The How and Why of Using Social Media Ads to Promote Your Next Event

If you want to raise attendance for your upcoming event, there are a number of ways to market and promote. You might choose traditional, blanket efforts like local ads in print and broadcast or mailers, just for example. Or you might opt for more targeted efforts like emailing or calling past event attendees or approaching businesses that might benefit from sending employees to your event.

In this day and age, however, you’re making a big mistake if you fail to promote your event online and through social media channels.  It’s true that online advertising can be expensive and risky, what with all the competition, but you might be surprised to learn the extent of return on investment when you focus your efforts on social media advertising.

When done right, social media ads have the power to reach an extremely precise audience and deliver a powerful message that boosts successes for your upcoming corporate meeting or event. How can you and your event company properly utilize social media ads to promote your next event?  What benefits will you gain in the process? Here’s what you should know.

Work with Event Management to Pinpoint Your Primary Audience

Before you launch any kind of marketing or promotional campaign, you need a clear understanding of who you’re hoping to attract to your event.  Are you interested in young professionals fresh out of college, experienced execs, stay-at-home parents, video game aficionados, or members of the media, for example?

Says Annie Fernandez, Director of Marketing at American Meetings. Inc., “The amazing thing about advertising through social media channels is all the options you have to narrow your audience to very specific groups. Facebook ads are probably the best example of this principle in action. In addition to pushing information to your followers, you have the opportunity to put ads in front of a target audience based on selection of features such as age, gender, economic status, job type, and even interests and preferences, among other attributes.”

In other words, you and your event management team can get very specific, so long as you have parameters in place to target the ideal audience.  It gets even better, though, thanks to features that allow you to re-target users who recently visited your website or blog, or alternately, exclude website visitors that are likely already aware of your event.

You can also use the lookalike audience feature, or create separate ads for mobile and desktop viewing. There are endless opportunities to customize and reach a wider audience without undue spending.

Create and Test Content with Your Event Company

Once you have your target audience and ad preferences squared away, it’s time to work on the content that will compel action, such as clicking through to your event website, following your event social media pages, or signing up to attend your event.  You and your event management team will want to work on the base message and then flesh out several different ad types to test against one another.

A/B and multivariate testing can help you to hone your advertising efforts well in advance of your event, before you make a big push, in order to achieve the best possible results.  Naturally, different types of advertising are likely to work better on different platforms, so give yourself plenty of time for testing prior to launching your social media ads in earnest.

Understand What’s Working and Why

Online advertising platforms offer untold opportunities for tracking and analyzing the results of your marketing and promotional efforts.  If you’re not experienced or adept with this form of advertising, you may need some help from your event company to determine what metrics to track, or to analyze the resultant tidal wave of data.  At the very least, your event management partner should be able to recommend professionals skilled at managing social media advertising campaigns.

Gain the Benefits of Social Promotion

Let’s just start by saying Facebook currently has north of 2 billion monthly active users.  Instagram boasts over 800 million, while Twitter claims more than 330 million at last count.  That’s a lot of eyeballs looking at screens, which means a lot of opportunities to reach a target audience, especially with the right advertising tools at your disposal.

The main benefit event hosts will enjoy when working with an event company on social media ads is the ability to make every dollar count. Blanket advertising is a crap-shoot.  Social media ads go straight to users that are most likely to be interested in what you’re selling, so to speak.

If your campaign is good, you might even encourage sharing, in addition to intended conversions like click-through and sign-up. When done right, using social media ads to promote your event can deliver unsurpassed return on investment.

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