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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
Social networks are a big part of today’s life. We’ve all heard that “if you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist”. We have discovered the power of Snapchat and Instagram and how to use them to rock our events. We talked about email marketing. Today it’s time for Twitter.
According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2017, there were over 325 MM active users on Twitter. So I think it’s safe to say that Twitter can be remarkably useful when planning to market your events.
But keep in mind that you must be short (there are the 140 280 characters and 140 seconds limits) and fast on Twitter, so adapt your message accordingly.
Here are some ideas that can be used on Twitter to increase visibility for your event :
Don’t forget to be human
Social media platforms were created for the human to human interaction, so try using a less formal tone of voice. Be proactive and engage with your followers in dialogues. If someone asks you something simply answer the question. If you see something that you like let the world know (by pressing the little red ♡ or retweeting the post).
Use a proper #hashtag
A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content (Wikipedia). It brings together all the posts that have a certain #, making the search easier. We all know how important hashtags are, especially on Twitter. So it’s important to select a relevant # before you start to communicate your event. But be careful because one # can be used for many purposes (you can’t claim one just for yourself) so before launching it online verify it isn’t already in use.
It seems that, like all social platforms, Twitter too favors visual posts. So, whenever possible, include photos in your posts. Reports from Buffer claim that posts that include pictures receive 150% more retweets and are more likely to generate engagement. Of course, “just death and taxes” are certain in life, so you should test to see what works best for your particular case. But if you don’t have the time to test…go visual.
Timing is important
Although, as mentioned before, is very important to be present, there will be moments where it will be impossible for you to be online. We all know it’s better to post when your followers are more likely to be active. Apps like HootSuite and Buffer work wonders in these situations. And they also save you precious time.
Everyone should be engaged
Maybe you are the mastermind behind the event, but there are many people involved in it. Colleagues, caterers, sponsors, performers etc…ensure that everyone is involved in your Twitter talks and that they all are using your hashtag. It helps you to create buzz and also and shows that you all are just one big team.
Use opinion polls
A great way to create engagement and show your followers that you care more than just their money is to create polls. See what they want and implement it into your event. Maybe you can’t use a poll to select the location or the main artists, but there are aspects that can be decided with the help of your followers. And this is a great way to show them that their voice counts.
Just because your event started it doesn’t mean that you should stop interacting with your twitter fans. Use live tweets from the event and live video to keep your followers up to date. Not all of your followers were able to make it to the event, but they all want to hear from you; otherwise, they could just stop following you.
No matter what your event is, one day conference or a 5 days festival, its superpower is bringing people together; and for this to happen people should first hear about it. Luckily we live in a time when it takes just a few seconds for your message to travel from U.K to Australia (200 years ago it would have taken 100 days for it to get there). Social media networks are the most powerful marketing tools of modern days, it would be a mistake to ignore them.
Top 3 most retweeted Twitter posts
update: January 2018
To better understand the power of Twitter we should take a quick look at the numbers of the most retweeted posts.
#1. On the 5th of January Yusaku Maezawa, the CEO of Zozotown posted a tweet announcing that is willing to donate almost 1M $ to the first 100 users that follow him and share that tweet. 5 days later and he has over 5.4 M retweets.
Yes, these are definitely exceptions, but a great way of showing the true power of Twitter (and social media as a whole). You will probably never make it to this Top3, but a powerful message will make it to your current and future attendees.
Experience economy is usually associated with millennials and the shift in spending habits. One of the experiences they(we) are most likely to engage into are live events. Multi-day festivals, for example, have become a kind of rite of passage for many.
Music, fun, experiences and often long-term connections with peers are all desirable. As such, there is no surprise that half of the 32 million people that attend festivals in the US are millennials.
So what drives change?
Let’s start with a short intro to technology and, most important, connectivity technology. It won’t take long. You are probably aware that computers have evolved constantly from the 1970’s. Flash news number two: they have now become both powerful and cheap enough to help empower people from all geographical and social backgrounds. A report from the White House shows that millennials have been shaped by the ubiquity of technology. Yup, tech is in their DNA.
Connectivity technology was surprisingly influential. Both mobile phones and social media have been used by teens in the previous decade to stay connected, exchange information and share moments with their peers.
This led to what is now called “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO). As they are more and more connected on social media outlets and share important moments in their lives, the need for “being there” has increased. Also, over half of millennials report that people ask them for purchase opinions and they influence four to five friends and family.
So there is an increase in millennial influence and an increase in the number of people that want to be influenced by them. As a result, social gatherings such as live events have become the norm. Groups must attend or they fear missing out on potentially important social interactions.
