Using social media to promote your events. Cheat Sheet for visual content.

Visual content is very appreciated and the mix between it and social media is irresistible, but not all event planners have the time to deal with the numerous social platforms that are available today. To help you I have created this cheat sheet for the main social media platforms and the photo dimensions that you should use on each of them. Visual content has the ability to instantly share emotions that your attendees felt while partying at your events and the purpose of this article is to help you better use social platforms when promoting your event(s).

As I’ve always said what works for one event planner doesn’t work for all and surely not all platforms will have the same impact when trying to engage your fans. Not all social media platforms will help you as much when promoting your event, or at least not in the same way. But to understand where attendees like to engage you we strongly recommend to use at least the following:

 

Photo dimensions for Facebook

With over 1.3 billion daily active users, Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform. We have talked about it before, in a dedicated article, about how to use it to promote your events. Today, before showing the right dimensions that you should set your FB picture, I just want to give you one more reason you should use it: over 60% of the marketers still consider it the most important social media platform¹.

cheatsheet with photo dimensions for facebook

 

Visual content on LinkedIn

The business-oriented social media platform may not be the best place to engage your attendees, but for sure is the best one to be seen by your future sponsors and partners. With over 550 million users (half of which are monthly active) LinkedIn is the best social platform for Business2Business marketing. Over 90% of B2B marketers use it, 72% of them seeing it as a good source for qualified leads².

visual content on LinkedIn

 

Photo dimensions for Twitter

Twitter is all about the momentum and a great way to share live insights from your event. There are 336 Million Monthly Active Users, 80% of which are affluent millennials³.

photo dimensions for twitter

Tip:

Video content is very powerful on every social platform, but its growth on Twitter is impressive. Remember that the length of a video on Twitter cannot exceed 140 seconds or a 1900 X 1200 px. resolution and that you cannot tag your attendees in Twitter videos.

 

How to use Pinterest to promote your events

Pinterest is great for those that are looking for fresh ideas and it’s the social media platform that really puts infographics to work. Creativity is at its best on Pinterest, so I dare you to show us the Top 10 reasons attendees love your festival or 7 ways to recycle during a festival. But it’s also great if you are looking for inventive ideas for your future events, so don’t neglect it when searching for some inspiration.

upload dimensions for Pinterest

 

Photo dimensions on Instagram

It’s not the first time we write about Instagram either. We have even posted a 2018 update on best features that you can use, so today I just want to focus on photo dimensions.

photo dimensions for Instagram

Tip:

A great way to use Instagram option for multiple uploads is to edit a landscape photo 2160 X 1080 and to cut it into 2 separate 1080X1080 photos. Using the multiple upload option you can upload the 2 photos and Instagram will unite them into your original picture for a fresh experience. This is how the final result will look like:

Let me know how you like to use social media to promote your events.

 

¹source: Wordstream

²source: Omnicoreagency

³source: Twitter

photo dimension on social media infographic

 

User Generated Content for Events – How Does it Work?

Guess who’s the biggest driving force behind your event, besides you? Your visitors, of course. They are the single best critic and the most powerful force that can drive your event up. There’s also something about them that you should be really interested in: they are trusted by their friends, colleagues and family. This post is about how you can get user generated content and improve your event’s experience and increase your exposure.

What is Visitor/User Generated Content?

Visitor generated content is a term we’ve derived from “UGC” or User Generated Content. You’ve probably heard about UGC as the content that is generated by users on all sorts of digital outlets. It may be for example a social media post, images uploaded on Instagram or Snapchat or videos uploaded on YouTube.

In the event business this type of content is generated by visitors to your events and distributed either through social media or on specialized outlets – for example your event’s mobile app, your website or a digital wall.

Why is User Generated Content important for events?

Your influential visitors drive the success of your events. They do this through their shared opinions and the way they create a bridge between you and their friends, peers or followers. Consider these aspects:

What’s even more interesting is that when it comes to millennials, the data is even clearer:

  • Consumers ages between 18 and 24 are the biggest content generators out there, generating over 70% of all UGC;
  • 86% of Millenials note that the User Generated Content is a very good indicator of brand quality;
  • User generated content beats professional produced content for Millennials in at least three categories: Travel (74% of Millennials prefer UGC over professional photos), Consumer goods (83%) and Fashion (85%)

How can User Generated Content help your events?

As shown – all data points to the fact that UGC is a great way to improve your event’s exposure and improve visitors’ experience.

