There are lots of reasons why you should organise your own online event, not least that it helps to raise your own profile, to position yourself as a thought leader and to share your expertise and knowledge with others.
It is hard to beat the atmosphere, the excitement and the fun of in-person events; but a recent health pandemic has forced a lot of event organisers to rethink how they present their event; and the rise of online platforms has allowed events to be moved online. And so it is very important to have a plan on how to promote your event in a crowded marketplace.
Here are my top five tips to marketing your online event:
1. Create a unique event web page
It is vital that you have a unique web page for your event; it becomes a hub for your event information - time, date, location, ticket information, speaker profiles and sponsor details. In addition, you can create a shortened URL that you can track traffic going to your website and analyse data.
2. Share on Social Media
Use your unique URL to share your event webpage across relevant social media platforms - Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Facebook is the most obvious place to start, with the ability to create your own event page where you can link directly to your ticket site, add photos and video content and send reminders to attendees.
LinkedIn has developed new features that will allow you to create an event listing and link to your ticket site, invite your LinkedIn connections and keep attendees up-to-date with event information. You can create an event using your personal profile or company page - great way to grow your LinkedIn presence with a professional network.
Instagram is wholly image driven. Perhaps share an image of previous speakers on stage, or share a graphic of this year’s speakers “I’m speaking at …”. Or why not use Instagram to get feedback on venue location, or ask opinion on what should go into a goody bag - not only are you getting engagement on your social media content, you’re also informing and reminding your audience of your upcoming event.
Once your organic reach starts to grow, boost your event awareness and engagement with targeted paid social ads. Get creative with your ad set and develop ad sets that engage, generate user-generated content and maybe consider including a give-a-way.
3. Create content that promotes your event
It is important to note that the content you create should offer tangible value to your audience and not be overtly salesy / self-promotional.
Your content strategy should include your event, so if you have a blog post include reference to your event. Consider writing a guest blog or podcast guest, to widen your audience reach; in general don’t miss an opportunity to promote your event.
Here are some content ideas: blog posts, video footage to promote speakers, live Q&A on social media answering queries from potential attendees, video and photo collage of your previous events including testimonial of what attendees enjoyed and learned.
4. Include an event link in your email signature
Your email signature, when done right, can be a professional and non-salesy way to promote your event. A few lines and a simple “learn more” link through to your dedicated web page can be enough to get people interested.
Having your own email list of targeted leads can be a very powerful marketing tool. If you are creating content that is of value and interest to your audience, why not build an email lead and ask for an email address in exchange. With an engaged email audience, you can send them a special email invitation 3 months in advance - perhaps with an Early Bird ticket price or VIP special offer and then use your weekly / monthly newsletter to include an event reminder.
In conclusion, there are lots of tools that you can use to market your event. Creating content that specifically promotes your event along with content that drives engagement are great ways to market your event without being self promoting.
Written by: Ashleigh Watson, host of Social Media Savvy ~ a two-day online social media conference. taking place 17 & 18 September and featuring speakers from Twitter and LinkedIn.