So, what are we doing tonight?
If you’ve ever traveled somewhere new or even attempted to plan an evening that didn’t involve the Netflix or Hulu stay at home standard, you’ve asked someone (or yourself) that very question. Presume, then, that your customer has as well.
Here’s where you come in, guiding the consumer like a docent straight to your event, exactly where they should be. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. If you’re not promoting what you’re hosting, how will anyone know about it? The original Word of Mouth had been a fantastic marketing tool, but it has now been bumped to the kiddie table like an uncle-twice-removed. It’s less reliable than a rumor. Sure, people still talk but, they do it on social media – where you need to be promoting in the first place. When used on social media, Word of Mouth is the new favorite uncle.
I know that sounds like an obvious statement, but a staggering amount of people are painfully unaware the magnitude promotion has on an event. Too little promotion and you run the risk of no attendance. We don’t want people talking about that. With access to technology and social media (virtually anywhere), it is so easy to promote. It has almost been engineered to be that way: newspapers are out, Facebook is in. This doesn’t have to be daunting, there are a lot of ways to cultivate conversation. Much like the dress code, you set the tone of the evening and the buzz as well.
Truth be told, most events happen in larger cities. While this is not to say a dinner at a local community vineyard shouldn’t garner the same attention as an art show opening in SoHo, when people travel to larger cities, they often expect there to be a lot of excitement to choose from. There are apps specifically designed for people to see what is happening in a certain mile radius of their homes or hotels. Get your company on one of those apps. City websites can be contacted and with permission, can be used to promote on as well. Imagine trying to find out where to go after being plopped in the middle of seemingly endless plugs of entertainment and having no idea where to go. Assume your customer requires your assistance.
Social media has been gracious enough to also offer us opportunities for free promotion. For example, Facebook Events is an amazing tool that attracts people that are looking for specific events (like the nearest bird calling competition… someone is interested, trust me). Another way to boost your event would be to create enticing and visually appealing content. No one is going to be tempted to read and then forward a promo that includes only text. The more captivating your promotion is, the more people are likely to share it (“going viral”). More shares and exposure will mean more attendees at your event… which will be posted about and commented on… which means more attendees at your next event.
YouTube has also become a hugely popular outlet for gathering attention. Creating a YouTube channel is quite simple; literally, anyone can do it or can find a YouTube video on how to. Editing videos, adding music, what’s allowed, what’s not allowed – this can all seem like more trouble than it’s worth but, YouTube is what it is because it’s easy and because it works. People are more inclined to watch a vignette on your event or your company than they are to watch a commercial or listen to someone stammer on the radio about it. One of the videos you can post can show the making of the event – a kind of behind the scenes look to get people excited. It can let the people in on the culture of your company, and the people within it.
There is also a feature where you can go live on social media. Going live can be intimidating but it’s exciting. If people see what they’re missing out on by not being at your event, while your event is actually taking place, they’re getting their shoes on and they’re out the door (FOMO is a real thing). People will go live while attending your event and all their friends and people who follow them will be notified. Imagine the potential of that. And it’s free.
Due to social media being the largest and most popular avenue with which to advertise, one of the best ways to navigate your audience towards your product is by nabbing yourself a Social Media Influencer. People are very impressionable, especially when someone they idolize is involved. Seeing someone they consider famous promote an event, can really boost their excitement and drive to go to it, to talk about it and to get their friends to go with them. Using an influencer to endorse and promote your event will not only create awareness but it will create authenticity. Most influencers became that way because they understand that people truly want to be guided. The heavy lifting of sifting through options for an evening out has become too laborious for the average person. People want to be told where to eat, what to watch, where to shop and what the next trend will be. And an influencer is more than happy to oblige. Research the ones you think most fit the core of your company and reach out to them. Find out what their requirements are to promote for you.
When considering how vast the community is just outside your city, your town or your state – use social media’s opportunities. Let it work for you.
“Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business and not telling anyone”
– Erik Qualman