Did you know that as of 2019, there are 3.02 billion users of social media globally?
Here are a few more numbers that can help you picture the current online landscape. More than 60% of consumers today rely on information from social media before making a purchase decision. And of those, about 71% are most likely to make a purchase based on social referrals and influences from peers.
These stats are not shocking or surprising; rather they are pointing to a direction that brands ought to take.
What do these numbers mean for businesses?
Social media might have started with the simple idea of connecting people, but it has evolved to become the most powerful marketing tool in the last decade. It started with Facebook and Twitter, and then, when Instagram took the internet by storm, it redefined the way brands were engaging with their audience. It made marketers relook at their social marketing strategies. Today, social media is used by 97% of marketers to reach their audiences (Hubspot Marketing Statistics 2019).
Joining the trend, there has been a lot of noise around event marketing on social media.
But why should you even consider promoting offline activities online?
The answer is simple. Social signals are critical decision drivers for any kind of audience today. Marketers are harnessing the power of conversations, influence, and outreach, to talk, listen, and target the right audience. Then why should events be left out of this trending game?
Events are perhaps one of the most real-time and yet tricky areas of marketing strategies. Research reveals that 31% of event marketers rate social campaigns to be an integral part of their marketing exercises for events (Endless Events, 2018). About 52% of event managers/planners/marketers believe that Facebook is the most effective channel for event promotion and about 26% believe that LinkedIn works best for business events. These statistics are not just dynamic numbers but a reasonable, logical equation that is telling us that it’s time for marketers to seriously consider exploiting social media and its benefits to boost the visibility of events.
Social media and events: Unraveling the connection
Better outreach – Social media stands out due to its ability to reach a huge audience easily and cost-effectively. It opens up avenues for businesses to generate more leads than you can ever target offline, or even through other digital channels.
Better influence – With content as its currency, social posts, updates, images, videos, and even mentions from previous attendees can have a positive impact on your marketing outreach. Every time your audience sees relevant and quality content around your brand and/or the related event, it takes them one step closer to the complex decision-making process like registering for the event or purchasing a ticket. For instance, for a symposium on Artificial Intelligence, if a prospective attendee stumbles upon conversations around robotics, machine learning, automation, etc. driven by the brand, it is more likely to engage them even before they participate. Such continuous engagement eventually drives them towards registration.
Cost-efficient – Needless to say, social marketing is a lot cheaper and more cost-efficient than other advertising activities. There is a minimal cost involved in maintaining your social presence. The only cost you would incur is the paid advertising, which you can always decide as per your budget. What you need to invest in, is organic engagement and relevant conversations that your audience finds appealing.
More conversions – Conversations lead to conversions. Social media content also helps drive the site traffic. So, in case you are worrying about footfalls on your event registration, then having a strong social presence, backed by influencer marketing, and social ads can yield better attendance at your booth.
Advocacy and value-addition – Social conversations are not just about sharing content but about being a thought leader. While you might be targeting a particular event, your content will speak of your subject matter expertise. And everyone loves to be connected to an expert. It stimulates engagement, improves networking, and increases the loyalty of your audience towards your brand.
On a more operational side, you can use social media to add value to your event management. From interacting with attendees to managing customer support, and gathering feedback, social channels can bring real-time participation.
About 51% of event professionals find it challenging to use social media effectively for event marketing. Quantifying outcomes
With great things come great challenges. If social media can be the next best thing for event marketing, it can also be the other way round. Managing social presence needs dedicated resources and commitment to responding, analyzing feedback, and constantly producing quality content to keep your audience hooked and make them feel a part of the family. If at all you fail to engage them, the entire exercise can backfire, leading to a negative impression on your brand. Also, while it is easy to measure the ROI on a particular event, you might not be able to instantly quantify the effect on brand awareness or its growth.
Dealing with Proliferation
The social platforms themselves have proliferated with marketers struggling to use the right one at any time. And competitors with large budgets tend to paint the town red in the platform taking away a substantial part of the attention of people.
On a parting note
When done right, social media can become your ace card for event promotion and maximize your marketing throughput. With the right platform, right content, and the right audience, you can turn your event into a trend and get everyone tal
Published by – Ratnesh Singh (Nes) – Head of Global Business at Buzznation Event Technologies