Among other things UGC will help you:

  • Increase ticket sales and improve conversion rates: Purchase anxiety is a really strong factor when your visitors purchase tickets to your event. If you happen to host a large event that has an awesome track record the purchase anxiety might very well be reduced. However, if you are just starting out your happy visitors’ opinions may generate additional traction. Purchase anxiety is a very strong factor in any digital purchase but with events it’s even more so. Buyers pay upfront for an event that will happen sometime in the future. They have little control over what is actually delivered and the experience is definitely subjective. Other visitors’ content might provide some insights on what they are actually getting.
  • Attract social traffic and use social proof to convert it to sales: When visitors post content on social media – this attracts new traffic to your event’s website. This traffic is already pre-qualified as it has been referred by a reputable source (a peer) on an interesting subject (your event). By adding social proof from UGC you can add event more power to visitors’ content and generate instant sales with lower costs.
  • Improve your social media campaigns with user generated content: social media users love social media (Doh!) but they hate social media ads. UGC adds that extra spark for your ads. It adds authenticity and today’s event goers love an authentic review. When using UGC in social media ads Yotpo shows that online shops see:
    • 4x higher click-through rates;
    • 50% decrease in cost of acquisition;
    • 50% drop in cost-per-click;

All in all User generated content is a great way to improve exposure for your events, decrease marketing costs, engage your community and attract new visitors.

And now … for the actual work – how do you make your visitors generate content for your event?

Here are some ideas:

1. Just ask your visitors to create content

The first, most simple and often not used way of helping your visitors generate content is to ask them. You can do so by including a “Call to create” in your owned media, during the event and after the event.

Here are the main areas where your “Call to create” should work best:

    • After purchasing tickets or registering for your event: Include a thank you page that allows visitors to share the fact that they are attending the event. Maybe add some extra sauce to it by asking them to share with their friends “WHY” they will be attending their event. Catalyze this by adding an extra perk for those that are willing to share this with their network – maybe a free t-shirt, special access to the event or even free coffee would do.

During the event:

      • Create special photo booths or photo walls after the registration where visitors can take an interesting selfie with an interesting decorum or installation;
      • Setup special interaction areas between your visitors and speakers / artists where they can chat, take photos and post them online;
      • During the event ask your visitors to create special moments that are posted on Snapchat or Instagram and reward those that use your event’s hashtag;
      • Engage your visitors on social media by following their posts on the most popular Social media sites;

After the event:

    • Follow up with your visitors in an email and ask them to post an event review either on your Facebook profile, on your website, in a comment on your Instagram post and others. 
    • Stay connected and post photos of visitors on your social media profile (however – be careful to cover this with your registration terms and conditions. Privacy is not to be taken lightly and consent is a must given data protection regulations, especially if you operate in the EU);

2. Create a branded Hashtag for your event

This is UGC 101. Set up an event hashtag and encourage your visitors to use it when posting updates about your event. It doesn’t have to actually include your event brand but make it something that stays out and allows people to mentally connect it back to you.

Let’s see some examples:

#AdobeSummit:

As I was writing this post one of the trending hashtags was #AdobeSummit, a hashtag regarding the Adobe Summit – The Digital Marketing Conference hosted by Adobe in London, UK.

Visitors would generally be sharing either interesting slides from the sessions that interested them most, articles regarding the event or interesting conference gimmicks – such as the big, colorful disco ball:

hashtag-articles-slides

#Coachella2018

Twitter tag from one of the most influential music festivals in the world. Visitors would mainly post selfies showcasing their style and outfits. As Coachella is one of the go-to entertainment brands for personal style and fashion, that was bound to happen.

Fashion and style ruled the social media streams. Both the Twitter #Coachella2018 and Instagram’s #Coachella2018 hashtags were full of fashion photos from people attending:

coachella2018-instagram

Over 260 000 Instagram posts showed the festival’s hottest people, outfits and trends.

These are just two examples that you can use as a starting point for your next event hashtags. Encourage people to post it using a Social Media Wall, offering prizes and special access credentials or just showcase the community in a special page on your website.

However – it doesn’t have to be your exact brand name as some visitors might not be that happy to promote your event right from the start. You can choose a hashtag that outlines your values and what your event stands for and just create a special tag from those.

3. Make your event interesting for content creators

Instead of asking visitors to create content sometimes it’s better to encourage them in more subtler ways. For example:

Create “shareable” moments and decors

Burning man instalations
Burning man instalations

As the big disco ball in the Adobe Summit example above shows – people are willing to share interesting decors in your event. Many events do this quite well but probably the best at it are large festivals.

