more you ask and remind, the more use your hashtag will see!
Once people are using your hashtag and posting during sessions, make sure that you comment back to them and reshare their posts on your platforms. There is no better way to showcase the awesomeness of your event than by sharing an attendee’s great experience, and resharing their posts will typically encourage your attendees to post more, which is even better for your overall engagement and message amplification.
Reply in a Timely Manner
Replying quickly is an important part of engaging with your audience. Whether it’s a question or general comment, you want to show that user that you care about what they have to say. Additionally, if you don’t respond quickly, there’s a chance for that user to get incorrect information from another source, or to become upset and leave negative comments or reviews.
Move Your Conversations to a Private Setting
When you come across detailed questions or negative comments, you may want to move the conversation to a more private setting. The easiest way to do this is to leave a comment in response that asks that user to private or direct message you with more details. This way, you can take the time to answer their question more thoughtfully, or prevent them from leaving further negative comments in public replies with you.
Don’t Delete Comments
Now, with few exceptions, you should never delete a comment from your posts, even if it’s negative. This can give the impression that you don’t care about your audience, or are just deleting negative comments to keep your image clean. In fact, the way that you reply to negative comments can show other users how you handle problems and that you value all opinions. There are sometimes that you get spam comments that can be deleted, but for the most part, the best course of action is to just simply reply.
Engage During the Conference
Make sure that you have someone who will be checking your social media accounts during the different parts of the conference. That way you can answer questions, repost pictures and quotes, and send out your own content during sessions or group gatherings. Here’s an example from Hootsuite during their Future of Social event:
3. Use Polls and Q&A’s
With all the new options that are being created with live video, Instagram stories, and Twitter polls, you can create a conference that caters to your users. That’s not to say that you should build your entire conference around audience suggestions, but they can still be helpful for certain elements. Using a Q&A session on Twitter or Facebook or adding a questions sticker to your Instagram story allows you to see what your audience is wondering about your event. This can also help open your eyes to changes you may need to make to ensure that your event is accessible and organized.
If you’re in the early stages of planning and still have some options to consider, try using a poll! Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all allow you to create polls within the platform. Whether they’re silly for fun engagement, or more serious for specific conference details, polls can really help you get to know your audience before the conference. For example, sending out a poll that asks whether a user is traveling to your conference or lives in the area gives you an opportunity for engagement and creation of community. You can give restaurant recommendations to those who are traveling, and ask locals for their tips on the city.
4. Give Sneak Peeks or Behind the Scenes Looks
Giving early looks at parts of your conference can help generate excitement for your event. It can also help your audience plan their trip! Giving early access to the schedule and speakers can help your attendees figure out which sections they want to be a part of. Showing a sneak peek of the event t-shirts or the fun your team is having while planning can help you get more engagement from attendees. This is easy to do with Instagram or Facebook stories, short videos on Twitter, or even a series of videos on YouTube.
Go Behind The Scenes
Behind the scenes looks help your attendees feel like they’re really a part of your conference, instead of just a stranger to your company. You can create videos of team members talking about what they’re most excited for, give a virtual tour of the space your conference is in, or even get blurbs from speakers about their expertise and their sessions or attendees about their favorite parts, like Lesbians Who Tech did, below. This will show your attendees how dedicated you are to making a successful event that they will enjoy being part of.
Need Help Marketing Your Conference?
Whether it’s your 1st conference or your 50th, social media marketing is a key part of attracting attendees. We’re ready to help you create a social media strategy that works for you, your social media platforms, and your conference. Are you ready to take the leap into social media marketing for your conference? Click here to get in touch with us. We can get you where you want to go.