By now you probably are aware of the importance of reaching your target audience on social media. It's a winning strategy, if you do the right things. It can also be a very time-consuming task, especially given everything else you have to do to organize a large, successful event. However, the rewards are well worth the effort! Keep these strategies in mind as you embark on your social media journey:
1) Use Social Media Platforms Effectively: We all know the big 3 platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram...but how do you utilize these platforms effectively? Facebook cannot be ignored, it makes sense to have a strong presence there. However, only a few people will see your posts unless you pay to boost them or use staff and volunteers to help spread the posts. Twitter is another big one that offers enormous potential for re-tweeting and sharing content, but content has to resonate with your audience. Using correctly sized graphics and less than 140 character count is key. Instagram is the new star, with engagement rates at 58x that of Facebook. Use Instagram effectively by sharing compelling graphics that grab the attention of the consumer, a branded look and feel, and hashtags.
2) Create a Campaign: Most race organizers want to increase registrations - while this sounds easy, it is no simple feat! Create a social media campaign that attracts people to your event, for whatever reason they might be interested in attending (i.e. is your event based around a big holiday? Does your event tie into a cause that is near and dear to people's hearts? Does your event offer an entertainment value that is different from other events? Does your event take place in a unique or beautiful location?) All of these attributes might be reasons that attract a certain type of participant or donor. Create a campaign that speaks to all of them - and then tie it all together using compelling branding and messaging.
3) Be Consistent: Consistency is key. Posting regularly on social media platforms is of utmost importance to create brand awareness, build your online audience, and fill your funnel of potential participants and donors. Use a social media management platform to pre-schedule messages for a week at a time.
4) Harness the Power of Hashtags: Not only do hashtags offer a fun way to brand your event, but they are also critical to use to tap into conversations, geo-target, and get you found by more people who have common interests. Think of hashtags as the Dewey Decimal system of the internet. It is how consumers search for topics of interest online. Use hashtags tailored to each platform, and be astute with them (i.e. don't hashtag every word or use hashtags that are irrelevant to your content.)
5) Measure and Track Results: Pull analytics regularly to measure results. You can track the success of each platform, each post, the number of visits to your website, and what messages are resonating best with your audience. Make adjustments based on hard data, and maximize your successes.
6) Have fun! Social media is entertaining, make sure you aren't boring your audience with the same stale messages over and over.
If you are short-staffed and pressed for time, consider outsourcing social media campaign management to an expert. It will save you time, ensure your social media campaign gets adequate attention, and with the right execution; create lasting awareness of your brand and your event, while increasing participation from the community at large.