Lessons: Promoting Events Online
Posted 26th of July, 2017

Industry professionals share the best ways to promote events on social media.

If you've organised an event in the past, chances are you know that social media can be your best friend or worst enemy. We spoke to a few industry professionals, including Ben from Thread Events and Emma of Yonder Collective on how they successfully promote regular events through various social channels.

Ben Steers from Thread Events / Something Good Festival

What social channels do you use to promote events?
We tend to only use Twitter and Facebook to promote our events.

What channels do you find works best and why?
Twitter seems to give us the best engagement and the most reach. It’s hard to make an impression on Facebook without paying for ads or promoting posts. As we don’t have a marketing budget, we try to get the most out of Twitter.

How important is paid promotion?
Very, but if you’re a small not-for-profit like us, it’s not really an option, unfortunately.

Do you have a marketing process that helps you promote your event?
We have a marketing strategy behind all of our events. As well as using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, we also use MailChimp for email campaigns. As much as anything, a lot comes from word of mouth; people who come to the events and have a great time, then go tell their friends. We’ve been lucky to build up quite a loyal following, so we typically don’t need to do a lot of marketing, which is nice!

What other forms of advertising helps promote your event?
MailChimp for email marketing and telling everyone and anyone we can!

Emma Chapman-Burnett from Yonder Collective / Live Bristol

What social channels do you use to promote events?
For all our Yonder Collective events we use Instagram and solely Instagram. We have found it very successful so never ventured into Facebook or the twitter world. We have also never paid for advertising, always had great interest from Instagram!

What channel(s) do you find works best and why?
We have only ever tried and used Instagram. Our events are very visual focused with the theme and decor created to be aesthetically pleasing and that is the main focus behind Instagram is pretty pictures! This has worked really well for us, it does mean we are very particular about what we post and sometimes info and elements we would love to share we can't because visually it's not to the right standard. However, its been important to keep the overall look and the majority of our business has come through people seeing Yonder Dinner photos on Insta.

How important is paid promotion?
I am a big believer in organic growth, if it can grow without paying then you know you are onto a winner! However, there is also a limit to your reach without paid promotion and no matter how successful you are there is always a way to improve and a larger audience to hit. I think paid promotion is a great opportunity to expand your network, I just think it is very important to research first

Do you have a marketing process that helps you promote your event?
Honestly, we don't! If you have a good product/service you are half way there. Then the other half for us is remaining true and honest to our core values and letting that be the focus in our marketing. We do everything with excellence but let the events talk for themselves and we just get to be open and honest about what we do and why.

Richard King from Mi Casa Su Casa

What social channels do you use to promote events?
We promote our events through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What we share is quite visual so we share a lot of posters, videos and gifs leading up to an event as we feel they best incorporate the energy of events and showcase the acts people can expect to catch.

What channel(s) do you find works best and why?
Facebook is our strongest platform. Having an official event listed on our page works incredibly well as we can keep people notified about ticket sales and artists. By including a direct link to our tickets, we know it’s a straight forward way to encourage people to purchase a ticket. Our engagement on Instagram is great when we’re talking about events, especially if we’re sharing visuals of artists that are performing. Instagram is a better space for sharing images after events have happened as people enjoy sharing these with their friends. Content that goes out on social media after an event is almost as important as what you share beforehand; it gives us space to share everyone’s experiences and also helps us to get people excited about future events even before any details are confirmed.

How important is paid promotion?
As Mi Casa Su Casa events grow, we’re putting more and more into paid promotion. Our events are quite specific which means we can really target a specific audience. Even with a small budget, we still boost our events or promote link clicks to ticket sales throughout the lead up to an event just to keep us at the front of people’s minds. We do get quite a good organic reach too but we know there are a lot more interested people we can reach with a little nudge.

Do you have a specific marketing process that helps you promote your event?
Yes, we do take a fairly structured approach to our events. Usually, the first thing would be designing some assets; that could be posters (both for print and to be shared on social), creating gifs or editing videos to include specific information. Next, we create an event and officially announce the date and a few of the acts. This is then scheduled to all social channels all the way up to the event, alongside the announcement of the rest of the acts.

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