A while ago, the Event Brew talked about social networks, wondering whether it was time to log off. If that truly is the case, another question quickly arises: how to promote events without social media? How effective is social media marketing anyway? As the 365 community model continues growing in popularity, more event profs will come to realize that social media is, in the Brew Crew’s opinion, boring and predictable.
Community is one way to go about promoting events without social media, but it’s not just any community that will do. Additionally, you need to produce truly exceptional events that will foster attendee retention and potentially turn your audience into advocates. Tune in and find out the recipe for marketing success outside social media platforms!
How To Promote Events Without Social Media?
Will reads Chris’ message that sparks today’s conversation. “Most promotion of events occurs online through social media ads, websites, and pages of certain websites used to market events. With people’s continued distrust with social media brands and people starting to stray away from different social media apps, is there going to be a way to pull off a successful event without the use of social media marketing as a dominant force for promotion of the event? Could this be only successful for small events or would this be possible for large-scale events in communities where social media is not the main force of promotion?”
So, how to promote events without social media? “You spend a lot more money,” Dustin says. “You can still get in front of people. There’s no replacement for online advertising. We’re not going back to the yellow pages and direct mail. It will be clever marketers figuring out how to continue to get in front of you online, wherever it is that you go.”
“The cost of advertising on social platforms has skyrocketed,” he adds. “Remember when you could put $10 on a post on Facebook and it would reach 20,000 people? Now you’re paying that for impressions.”
Lean On Your Sponsors
“The free days are over,” agrees Nick. “You will have to figure out how to increase your sponsorships and potentially get your sponsors on board with the advertising itself and maybe co-brand some of your advertising. Think about your sponsors as credible authorities and have part of their sponsorship be content creation that they create and you host. You’re paying them to do work for you, which is great. Then you can also promote that in various channels.”
Email Campaigns Still Work
Aside from people logging off from social media, Dustin also mentions that it’s becoming increasingly harder to maintain email campaigns. “It’s getting more and more restrictive as to how you can contact people through email. If you are a promoter or you have an event where you need to constantly stay in touch with people, you better have a really good year-round content plan that keeps them engaged and doesn’t get them to unsubscribe from you. But I do think that email marketing still has some skin in the game.”
Invest In Your Website & Content
Nick shares another piece of advice. “Heavily investing in social media is generally a bad idea, putting all your eggs in one basket. A lot can happen to disrupt that and you don’t own it. So it’s always good to invest in things that you actually own, like your website and content that you house there.”
While it’s harder to organically get people immediately that way, it will pay dividends over time. “While you’re investing in social media platforms, just make sure that you’re also investing in something that can grow with you and that you have control over,” he adds.
In a quest to promote events without social media, Dustin emphasizes the importance of attendee retention, especially since the cost per acquisition of new customers is so high. “Once you have a customer, you have to fight to keep them. It’s never been more important that your event experience is amazing. And your attendees should know where you’ll be next. The opportunity to sign up should be right there.”
He elaborates. “If you’re producing an annual conference, make sure that your ticket sales are open the minute they can be. When you have your audience in person and they’re excited – that is your time to pounce. There are some marketing conferences in Canada that open up registration for next year’s event on the last day of the current event. There are great incentives to sign up right there and then. They create some urgency around it. For example, you buy at a regular price, but you get VIP.”
Micro-Events Leading Up To The Big Event
Nick also mentions another tactic for promoting events without social media. “Have micro-events promote events. These events should focus on fostering excitement and energy around the upcoming event. You can do influencer marketing there too, for example.”
Cross-Promoting With Other Events
“There is a lot of opportunity for partnership with events that are similar to yours or events that are parallel. There’s a lot of capacity for people to go to events. So, share that and cross-promote each other.”
“The main pain of marketing events on social media is actually just the glut of people doing it,” says Nick. “Everyone has an event and everyone’s using the same channels, doing it the same way. It’s boring. That should be our main number on social media. People have less attention, but they still can be shocked out of it very easily. You just have to do things differently.”
You need to stand out. “Niche is the ticket when it comes to event design. Marketing should follow suit with that. If you’re talking about the 365 community model, you need to engage smaller segments within the larger segment that you’ll attract throughout the year. Then, those people should all come together at the larger event. The problem with social media is that it tries to get all those people with the same message and you can’t do that.”
Next up, the Brew Crew mentions several solutions that successfully promote events without social media. “I bought the last three event tickets through StubHub in my inbox. They have figured out how to put the right thing in front of me. I don’t always buy tickets from them. I try and buy them from the promoter whenever they’re still available.”
Promoting Events Without Social Media: Final Thoughts
So, how to promote events without social media? The Brew Crew does one final rapid-fire circle of suggestions. Here are the main takeaways:
- create consistent, great content to keep your audience engaged,
- social media is not going anywhere, but it is becoming increasingly harder to find your place in it,
- partner up with anyone who has any stake in your event,
- make the event itself as exceptional as possible as that will empower your attendees to market on your behalf,
- know your audience and build amazing attendee personas.
If you want to hear the Event Brew crowd talk about a topic you’re particularly interested in, do not hesitate to reach out to them. Today’s topic was inspired by a listener’s message and we can all agree that it was a spectacular one!