For example, the Burning Man festival hosts a series of arts installations from various artists that can attract visitors and encourage them to share these moments with their fans and followers.

Start a flashmob

One of the most interesting ways to make your event stand out is through flashmobs, where groups of people create specially choreographed moments. These are artistic moments in themselves so they have to be carefully planned and delivered at a moment of maximum exposure.

Here’s one example from a concert from Black Eyed Peas that went heavily viral some years ago:

Use colors to make your event stand out

Color can really set the mood for your event, making your guests feel part of a greater community. This really helps creating shareable moments.

Probably the best example is the “Color Run” series of events, where runners that cover a 5km run have only two rules:

  • Wear white at the start;
  • Enjoy being fully colored at the end of the event.

Throughout their run, they get covered in color. At the end, they get a special party, photos and a great chance to share their crazy run with their friends.

color-run

Call in the robots

When all else fails – call in the robots. One way to encourage your visitors to post content and share it with their friends is with the help of entertainers. One special type of entertainment is Titan the Robot, a mech-like exo-suit that is quite interesting and fun. As you see below people are eager to film and share their interactions with Titan:

Obviously – it doesn’t have to be a robot but something that is novel, attracts attention and is at the same time amazing and hard to understand. By the way, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there’s a man in a suit in that video 🙂

4. Other ideas to encourage User Generated Content for your event

This is of course just a starting point and your creativity is the best tool to use when thinking of ways to make your visitors generate and share content.

Here are some other ways you can incentivize them do that:

  • Create special contests for visitors that create and share content. It might be a raffle, a special discount sent to each participant or access to the coffee booth by those that pay with a tweet;
  • Set up a special UGC page on your website where visitors can post photos from the event and receive a special discount for next year’s event;
  • Set up social media hashtag walls where you display content from those that posted about your event. A great place to start is Walls.io, an app that helps you generate social media walls that can be shown at the event.

I really hope this helps your event and makes it more engaging than you thought possible. Remember – these are just some ideas and guidelines. Let your creativity help you help your visitors create content. It’s the best advertising you can get.

Are you using Instagram’s latest updates?

2018 brought some really exciting updates on Instagram, making the Facebook-owned platform one of the hottest places on the internet. We have talked about Instagram before, and I would like to start by letting you know that over 100 million new users joined since our last article on how event planners can use Instagram to promote their events. We have already mentioned the general features, today we are going to focus on the latest updates and how event planners can use them in their best interest.

picture of a phone logging in on Instagram

You can now follow a hashtag

I would like to start with my favorite update, the ability to follow hashtags. Yes, this is correct, Instagram now allows us to follow hashtags just as we follow people or brands. The result is that all posts with that particular hashtag will appear in the user’s feed.

This new option is very helpful for event planners that have created a unique hashtag for their events. Fans will be to join an online community by simply following the hashtag; their feed will gather content that uses that particular hashtag, no matter who posts it (official account of the event, performers, attendees of fans).

Carousel ads for Instagram stories

With the help of a few lucky advertisers ( from brands like Coca-Cola, GAP or Bottega Veneta) Instagram is testing the way Carousel Ads fit into Instagram Stories. As an event planner, Carousel Ads are perfect because they allow you tell a short story about your event. As a marketer, Instagram Stories are great because they have a higher conversion rate than Feed Ads ( in a 2017 study conducted by Agorapulse – Instagram Stories had a 23% higher conversion rate than Feed Ads). I think it’s safe to say that Carousel Ads for Instagram Stories will be a great tool that combines two powerful features. For start, the carousel format will allow marketers to use just 3 pictures/videos, but according to Instagram officials this is just the starting point and things may change.

 

series of 3 pictures showing how carousel works on Instagram
source:adweek.com

Scheduling for Instagram

In the past, it was impossible to schedule a picture to be automatically posted on Instagram. The process involved push notifications, meaning that when the time came for the post to go online we would still need our approval. The good news is that starting January 2018, Instagram allows business accounts to schedule single photos (and it automatically posts them) – the changes in Instagram API allows 3rd party apps like HootSuite, Later or Buffer to do that for Instagram users. For videos, ads, and multiple photos scheduling still involves notifications, but this update shows us that things are moving towards what we all want. For event planners, this new feature means more posts with fewer interruptions.

P.s.  there are signs that scheduling will become available for regular users as well.

An improvement made to Instagram Stories

Instagram made it easier for users to upload pictures and videos into the Stories section. Following its latest update (April 2018), it is now possible for multiple photos and videos to be uploaded at once. Great news for content creators, this new option helps them save precious time.

