Six Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Event Traffic

In the months leading up to a special event, activating audiences on social media platforms can help build engagement among both registered attendees and potential new registrants. Whether it’s the Philadelphia Auto Show, IKEA’s “Bring Your Own Friends” or Saint-Gobain’s 350th anniversary exhibition, Future Sensations, Brownstein Group has helped some of the region’s largest events garner both foot and social media traffic. Want to know how we do it? Well, thanks for asking!

Step 1: Start the Rumor Mill

A few months prior to your event, start seeding content across your social channels that hints at its coming but doesn’t reveal all the details. Get people talking, giving just enough information to spark curiosity but not enough to answer all questions. Create a unique hashtag, so the gossip can start to spread organically. Strategically engage the cool kids, like social influencers, bloggers, or podcast producers who can spread the word, letting them feel they have special advanced notice.

Step 2: Be a Tease

As the event nears, increase the frequency of communication with your fans, and diversify tactics. Provide short videos or imagery which highlight top event features, encouraging fans to share with others to spark anticipation in broader audiences. Reveal distinctive attributes or special features one at-at-time, prolonging the element of surprise. Tactics such as Insta-tiling leverage the unique uses of a specific platform to entice an audience and keep them wanting to see more. Incorporate contests or promotions for free tickets or incentives, letting people feel like they have a chance to get cool stuff.

Step 3: Embrace peer pressure

Encourage participation by showing participation. Embed widgets like Tweet Walls into your website to show, in real-time, the buzz around your event. Once people notice that others they respect and admire are attending, they will be more likely to make the commitment. Engage with influential attendees, asking them to proactively promote their own plans and encourage others to join. Use paid media, SEM and promoted social posts to cast a wider net, focusing on branded or event-specific keywords.

Step 4: Invoke invite-envy

Even if your event is open to the public, establishing dedicated groups or event pages on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn can help foster a sense of urgency for attendance while maintaining an exclusive feel, as though the guest has been hand-selected to receive the special invitation. Once people begin to commit to the virtual invitation, others in their networks will follow suit. Make this a simple process for fans by incorporating sharing or refer-a-friend functionalities into promotional applications as well.

Step 5: Throw the party of the year

Now that you’ve built the anticipation, you’d better deliver on your promises. Whether its elegance, excitement, intellectual stimulation, entertainment, new products or great deals that brought your audience to you, nothing will turn them off quicker than unmet expectations when they’ve committed precious time and treasure to your program. Your social fans will have high expectations, so be certain that your program impresses. Keep that promise, and your social fans can become your brand’s BFFs.

Step 6: Reminisce

Finally, be sure to capture evidence of the fun, encourage user-generated content and post in real-time. A selfie promo doesn’t hurt, either.