Unless you’re just getting into the events game, chances are you and your team are already well-versed in promoting your live events on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. But now that you’ve begun planning and hosting purely virtual events, is there something you should be doing differently? Social media is a great place to start introducing your audience to your latest virtual experiences, whether by showcasing your special guests and lineup or live streaming exclusives. And maybe most importantly, you can explain the way everything is planned to work in an online format!
Read on for four easy ways to begin promoting your virtual events through social media channels.
Harness Your Hashtags
One of the primary ways to get your posts noticed on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter has always been the hashtag. When introducing an entirely original experience like a new virtual event, you’ll need to do some research to determine which types of hashtags are poised to have the most impact on growing your reach. The first thing to consider is that geographical limitations are essentially a thing of the past; with your event taking place virtually, you could have attendees from anywhere in the world joining your live streams with just the click of a button. That said, start thinking more broadly about your target audience. While in the past you may have relied on hashtags like #NYCMusicScene or #SeattleComedy, now you’ll need to focus more on your audience’s interests and motivations. Think more along the lines of #LiveMusicFans or #StandupComedy.
Be sure to add virtual-specific hashtags into the mix as well. General hashtags like #LiveStreamingEvents or #VirtualPerformances can get your posts in front of new audiences who are ready to jump into online entertainment. Plus, to keep your existing audience fully informed, it’s a good idea to update your existing event-branded hashtag to reflect your new virtual content. Make it unique from any of your existing event hashtags to drive home the fact that you’ve gone virtual. If your regular hashtag is #PrimaCon, for example, a simple tweak to #PrimaConVirtual or #PrimaConOnline may be all the change you need!
Push New Content Often
Promoting your online experience comes down to one primary thing: event content! Your lineup of performers, special guest speakers, exclusive movie previews, game demos, or virtual celebrity meet & greets will be among your most valuable promotional assets when it comes to your online events, and there’s even more truth to that fact now than ever before. To keep expectations high and generate continuous buzz leading up to your virtual event, keep the focus on your live stream content by sharing as much content as possible. Share teaser clips featuring your most anticipated sessions, regularly announce new lineup additions or exclusive previews to be debuted, showcase the branded games your event will offer, and share clips of any pre-event VIP Q&As or limited-capacity video chat sessions to provide a taste of what’s to come! Also, remember to give your sponsors a shoutout on social, which can add value to your sponsorship packages and further engage your fanbase!.
Get your followers engaged and grow your audience even further by running social media contests leading up to your virtual event. Start with an interaction contest inviting your followers to share or tag a friend on a given social post by a certain date and time, with one random lucky winner selected to receive an exclusive prize, like a three minute one-on-one video chat with a celebrity guest of their choice. This sort of contest has the potential to really grow your following, so remind users that they need to follow your account for a chance to win, enabling you to continue marketing to them in the weeks leading up to your event! It’s also a good idea to consider a contest that taps into your fans’ creative sides. For example, invite your followers to create an event-specific meme with a photo caption contest. Post an image to your social accounts and encourage your followers to comment with a caption for a chance to win VIP perks, like autographed memorabilia shipped to their door. Plus, you can add to the excitement by having one of your virtual event’s top-billed performers or speakers select the winning entry!
Collect and Share User-Generated Content
With all the contests and event teasers you’ve begun sharing, by this point you’re likely to be on the receiving end of some excited fan reactions. Continue to build on your audience’s excitement and further foster a sense of virtual community by sharing user generated content (UGC) on your social channels. While there’s a good chance you’ll be sent some amazing content completely unsolicited (online fandoms are nothing if not creative and enthusiastic!) you might also consider sharing a post inviting a specific type of UGC that you can then repurpose for promotional efforts. For instance, you could request fans send a 5 second TikTok where they dance to a specific song cosplaying as their favorite anime character. Or maybe you’d like to share some of their favorite photo ops from last year’s in-person event as a way to build excitement for your upcoming virtual meet & greet sessions! Whichever way you decide, your fans and attendees can be one of your greatest sources of social content.