Earlier this year “Stories” received another update, the “Type” mode initially used for status update on Facebook. “Type” allows you to create personalized messages using stylish fonts and backgrounds and can be used by event planners to deliver live messages to their followers. It may not be the best way to communicate but it is an option that may come in handy.

 

The Facebook-owned platform seems the hottest place to be right now, and the new features developed by the team behind are a clear sign that Instagram is shooting for the moon. The new Instagram Updates can help event planners better connect with their followers but also to reach new ones. 2018 seems to be Instagram’s year and it would be a shame not to use it to promote your events.

Use influencer marketing to promote your events

Internet access expanded our communication possibilities in ways that we have not imagined. It also changed the way we live, shop or work. The rise of social media platforms redesigned our daily behavior: daily, we spend almost 2 hours navigating social media platforms. Naturally, social media became the “place to be” for every business that wants to stay close to its (potential) customers. Marketing possibilities are countless and it’s easier than ever to reach customers, regardless of their current location. A large followers base can be the difference between failure and success.

But creating large followers base may take time and time is our most important and most limited resource. So, in order to gain access to already existing ones, brands use what is known as “influencer marketing”What is influencer marketing?

Wikipedia informs us that “Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.” Meaning a brand uses an influencer’s already created followers base to promote their services/products. This marketing method is not new, brands have always used influencers to promote their products. Known as “Celebrity endorsement”, it was used in the last 250 years. By the power of association, people transfer their feelings from the celebrity to the product, thus increasing the chances of purchasing it. There are more reasons “celebrity endorsement” works, an extremely useful study can be found here. 

But the rise of social media platforms created a new category of “celebrities”, known as micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are normal people that, in time, build large lists of followers. Unlike macro influencers (celebrities), micro-influencer have a tighter connection with their followers, and their social post generates a higher rate of engagement. This makes them the perfect choice for brands that want to promote their services, products or events.

 

Why should I use influencer marketing to promote my event?

Because every dollar invested in influencer marketings brings on average 6.85$, states a study conducted by Burst Media in 2014. Why can we expect such a great ROI? One of the reasons is that influencer marketing is closer to mouth to mouth marketing than it is to traditional marketing, so people trust it more. Users follow an influencer because they like and trust him/her, so they will transfer some of those feelings to the product/service. The same principle applies to events, people will want to attend an event where the influencer they follow is present.

Another reason for which influencer marketing had a phenomenal increase is the ineffectiveness of traditional online advertising. The number of pop-ups and banners became annoying, so people started installing ad blockers. And over 30% of internet users have them installed. More than that, we also developed our own “natural ad blocker”, known as banner blindness: when navigating online we tend to ignore all the design elements that resemble ads and our eyes avoid the areas where banners are traditionally placed. And it seems to affect 80% of internet users.

eyetracking study heatmap
source: www.nngroup.com

What should I know before starting an influencer marketing campaign for my event(s)?

 

  • Define your audience: In marketing knowing your audience is the key to success. And Influencer marketing makes no exception. So start by identifying the specific characteristic of your “ideal” attendee. Are you planning a street running event? Then probably your attendees are sports enthusiasts. A conference where #AI is the main theme? Surely developers would be interested. For any type of event, there is a specific audience and you need to find yours.
  • Find the right influencer. After you have defined your audience you need to identify the influencer(s) that can grant you access to it. It’s much more important to work with someone that covers your niche than to work with someone that just has a greater number of followers. Using the above example, if you plan a street running event and a sports guru (influencer) will promote it using social media your event will become interesting for many of his followers. Another used tactic is to invite influencers to your events, just like brands do for their sponsored events. Their live videos will generate buzz around your event.
  • Trust is a must. Influencers have gathered a great number of followers because people like the content they create. It would be illogical to think that you can gain more from his/hers users with content generated by somebody else. So you must be prepared to give your new partner total control over the content used to promote your event. You won’t be able to do this if you don’t trust your associate. Otherwise, you won’t gain maximum out this partnership.
  • Measure the performance. Without measurement, marketing plans are just fancy projects that may (but probably not) worth the effort. Fortunately, modern technology offers the tools we need to measure our marketing results, tools that you should also use for your influencer marketing campaigns.  

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is the new rising star of marketing and every event planner can benefit from it. But remember that its power is the connection that exists between the influencer and the followers, and a connection should also exist between your brand and the influencer. Because otherwise your partnership it would just feel unnatural and this will compromise your whole campaign. Start with these 4 tips in mind when working with an influencer and your events will become more popular than ever.

