So, you have at last hit the jackpot of event ideas. You have an amazing one in mind.
If you build it, they will come, right? Well, possibly not.
Some of the most impeccably planned events have failed when expected guests failed to show up. Poor turnout with few people milling around in a vast room is every event planner’s nightmare.
Unless you have an ace influencer guest card up your sleeve to act as the main attraction, you really have to promote that event for it to succeed. As it turns out, you do not need a celebrity guest budget to promote your event successfully.
Many strategies just require some focus and good old hard work. Organising an event is not a walk in the park. But there steps you can take to create a buzz about your event and increase attendance. Here are 6 ways you can promote your event using forums and communities.
1. Define your target audience
When most people start to market an event to an online community, they tend to forget to first narrow down the audience they are targeting. You can spend your marketing budget and time on the wrong audience. Sure, you will get your message across, but that audience will not convert.
What does this mean?
When promoting an event to an online community, your goal is to get that community talking about it. They should have a natural interest in your event and an incentive to discuss it. So doing a hit and run campaign will not work.
The key is: They should be eager to attend your type of event in the first place.
The right audience will have a higher chance of attending your event and telling others about it.
For example, if you are planning a conference on marketing, you are better off targeting marketers’ forums and communities. This signals that the event is tailor-made for them.
With your target audience in the bag, it’ll be much easier to narrow down the list of communities where you can promote your event.
2. Use FOMO and social proof
A whopping 69% of millennials experience “fear of missing out” (FOMO) when they are left out of an event that their family or friends are attending.
Thanks to our basic need to follow the crowd, event organisers can take advantage of FOMO to promote their event. Make your event FOMO-worthy by building curiosity around it. How?
Find hubs where your target audience meets, then share your event idea with them.
By promoting your idea to these communities, you are essentially letting them do the heavy lifting for you. All you need is to serve them something of value.
- Find forums or communities that have your target audience
- Share your event with those communities
How exactly do you successfully accomplish these two steps?
3. Find the right forums
51.9% of event planners consider Facebook to be the most effective social media channel. This is followed by LinkedIn and Twitter:
With Facebook, you can also run a paid search agency to find out highly engaged specialised communities that fit your bill. You can create your own group and promote it using Facebook ads.
LinkedIn groups are another good bet.
Create a unified hashtag for all social shares to increase awareness. Start off by guiding the conversation around your promotion. Remember to stay relevant to your community.
Wondering where to start?
Here are a few places you can check out when looking for information on events in the UK:
- Visit Quora and ask away.
- Follow subreddits that talk about events in your area. Here’s one for London.
- Be active on UKEvents.net
4. Ask your past attendees
While reaching out to past attendees may take extra effort, it’s often the best way to get to the finer details to improve your event promotion.
Through emails or phone and online surveys, you can discover which forums or communities your attendees are part of. Use this information to create relationships with these communities and engage them to develop broader target audiences.
5. Engage with the forums and communities
Once you have joined a community that has your target audience, read the guidelines and get acquainted with their culture. Then take your time and share content, ensuring that it is of value. Do not spam your new community but go with their dynamic to avoid being an annoyance.
Put a lot of effort into developing your post. One single line of text, for example, might not do well for event promotion.
How about a video?
70% of marketers claim that videos convert better than any other content.
Let the video convey the value of your event.
Make sure the benefits are crystal clear, too. You can host your video on YouTube or Vimeo and leverage it on all your social media handles with the correct hashtag.
Speaking of video, did you know that Facebook videos have a 10 times higher viral reach than links in YouTube? Include a link that leads to your event registration form near the top of your video.
Throw in some testimonials, too
If you have powerful visual testimonials of a successful past event, don’t forget to use them. This will help build trust better than reading comments.
84% of respondents from this survey said they trust information from people they know over online banner ads.
6. Become invaluable to the community
People love stars. If you’re known as the go-to person, it will be easier to promote your event.
Build a relationship with other forum members. Comment and assist where you can. Remember, this is a community; they’ll value you more when they see you being genuinely helpful.
Little by little, you will form a loyal base; a group of fans who can support you and speak well of your event. With better relationships in the forums or communities, you will be in a position to call in more favours for your event when convenient.
Once you have built these relationships, empower your fans with shareable assets.
Using forums and communities is a great way to promote your events. Find the right forums, engage with your target audience, and offer them an event they cannot resist. Good luck!