Leveraging Social Media to Help Your Event

social media bullhornAs human beings, we yearn for a sense of belonging. Social media plays on that basic need. Learning how to leverage social media to tap into that need can help you grow your event.

The greatest part about social media from a business perspective is that it offers free, powerful and believable testimonials. One person’s silly hashtag is your public relations dream! But don’t go thinking that starting an Instagram account is going to turn your event into the next IRONMAN. There’s a common misconception that Facebook posts and tweets will automatically boost your numbers. Create an account, throw up a few posts and the people will come, right?

A poorly managed social media account is the same or worse than no social media account at all. Like all other marketing outlets, social media requires strategy.

One thing the tech savvy do NOT want to see is a Facebook page with only three posts from ten months ago or a Pinterest page hosting only pictures of puppies. (I mean, we all like puppies, but you should only use puppies if they actually pertain to your topic or business.)

So, what DO those social media-lites want to see? It all depends on your event and what you are looking to accomplish. However, following these rules will help you leverage these great marketing tools and make the most out of the experience.

Remember you’re connecting with people, not computers.

Social media is all about what its name implies…being social. When you’re posting and connecting on social media, remember that you’re talking to real people. Real people that happen to be interested enough in your product to talk about it in their free time. Make them feel appreciated and connected. Comment, retweet, like, favorite and share what your followers are saying and they’ll continue to do the same in return.

Selfies are selfless promotion.

When your participants post pictures of themselves crossing the finish line or enjoying post-race activities, they’re sharing the joy they’re experiencing. Lucky for you, they are selflessly promoting your event. Their followers are going to take a second look. Again, use this time to stay connected. Comment on their posts, share or like! Your participants are going up to bat for you when they post. Don’t let it go to waste.

 Pick the perfect #hashtag

Hashtags are a way for users to follow your event in real time. While Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake may have poked fun at the often-overused# symbol, it can be a very powerful tool. Pick and promote a hashtag for your event and encourage your participants to post pictures and videos of the event. Using a hashtag not only allows others to link up with individuals, but it allows you to discover your audience in new ways and tap into their “social” lives. Putting a hashtag on your event is much like dressing your kid in a neon yellow shirt at your visit to the amusement park. They are easy to spot! Why make it hard on yourself when something so simple (and fun!) can help you organize your followers.

There are so many ways and so many outlets you can utilize to grow your event. But be smart. Do a few and do them right. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin but you also don’t want to miss out on opportunities. Find out where your participants spend the most time and join them!

Social media allows you to connect with your participants on a personal level – it doesn’t just have to be for race day anymore!