Experiences rather than goods
The common knowledge is that millennials favor experience over goods. And they seem to do just that. But that does not mean that they are not spending. Actually, attendance and revenue from festivals have skyrocketed:
Lollapalooza attendance has grown from 65,000 in 2005 to 300,000 for 2014. Revenue in 2014 was $28.8 million and generated over $140 million for the local economy.
Burning Man has become a globally followed event. In 2014 more than 65 000 attended the event.
Coachella sold over 198 000 tickets in 2015 and raked in more than $84 million. One of the hottest things the festival has pushed forward was the live streaming, now at 28 million views, a way for millennials to stay connected, even if they are not there.
And that’s not all — an increase in festival attendance has taken the world by storm. A long list of awesome festivals show how millennials now acquire experiences.
It’s not just festivals, either. It’s concerts, movies and even pay TV. 83 million millennials will spend $750 a year to purchase experiences, as a Deloitte reports. That’s $62 billion changing the world, spent by people who crave for experiences.
How does the experience economy change the world?
A change in purchase options for millennials is a huge thing for the global economy and as a result, society at large.
By spending more on experiences, by joining large groups, by accepting diversity and seeking it, the millennials are making the world a more connected place, smaller and less prejudice prone.
Goods as commodity and self-defining experiences
As the manufacturing of goods has been streamlined, automated and increasingly effective, goods have become accessible. A computer or flat screen TV used to cost a small fortune to own. Now they are both accessible to many so they have lost their social status symbol.
Even big ticket possessions such as cars or houses will soon lose their appeal as the world perspective shifts from owning to accessing.
So goods become commodities. They are accessible and lose their appeal to the masses of millennials that will soon become the dominant spending force in the global economy.
Brands will have to face the truth sooner or later. The marketing added value will soon fade and products will be just as desired as their manufacturers are socially responsible, as millennials demand. Even now, emerging brands such as Warby Parker or Bonobos emphasize their positive impact on the society catering to their target market’s values.
Experiences will become defining for individuals’ character. And large scale events, attended in foreign cities, countries or even continents, will build global citizens. Millennials will grow up with a global perspective rather than a local one. This will improve international relations because we already know that people that trade together don’t fight one another. We’re finding out that people that have fun together may care for one another.
New financial and payment systems
Credit cards have long become mainstream but are now increasingly less appealing to new generations.
Festivals have started to experience with new access and payment tokens, such as RFID wristbands that double as entry tickets and payment devices within the events’ areas.
Who says these new payment and financial systems cannot step outside the festivals and replace old institutions, such as banks, and technologies, such as credit cards?
Decentralized entertainment experiences may breathe new life in the music industry
The music industry has become rigid and resistant to change. A few labels own a large deal of rights to music and artist’s creative abilities. With the rise of large independent events and an increase in popularity for indie artists that can connect directly to their fans, change will happen.
Even more — we may experience new types of art performances that so far have been hiding in underground concerts and small events. Burning Man is a great example. It went from one of the smallest festivals in the US to one of the most influential and large ones. It used to be the place where underground artists, hipsters and libertarians used to come hang out. It is now the place where tech titans meet and build new ventures.
And it’s not just music in the US. It is also tech, medical events and more. Brazil has seen a huge and steep increase in the number of business events. Eastern Europe, for example, has had a boom of tech events such as ICEEfest . Event management tools now help event organizers, small to mid to large, set up and handle their dream event.
The future will bring a more connected world, through the live events that millennials now experience. And I don’t mean connected as in digitally connected, because …
Something else will replace today’s “social media”
Social media as we now understand it is anything but social in terms of human emotional needs. If anything, it alienates individuals through over-inflated and weak relationships. The kind that we, as humans, feel good about on the short term but don’t rarely find real value in in the long term. The number of Facebook friends, the number of Instagram or Twitter followers may feel superficially satisfying but what we crave for are the real experiences.
The touch of a hand, the laughter, the warm feeling of finding someone you know you want to spend time with. These are all things Facebook cannot provide, no matter how many Oculus devices they ship.
Millennials want something that their parents and grand parents had and they have not received enough of. The digital empire brought about by tech companies as well as the very structure of our civilized world, with large cities and weak ties between people, is not satisfying.
By connecting in real life events, millennials are building a real “social world”, with the help of “social media”. They crave and they will have the strong ties that happen in the real world. They crave and they are building a new world where people are people, not just numbers on a Facebook profile. One live event at a time.