Anyone who’s worked at social media will tell you that the #1 challenge is finding fresh content to post. Most best practice guides (e.g.) recommend you feed your Facebook and Instagram Feeds at least once a day, and tweet between 5-10 times a day. Even if you’re recycling some content – which is also fine, within reason – you’re still going to need a bucketload of new stuff to post on a new regular.
Not only that – with organic reach on Facebook and Twitter on the decline, you probably can’t get away with posting terrible content just to hit your best practices quota. If your content fails to resonate with your audience, the all-knowing and all-seeing algorithms that govern social media exposure are going to show less and less of your updates to your followers. And that’s not going to be good for business.
To avoid this bleak fate, you should be looking to post engaging content that actually gets people involved – liking, sharing, tagging their friends in the comments, etc. Where will all this content come from? Besides your own creativity and ingenuity, there are various tools and techniques you can use to keep getting fresh and engaging content out there in a timely fashion. Let’s take a quick look at 19 ideas you can utilize to increase engagement both before your event, and to leverage fan excitement afterwards:
This is an easy one. Everyone loves video – especially social networks, which see it as a means of prolonging the time users spend in their apps and the amount of ads they’re exposed to. Video produces much higher engagement rates compared to other types of content (including, according to one estimate, 1200 percent more shares). Clearly you should be looking at video as part of your social media strategy for 2018 and beyond.
There’s usually plenty to film at an event – from performances to excited fans to the venue itself. While higher production values tend to produce better results, you can get away with using one of the newer smartphones for shorter clips. To give your videos an extra edge, you might want to pass them through an online editor such as Loopster, which allows you to combine multiple clips, add effects and overlay music and titles, directly from your browser and without having to hire a professional editor. You can post live video updates during the event, or show some highlights after it’s done to create excitement for the next one.
The days of “which Disney princess are you” dominating everyone’s Facebook feed are over (thank God!), but quizzes are still a useful tool to have in your arsenal – a good quiz has the dual advantage of being both interactive and highly shareable, i.e. engaging content.
Quizzes can be a very useful way to generate excitement before your event takes place. However, because people have been exposed to them for a while, you’re going to really need to up your game in terms of creativity. Do something original, interesting and on-topic, that you’ve never seen anywhere else before. Don’t be afraid to go a little bit crazy.
In terms of actually creating and designing the quiz, you can use a nifty tool called Apester, which lets you create quizzes that look great – including plenty of ready-to-use templates – and are easy to embed on your event’s webpage.
3. Animated GIFs
Who can explain the lure of animated GIFs? There’s an almost-hypnotic quality to those few seconds of low-res, low-framerate video playing in an endless loop. If you need proof, look no further than the dozens of Facebook pages dedicated to posting GIFs, which have amassed massive followings.
The go-to for animated GIFs is GIPHY, which has a massive free repository you can use to truly express any emotion or respond to any situation. You can also use the site’s online editor to create your own GIFs, assuming you’ve collected some nice video content that can be spliced into a few-second segment.
4. Create banners with short quotes
Another quick win: create an image banner with an inspirational or interesting quote that you believe will resonate with your audience. While you could always go for a cliche’ such as “Creativity is intelligence having fun – Albert Einstein”, you’re bound to see better results by trying to find something that’s more closely related either to your event or to your fans (and that they haven’t heard a million times elsewhere). One of the easiest sources might be the artists / speakers you have lined up for your event – you can probably count on them being popular with the people attending your event, so check if they have any memorable quotes that could be ‘bannerized’. After the event you can feature quotes from satisfied attendees to increase demand for the next one.
Once you have a quote-worthy saying, you’ll want to overlay it on a nice visual. Luckily you can do this without mucking about with complicated and expensive software such as Photoshop by using Canva’s online banner maker, that lets you add text to some great-looking templates to create a really professional-looking banner in no time.
5. Post highlights from previous events
As an events business, you have the built-in advantage of a constant stream of highly photogenic moments that happen organically at your events. Sharing these moments on your social media channels after the fact can help create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) in your audience: if the previous event was such a blast, I surely wouldn’t want to miss the next one. They also create opportunities for engagement by tagging the people in the photographs, friends tagging each other, etc.
Same rule as before applies – if you have a good camera and a skilled photographer nearby, you should put them to good use; but in a pinch, a well-timed smartphone snap could also do the trick.
Image: Origin NYE
6. Create an infographic
Everybody loves data! At least, that’s the case when it’s presented as a series of colourful and easy-to-digest charts, rather than neverending spreadsheets. According to Hubspot, infographics are shared 3x more than other types of content, so it’s clear to see how some good data-driven content can give your engagement rates the boost they need.
You can use Infogram to easily build infographics with a wide range of design options, templates and data visualizations to choose from. The tool itself is simple enough and even has a free version, but be forewarned that you will still need to find some interesting stats to share, and this often the most difficult part in creating an infographic. If you’re promoting a music festival or comedy show, you might want to focus on statistics that are in the same vein – fun and lighthearted, rather than profound and complex.
7. Create a survey and share the results
Surveys are another great way to engage your audience, both before and after the event. While you should probably avoid hot-topic political issues, you can definitely ask your audience to weigh in on topics that are related to the shows and themes of your event. You can use Facebook’s built-in surveys for simple “a vs b” or multiple choice questions, but if you’re looking for something more robust you might want to look at Surveymonkey – pretty much the industry-standard tool.
Surveys are great because they drive audience participation and active engagement, rather than passive consumption. When you have the results, you can use Infogram (covered in the previous item) or Piktochart to visualise them, creating another piece of engaging and shareable content.
