Event Marketing in Action

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How Social Media Can Help You Exceed Your Grand Opening Event Expectations

Even though social media has been criticized by some for supposedly keeping us detached from the real world, social interactions actually serve as a huge driver of real-world engagement. Exposure to upcoming events on social media can lead to a huge lift in attendance, as a recent client case study proved.

Our client wanted to raise the number of people coming to their upcoming event, and we put our full effort and creativity behind a campaign to accomplish just that.

As a result of our strategy, their event promotion campaign reached 25,000 people, led to 2,200 Facebook and Instagram event page visits and 412 attendees.

Additionally, those who indicated they were “interested” in the grand opening but did not attend were put into the client’s CRM system as a prime target for retargeting campaigns. They may have missed the first day, but their interest indicates a strong conversion potential, making the positive results of this Facebook event marketing campaign last long after opening day!

Want to learn how to achieve these results for your own grand opening or important business event? Then take a look at the following social media event marketing strategies we successfully put into action below.

Plan a Cascading Timeline of Event Content, Not Just a “One and Done” Push

The most important thing for business owners to recognize about social media event marketing is that the event itself is just one moment in a longer “hype cycle.” An event experience relayed through social media stretches from the moment the event is first teased or announced to long after “social proof” photos of the event are posted.

In fact, in some instance events generate the most positive performance in the days and weeks following the actual event date. Posted content from the event will receive new likes and comments for days on end, especially if it has tagged users. The business hosting the event also has the opportunity to share “memories” from the event for years after. In this way, the moment of the event is just a focal point for all the discussion, engagement and exposure that comes both before and after.

To reflect this long-term process, we recommend that businesses plot out all the essential stages of their campaign and prepare content for each one.

Here is a sample of how an event’s hype cycle can unfold:

  1. A seed is planted — An event is teased or mentioned without specific details, engaging loyal followers or those who get intrigued by mystery
  2. The event is announced — The biggest push comes in the first few hours after an official event announcement is made and the event page goes live. Social media algorithms prize newness, so getting engagement during this window is crucial.
  3. Drip feed of promotion — Most events have several unique selling points worth mentioning. Once the event is announced, it can be promoted by mentioning aspects such as its guest speakers, experiences, and any special food and drink.
  4. The countdown starts — The last few days leading up to the event are a crucial opportunity to get last minute opt-ins, while reminding those who already said they were attending that the event is coming up. Plans change often, so people need to mentally reaffirm their commitment constantly.
  5. Event day extravaganza — The morning before the event takes place should be a time of anticipation. When the event actually happens, both your brand and attendees should be offering social followers proof that the event is in fact awesome by live-publishing videos, photos and other content.
  6. Post-event recap, and floods of social proof — After the event, be sure to capitalize on all the great content created by your business and partnered vendors. Also, keep an eye out for people who post content from the event days after it happened.

Prioritize Conversions During Social Media Event Marketing, but Don’t Overlook “Interested” Invitees

When optimizing campaigns, true conversion metrics should be prized over “vanity” metrics such as likes or mentions. If an event promotion campaign reaches a million people but leads to only a dozen page visits, that campaign is far from successful!

On the other hand, if an event can convert 2,200 event page visits to 819 “yes” or “maybe” responses (a 37% commitment rate), then the event campaign has been successful at convincing a large portion of impressions.

Keep in mind, too, that “Interested” users aren’t just being polite! They may actually have intent to show up but either haven’t made up their mind or haven’t ruled out a potential schedule conflict.

Only 96 people explicitly RSVPed to the event as “Attending,” but 412 people showed up! That number means that around 44% of people who say they are interested may, in fact, come to the event. Also, saying you’re “Interested” on social media still triggers a reminder when the event day approaches.

Keeping this in mind, don’t be discouraged if a majority of responses say they are “Interested” rather than fully committed. But know you do need to re-optimize your event page or campaign if only a low percentage of those exposed click, engage, or convert.

Leverage Event Attendance and Interaction for Remarketing

Because of the sheer amount of engagement involved, social event campaigns leave scads of digital footprints that can be used to build marketing lists.

Firstly, ensure that you have a Facebook pixel installed on your website content so that social media users have a chance to be served ads promoting your event. This strategy can increase your chances of earning conversions by serving ads to those already signalling interest in your brand.

Second, don’t drop the ball on people who ended up being no-shows! Every single person who says they are “Interested” or RSVPs is a great candidate for further promotional exposures. Add custom fields to your CRM or customer database to track their previous engagement, and serve them tailored social media ads or email marketing campaigns to capitalize on every potential customer lead.

Promote Your Next Event With Prospero for Amazing Attendance

Altogether, Prospero reached 25,000 people with the client’s grand opening campaign and earned 412 in-person attendees. Those who showed up have already entered the new business’s sales funnel at advanced stages that foster loyalty. Those who did not attend or convert have still taken their first steps of awareness, and seeing social proof that the event was enjoyable influences them further toward consideration.

Overall, we consider the grand opening event a tremendous success for our client!