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How to engage attendees on social media before an event

In this article, we’re exploring how to get things off to a good start by using social media to secure that engagement long before the doors to your event actually open. 

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Attendee engagement is the holy grail of successful event planning. In this article, we’re exploring how to get things off to a good start by using social media to secure that engagement long before the doors to your event actually open. 

Engaging your audience, after all, should really begin from the moment your event comes onto its radar. That way you’re more likely to: a) drive ticket sales, and b) ensure attendees are genuinely impressed with your event as a whole. Let’s take a look.

How do you engage attendees before an event? 

Engaging attendees before your event is all to do with building anticipation, and even feelings of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out). There are also things you can do to make sure your attendees feel appreciated and wanted, like sending them tailored content or fun things in the post. The more of a picture attendees are able to build of your event prior to attending it, the more connected with it they’re going to feel.

Get your social media branding sorted

So you know you want to use social media to engage your audience in the run up to your event – now it’s time to put the practical elements in place to make this possible.

Before you get started with anything else, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got social media accounts set up on the platforms you want to use, an official hashtag for your event, and ideally some consistent imagery, designs and logos to be used across your content.

Use social media listening early on

Social media listening is the act of monitoring social media mentions to see what people are saying about a specific thing – in this instance, your event.

Lots of people know to see what others are saying about their event after it’s happened to understand more about how successful it was. But social media listening can also be a great tool to use in the run-up to an event, as it can help you gauge people’s expectations, as well as what really resonates with them. This knowledge can then be used to hone your pre-event marketing activities. 

For example, you might notice from monitoring your event’s hashtag that a lot of people are particularly excited about a specific performer. You could then jump on this excitement by organising a sneak-peak interview with this performer to create even more hype around their set and, of course, your event. 

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You can carry out social listening manually (by searching hashtags and keywords associated with your event) or use a social media listening tool. Which route you depend to go down will depend on your budget and the scale of your operation. Some great social media listening tools include:

  • Sprout Social
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Mention
  • Awario

Merge online and offline engagement 

Social media engagement can be an incredibly powerful thing – but there’s definitely still a time and place for offline contact, which can add another layer of authenticity to your marketing activity. For example, you might choose to send surprise pre-event gifts in the post to VIP ticket-buyers, asking them kindly to snap shots of the gifts to post online using your event hashtag. Investing in a move like this is likely to not only keep ticket-buyers excited, but to create intrigue for those still deliberating about attending your event.

Push out exciting behind the scenes content

We’ve all seen how social media live-streaming can offer a really powerful, much more intimate way to connect with our audiences; singers can invite fans into their living rooms for unscheduled acoustic sessions; influential speakers can throw out passionate, improvised talks on their commute to work – the possibilities are vast. 

Harness this power by using social media’s live-streaming capabilities to bring your event attendees backstage, letting them get a glimpse into behind-the-scenes prep, and even key performers’ rehearsals. There aren’t many better ways to create a real buzz around your event, and to engage with your audience in an exciting and impactful way.

Run a social media contest offering free tickets, merch or VIP access

Last but definitely not least, running a social media contest can be a great way to drive up engagement and awareness of your event. All you need to do is decide on a decent prize – say, two free tickets to your event – and then come up with some rules for entry. These can be as simple as getting people to share your post and tag X number of friends in the comments. Or you could get more creative through asking people to contribute a little more. For example, you might ask them to share a relevant photo, come up with a creative pun, or tell a personal story that relates to your event. Then, the best entry wins (just remember to always get entrants to use your hashtag and ideally tag a friend or two). 

It can be easy to think that driving engagement before your event is purely about selling tickets. But in reality, there’s a lot of great work you can do to improve your event’s overall lasting impression by getting people excited about it weeks before it kicks off. 

We hope these tips have been useful – watch this space for our article on using social media to drive audience engagement during your event! 

You might also find our article on using Instagram to promote an event useful >

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