What are you doing to arm your stakeholders with the tools to promote your event?
Event promotion can come in the form of paid advertising, word-of-mouth, public relations, social media sharing or even direct mail (yes, people still use the age old snail mail). While this may seem obvious for most event organizers and marketers, are you doing enough to make sure that your stakeholders are motivated to share their involvement and experiences at your event?
Let’s go through a few ways to boost your event promotion with the help of your staff, sponsors, presenters and attendees.
Motivate Your Staff to Become Ambassadors
No matter if you are hosting an association forum, trade show, or conference you are going to have a team in place to help with logistics or attending the show to get leads. These are your people on the ground and you need to arm them with the tools to share their experiences.
One of the best ways to do this is to invest in a social media advocacy tool that will allow you to automate messages for your staff or team to send out from their own accounts. Tools like Sprout Social’s Bambu allow you to add users to either create, submit or receive content to share on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. As an administrator you can go in ahead of time and draft posts about your event, sessions, contests, networking opportunities, and more. The staff members can then log into their Bambu account and choose to send the post as you have written it or edit it to fit in their own words. Either way you are making the process easier for them by allowing them to simply log in and click a button to start sharing your event.
Put the Power in the Hands of Your Sponsors
Your event sponsors are clearly invested in your event. They are choosing to give you a large amount of money to promote their product or services to your audience, so they will appreciate all the exposure that they can get. However, a lot of the time sponsors are so busy getting logistics and other things together that promotion of the event falls to the wayside. Why not give them all the tools to promote their involvement, and in turn your event, themselves?
A tool like Bambu might not be the best option for a sponsor that may be involved in one event that year, so for this suggestion we recommend doing more manual work. Create an email for all your sponsors that has canned posts for social media, the description of their involvement with your event, your event description and photos or media that they can use to promote it.
A lot of times people choose not to make the effort to promote something because it is too much work to find the right information. So don’t make it a treasure hunt for them, put it right in front of them.
The information in the email should include posts that they can use on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn separately. Also consider telling them a few best practices on when to use a picture or video to enhance the promotion.
Offering sponsors the option to send out a press release is another great way to amplify your event. To make sure that is is aligned with your messaging, send them a template press release. The press release should be drafted to have the details of your event, a quote from someone on your team about the importance of event sponsors, and a space for sponsors to add their own quote. Make sure it is clear that they cannot change the text already included without your approval. That way you are able to keep your event messaging consistent.
Use Your Presenters’ Notoriety to Your Advantage
Your keynote speaker is usually your all-star event content. If you don’t have a keynote you probably invested a lot of time and effort into sourcing your industry speakers for individual sessions, campfires or seminars at your event. As a result, you should make sure that they are doing their due diligence in talking about their involvement!
If you have a tradeshow where you are having people submit speaking sessions, this process will be easy because these are people that want to talk about a certain topic and get some exposure. However, if you are hosting an association meeting or conference with keynotes, these speakers are usually hired by you to speak at the event. As a result, they may not have much time to spend promoting it, so why not make it easy.
Through email marketing software, you are most likely creating great looking HTML emails to send out to your audience about your event and your speakers. Your team is already doing the work of creating these so why not just send the HTML code to your speakers to send to their database as well? They can simply input the code into their email provider like Hubspot or Marketo, make any changes they see fit and then send out. Just remember to have at least a week’s time in between when you send your email and when you tell your speakers that they can send theirs, in case you have the same people in your databases (you don’t want to overload their inbox).
Allow Attendees to Hit the “That Was Easy” Button
Finally, we get to the attendees. Your event attendees, association members, employees, etc. are the most important stakeholder at your event. These are your best event advocates so you need to get them talking about your event.
In every email that you send out, make sure you have social share buttons for your attendees to amplify your event to their network. Consider using a social media marketing tool during your email or registration process to allow your attendees to share the event with their social media communities. Most likely your attendees’ communities are the perfect audience for your event and if you make it easy for them to share then why wouldn’t they?
During your event, use your event app to send push notifications to attendees. Through apps like TapCrowd by etouches, you can send pre written Tweets when attendees are in a certain location to send out. For example, at a tradeshow if they are walking past a session zone you can send a push notification tweet that says “At the beacon zone listening to XX talk about data #eventhashtag”. Just click a button and you are done.
Ultimately, all of these different ways to automate promotion for stakeholders can overlap. It is just important to understand who your audience and stakeholders are to make sure you are offering them the most effective measures to easily promote your event. Think of it this way, these people are choosing to attend or invest in your event for a reason so why wouldn’t they want to talk about how great it is! And don't forget, it is all about experiences. If you design your event around having great experiences, the promotion will naturally fall into place!