May 1, 2014 |

Harness your events with social media

By Denise Greer

Branding experts offer tips on re-introducing yourself to customersIt’s Kentucky Derby Week in Pizza Today’s home city of Louisville. My social media feeds are jam-packed with restaurants trying to get me to come to their special Derby events. The effectiveness of restaurants’ social media efforts can make or break events like these, especially when there are so many options all happening at the same time.

Social media should be one of the first considerations in event planning. I meet operators all of the time who host several community events at their pizzerias each year. I may be biased, but I think pizzeria operators are some of the most passionate citizens in their local areas.

Recently, I can across an interesting advice blog post about how to use social media to enhance events on Business2Community. It is well worth a read.

Let’s talk pre-event prep.  Whether, you are throwing a party for a major event happening in your city, like the Kentucky Derby,  hosting a fundraiser or celebrating a milestone, first outline what the event is with a detailed description. Then establish who it is you are trying to reach on social media. People go to the various social platforms for, in many cases, very different reasons and how you approach each network should be reflective of that network’s purpose. You need to come up with something short and sweet for Twitter. But for Instagram, maybe you want to use a humorous or eye-catching photo with a dynamite description. Create a public event in Facebook to invite your page fans to. Don’t forget to encourage them to share it on their Facebook feeds. A call-to-action will help word spread about your event.

As soon as you nail down a date and time, post creative teasers on all of your social feeds to spark initial interest.

Identify key customers and community members to reach out to on social media to help you spread the word. Your devoted base will be more than willing to help, I assure you. Don’t forget local bloggers, media pros, local events site administrators – if the event is engaging and community-focused they will post to all of their social networks, too.

The key that drives social sharing is the CONTENT, so spend some time creating the copy. It’s not enough to merely state the name of the event, time and date. You need to hook them in that this is an event that they CAN’T miss. This is an opportune time to bring your employees in on brainstorming content ideas.

Leveraging your events with social promotion can turn an average turnout into record-breaking. But, in order to see results, you must do the work in the planning stage.

Tips to Enhance Your Events via Social Media also give great advice on ‘At-Event Communications’ and ‘Post-Event Continuity.’