For associations, events can be a way to engage your members and keep your organization financially healthy. However, if an event has poor attendance, an organization can actually lose money, since putting on an impressive gathering costs money. An event that flops can also make your association look bad to prospects and members.
How to Successfully Market Your Event
Marketing is crucial for organizations in the months and weeks leading up to an event. Whether it’s an annual conference, breakout sessions, trainings, trade shows, or something else, planning ahead is key to throwing a successful event.
Today’s savvy association staff instantly turn to social media to connect with their most engaged members. Since so many people flock to sites like Facebook and Instagram to get information and catch up with friends and family, social platforms are perfect for getting the word out.
Here are a few ways to help make your social media marketing as effective as possible.
Create a Hashtag
As early in the planning process as you can, come up with a hashtag for your event. This will give your team members and supporters a way to come together on sites like Twitter and Instagram, where hashtags are essential. Make sure it’s short and memorable, but also check to ensure it isn’t already in active use.
Choose the Right Platform
If your approach is to post the same message across all platforms, you’ll likely miss the mark. Not all social platforms are alike. Each platform has its own unique demographic, which means some sites won’t be the best use of your time.
Before starting your campaign, research the demographics and spend some time on each platform, paying particular attention to how other nonprofits and associations market their activities. Don’t forget about Facebook Groups for your own local community.
Think about where your prospects and members are online. What are their digital habits? If they’re not on Instagram, it doesn’t make sense to waste the time posting about your event there.
Show Your Excitement
The best advocates for your event are your organization’s leaders, staff, and board members. Make sure your enthusiasm shows in your social media posts and potential attendees will feel compelled to learn more. In the final days, post photos of preparations and generate buzz by captioning how excited you are for the big event.
Encourage Volunteers to Share
Everyone who works with your organization likely has a social media presence. Encourage them to let their own online networks know about the upcoming event using the hashtag provided. Some of their own followers will likely share, helping bring additional exposure.
So many tools are available to social media marketers, it’s a missed opportunity to not monitor your results. Put analytics in place that show how many interactions each post gets and note what works and what doesn’t. You can adjust your efforts in real time, but you should also take meticulous notes and use the information while planning next year’s campaign.
Social media is a great way to reach potential members within your association’s demographic and engage your current members. This is especially true when you have an event to promote, since prospects may be looking for continuing education credit, training or networking opportunities. If your excitement about your association shows, prospects and members will be able to see it and will naturally want to learn more about the work you’re doing.
We built AMO’s event module to be robust enough to serve 3-day trades shows while also maintaining simplicity for small scale events like luncheons or committee meetings. Check it out for yourself with a 30-day free trial! Sign up here.