8. Create and share a Spotify playlist
Creating a custom Spotify playlist for your event is an awesome way to get your audience pumped in anticipation of your lineup (NB: this works better for music festivals than professional conferences). It can also help with your social engagement by encouraging guests to share their own playlists, comment on their favourite tracks, etc.
Not exactly sure which tracks to include in your Spotify playlists? You can use Audience Intelligence to collect this data from registrants to your past events, and get xray-like insight into your audience’s musical preferences. With this data you’ll be able to create non-obvious playlists that really resonate with fans and serve as another ongoing marketing campaign on the Spotify platform itself.
9. Start a discussion
What’s more social than an open discussion? Getting your followers to comment and participate is the very definition of engagement. One of the best way to do that is to ask an open-ended question and spur some debate. While you’d definitely want to go for something witty or slightly provocative to get people talking, you should probably stay away from offensive or politically charged materials – these generally do not bode well for brands.
10. Create a podcast
Not as quick-and-easy as some of the previous suggestions, but if you have the breadth and resources to get into podcasting, it can be a major boost for your brand. Podcasting is on the rise, as is the audience for podcasts – today you can find one on nearly every topic under the sun, but the market is still far from oversaturated. If you have a unique voice to contribute to your niche, and have the necessary bandwidth to get into it, you should definitely consider starting a podcast as a means to engage with your audience on a whole other level.
Image: Google Trends
In terms of tools to help you get started, there are a few options out there. One of our favourites is Podbean, which gives you an elegant all-in-one solution to create podcasts and host them, with prices starting from as low as $3 monthly.
11. Get one of your artists to do an ask-me-anything on Reddit
If your audience skews in any way towards the geeky, you might want to look at one of the most popular subreddits on the hugely-popular social website Reddit – namely IAmA. This subreddit hosts various people of interest while redditors are encouraged to “ask them anything”. Previous appearances on IAmA have included Jerry Seinfeld, Vince Vaughn and even Barack Obama – so definitely not a channel you should feel allowed to snub offhandedly.
However, event audiences are generally less interested in organisers (no offence) and more in the actual artists, performers, keynote speakers, etc. If you’ve got some interesting talent lined up, try to get him or her to participate in an AmA before the event – this can really help build up excitement and create a stronger personal connection between performers and fans, while allowing you to promote the live talk on all your channels for some nice engagement rates.
12. Run a contest
Running a contest is an excellent way to increase your reach, especially if fans are incentivised to tag their friends, share, or interact in other ways with your social media profile. Prizes such as VIP passes, branded merch or other goodies can help drive participation, in addition to triggering the good old competitive instincts that most people are born with.
To help you run a really great contest, you can use Audiencetools, which has built-in gamification that lets you reward referrals and keep track of your biggest fans on social; and you can use wishpond to run a bunch of different social promotions, including sweepstakes, photo contests, leaderboards and more.
13. Post behind-the-scenes content
The notion of being able to peak behind the curtain and see artists and other greater-than-life figures off the stage and in their ‘natural habitat’ is extremely intriguing for most people, triggering their curiosity and voyeuristic instincts, humanizing the artist and creating a more personal bond between the fandom and their idols.
For all of these reasons, posting behind-the-scenes content on your event’s social outlets is bound to draw attention. Here’s a nice example by FOMO Festival:
14. Swag! Besides serving as an additional revenue channel, merchandise can be a great source of content for your Facebook or Instagram pages. Be classy about it, though – treat this as another way to delight and engage your fans, rather than a means to make a quick buck. Selling swag before the event can also boost ticket sales – after all, if you’ve already bought the t-shirt, you’re that much more likely to want a place to show it off…
15. Use countdowns
Counting down to a major announcement or unveiling of a surprise performance can do wonders for building buzz and excitement, and for giving your audience the sense that something big is about to happen. It also draws engagement as people will return to your page time and again to see what’s new and when the big news is going to be revealed.
To help you run countdowns more effectively, you should probably use a social media scheduling tool such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to get all your updates lined up in advance and to post them at the optimal time-of-day.
16. Curate content (the smart way)
Running low on ideas? Not a problem. All major social networks have some form of ‘share’ button, or generally endorse the concept of posting other people’s content, as long as your audience might find it interesting. Note the last part of your sentence refers to your audience, rather than yourself – so even if you just watched the most amazing Tour de France video, you probably shouldn’t assume it’s relevant if you’re promoting an electronic music festival.
A neat way to curate content while also getting some additional marketing value is snip.ly, which lets you add your own call-to-action to the content you share. You can even take things to the next level and add your remarketing code, which will enable you to later target people who clicked on the shared item via banner ads on the web, Facebook or Twitter.
17. Run a social-integrated experiential activation
Okay, so that title had some pretty long words, but the basic idea is to run an activation at your event that can easily be tied into social media. One of the more popular examples of this could be a photo booth that lets punters post the pictures directly to their Facebook or Instagram accounts, immediately after they are taken. Attendees love these types of activities, and it will significantly increase your reach as the pictures will be posted from their personal profiles, rather than your event’s channel.
Our sister company Token lets you tie-in experiential activations with RFID-enabled access cards, so that the entire process is completely hands-free – from paying for the activity to posting the photos, all through a simple swipe of a wristband or card at an automated reader.
18. Ask for feedback
Once your event is over, you would do well to give attendees a chance to make their voice heard by requesting feedback. Doing this on social media will also generate a lot of engaged traffic around your profile, but bear in mind that the public nature of a social post will mean you’ll often have to deal with negative comments as well as positive ones – so have a plan in place for crisis management and perhaps look for other ways to gather feedback if you know your event was disastrous.
And since you’ve already asked for feedback, don’t treat this just as a way to give attendees the feeling that you’re listening – actually listen to what they have to say! It will do wonders for your next events.