Here at Geelong Social Media we recently experienced one of the most perfectly run events down to the finest details. We were lucky enough to be a finalist at the Geelong Small Business Awards (GSBA), in the Social Media Influencer category and the event organiser thought of absolutely everything. It was so impressive, we were inspired to blog about it!
Samantha Krajina, a member of the Geelong Women in Business, the event organiser, reminded attendees that having a small business can be extremely difficult highlighting that owners of the business can be the Managing Director, HR, Marketing as well as the sales person and sometimes you may feel that your skills are not up to scratch in a particular area. Realistically it’s all about learning on the job.
If you have decided to hold an event for your business there are a few key things that you must remember to make the night a success. We have broken it down into crucial categories that MUST be covered:
A complete strategy is needed for a successful event, who do you want to attend? What is your intention and goal for the outcome? Who do you want to attract? Delegation is also an important factor, get your team members that are best suited to each area on the job. It is also important to know which systems you will use and create a workflow with a checklist, a whiteboard with lots of coloured markers is a great starting point!
Make the purchase of tickets easy to do, there is nothing worse than wanting to attend an event with no idea how to buy a ticket! An online solution that we like to use at GSM is Eventbrite. Choose an automatic and easy to use platform that provides copy and paste links you can include in your Social Media posts and your website, as well as your mail-outs.
We like to think of ourselves as social media gurus, so this is a really important device for us and something we can say was thoroughly covered by the Geelong Small Business Awards. Keep your channels active in the lead up to the event. This will give you free coverage and help to communicate casually with your clientele. Your clients will love seeing updates, right down to the creation of the show bags. GSBA utilised the Instagram story function to showcase their sponsors and businesses attending. This technique really helps build up the excitement and you might also consider posting sneak peaks of the gift bags or favours that will be handed out on the night making your attendees feel special and appreciated.
Use Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to announce dates, venues, ticket sale links and of course make sure to create a countdown. We recommend picking a colour scheme and designing your posts around that to ensure consistency and recognition– your posts will stand out in a sea of other posts and people are more likely to engage. Don’t forget to Tweet! Twitter is great for short snappy updates.
The gift bags are a crucial part of the event and can take a lot of thought, consideration and planning. Who doesn’t like getting a present? It gives your guests a lasting reminder after the event as well, and can give contributors an opportunity to promote their services or products.
Firstly you will need to plan how many things you will like to include in the bag and if they accurately represent your brand or the cause you’re advocating for. The GSBA bags featured mementos donated from each of the small businesses attending the event, some were items like candles and USBs corresponding with the business theme but others were vouchers for business services.
Next you will need to choose the perfect bag to showcase the items. This could be inline with your business colours or an eye catching pattern that will photograph well… remember you want to leverage these on social media making it effortless for your attendees get a flawless post for their social channels.
Your clients will be more inclined to attend the event if you offer added value, this can be in the form of exclusive offers or VIP packages. Of course if it is an event for an inspiring cause then you won’t have trouble-finding people to attend.
If you have never written a press release before, don’t be alarmed when broken down they can be super easy. You need to remember to keep press releases to the point highlighting all key points about the event and a point of difference to make the journalist say ‘Hey this has a great angle!’ Basically take out the hard work for them and give them a catchy title and subheading, intriguing quotes from key individuals and don’t forget a short company bio at the end.
You can never win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, in the same way that you can never expect to get publicity if you don’t put your story out there. Bloggers and print journalists are always on the hunt for the next new thing and can often find it hard to come up with content so you need to fulfil their hunger for a good story.
Key Note Speakers
If you are holding an event- an absolute fundamental to success is having a keynote speaker that is well known, interesting and relevant to the cause at hand. The GSBA chose the perfect speakers/ entertainers for night that could relate to the owners of small businesses and they were Andy and Ben from the Block as well as local radio star Lee Stamps aka ‘Stampsy’.
Make sure that you leverage the key individuals for your event and come up with a mutual agreement to promote each other. You should make a social media plan stipulating how many times a week they should post, the type of content you would like and make it simple for them by providing them with a pre set list of @handles and #hashtags—this way they a more likely to post content that is beneficial to you.
Check your calendar
I guess this goes without saying but before you start anything check your personal calendar, local calendar and key note speaker calendar. In doing this you will ensure your event can gain the most reach and attendance with the right people and avoids clashes with other events that would have the same audience.
Additionally you can check with local Facebook community pages and ask if they can share your event details on their pages. Provide them with eye-catching graphics and details of the event and they will be happy to promote your content.
You may think that email marketing is out-dated but this is immensely untrue as email-marketing tools have grown and transformed in recent years.
EDM programs such as Infusionsoft can assist with automating campaigns for your event such as ‘Send email notification for ticket bought’ following with the sequence ‘Follow up with event details’. You can then take it a step further adding ‘Send email for dietary requirements’ giving attendees the option of filling out a web form with types of dietary requirements, don’t forget the ‘other’ option.
Of course if your business is smaller and you have fewer than 20 attendees you can organise your own emails in a regular email program.
Advertising on social channels
Lastly, you’re doing all of this hard work to get your event out there so remember to make use of the promotion tools within Instagram and Facebook. You pay a little amount and reach a large audience. Don’t forget to get HEAPS of photos during the event that are funny and tell a story, this is great after-fodder for your social media. Show everyone how great the night was and how much fun everyone had- because this will attract more for the next event and it’s a fun way to showcase the hard work you have put in.
Handy tip: Promote the post on Instagram and share to Facebook as well, that way you only need to pay for the ad once.
Final note- if you don’t have time to get your online Event Marketing done, you can click below to find out how we can do it all for you!