Creating a unique #hashtag for your event

In a previous article, when speaking about how you can use Twitter to promote your event, we recommended you to use the almighty event #hashtag in order to gain more visibility. Today I want to talk more about the #hashtag in particular, to see how and why you should create a unique one for your event.

But first, let’s remember what a hashtag is. Google dictionary informs us that it’s “a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic”. In other words, it’s a searchable link used on social media platforms to categorize content, tying public conversation in one single stream.

hash sign followed by EventHashtag

Twitter was the first social media platform to use # as a searchable link. In 2007 user Chris Messina first brought it up on Twitter, but it took 2 more years before the feature went live. Twitter is not the only social platform to use the hashtag for grouping content anymore but it’s the platform where users use it the most, over 125 Million # being used every single day.

#hashtags are also used on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (tested it, stopped using it, started using it again) Google+ or Pinterest. Even Snapchat users are using it, although on this platform it can’t be used as a searchable link.

What can I include in a hashtag? 

Although I’m sure almost everyone knows how they look there is some specific information we need to know. Hashtags don’t support spaces, so if you want to to use multiple words you can use capitals to differentiate them (example: #ExperienceTech). Punctuation marks and special characters are not supported either but numbers are, so #WAM18 can be (and is) used as an event hashtag.

Why should I create an event hashtag?

Twitter capture of GuinessWorldRecord account
source: Twitter.com

 

 

 

 

What would you say if I told you that one hashtag, #AIDubEBTamangPanahon, connected over 40 million tweets and comments in just 24 hours? Yes, this is a world record, but it’s a good example of how the snowball hashtag can roll, getting bigger and bigger.

Using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) will help you keep your followers close, and also reach new ones. Someone interested in your event will simply click on the hashtag and will “gain access” to all content where your # was used.

Your unique #hashtag can be used in combination with other ones in order to increase your reach but used wrong hashtags can also decrease it. These charts will show you the number of hashtags you should use on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for a better reach.

Twitter: it’s not recommended to use more than two hashtags per post.

graphic showing how the number of hashtags influences the number of interactions a tweet has
source: socialmediatoday.com

Facebook: don’t use more than 3 hashtags in one post.

graphic showing numbers of hashtags vs number of interactions on facebook
source: socialmediatoday.com

Instagram: Instagrammers love hashtags, so it seems that posts with 9 hashtags have the best engagement. But as you can see, the more the merrier.

chart showing numbers of hashtags vs post engagements on Instagram
source: socialmediatoday.com

You can check out Socialmediatoday to find out more about the recommended length of a hashtag for this 3 social media platforms.

How should my event hashtag be?

Simple and easy to spell. Try keeping it as simple as possible, so people don’t find it hard to remember (or spell).The goal is to have it used as often as possible and a very complicated one won’t help you (yes,  #AIDubEBTamangPanahon seems anything but simple, but why take the risk?)

Unique. Make sure that your branded hashtag wasn’t used by another company before (#eventplanning or not). You want your hashtag to be associated with your event, not with dog food (although let’s face it, dogs are damn cool).

Relevant. Don’t use a hashtag that might mislead users, it will backfire for sure. Use something that represents your event, like #ETA2017 for Event TEchnology Awards 2017 or #burningman for…well, guess this one.

P.s. you should also check your hashtags for double-meaning and also you should say it out loud before using it, it may save you a lot of trouble afterward.

How should I use my event hashtag?

Your mission is to create meaningful events and the event hashtag is closely connected to it, so I want to show you how to best use your hashtag before, during, and after your event(s).

Before the event: Before the event, you should use it to create a buzz around it. This way more and more potential attendees find out about it.  For this, it’s best to ask all your partners to use the event hashtag. You can also create contests where the followers using your hashtag can win tickets to the event, backstage passes or any other event related prize. This way you will encourage people to use and share information about your event, meaning you will reach more and more potential attendees.

During the event: Experience taught us that attendees will post/tweet during events, letting their friends/followers know what a great time they are having. Or who they have just met.

picture of Gary Vaynerchuk and a fan from brandmind_asia's Instagram account
source: Instagram, brandminds_asia account

You can expand your reach by reposting (or retweeting) their content with your event’s “official” hashtag.  You will also show your attendees that you appreciate their social media posting.

After the event: Being used as searchable links, hashtags are great when looking for user-generated content. And considering the fact that over 85% of the millennials say User Generated Content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand you should really use testimonials in your favor. Curated UGC can boost registration for your future events and your event hashtag is a great way to identify it.