You’ve started planning your event and now it’s time to market it. So you sign up for a profile on every single social media network… because you need to be everywhere, right?
Wrong! It’s comforting to know you don’t need to be everywhere, isn’t it?
It’s stressful and exhausting trying to be on every single social media platform. And it’s not doing you any good. What makes social media so effective is being consistent, and you can’t do that on every single platform, unless you’ve got a team of people helping you!
When you’re early in your business, or still operating on your own, pick 1 – 2 platforms and build an audience by being consistent and offering value on those.
So, which ones do you choose? Here are 5 steps that can help you figure that out.
STEP 1) Identify Your Target Market
No marketing effort will be successful without a clear idea of who you are targeting, so this is the crucial first step in determining your social media networks. The target audience for your event does not need to exactly match the audience for your business. More than likely there are similarities, but it could be a subset of your usual audience or one that is a slightly different niche.
Identifying your target market is a huge topic, and I could write several posts just on this topic, but I’ll touch on some important points.
The saying goes, “If you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one,” and it’s so true. Your customers need to feel as if you’re speaking directly to them and that you understand their wants and needs enough to be able to solve their problems. Be specific about who you’re targeting, and don’t be afraid to really niche down.
It’s a good idea to create a customer avatar. This is the practice of developing a full description of one person that represents your ideal customer. Figure out their demographics (age, gender, marital status) as well as how they spend their time (work, hobbies, and other interests).
These details are a good start but what will really make a difference is getting inside their heads: What keeps them up at night? What are they struggling with? What are their desires? What’s the transition you will help them complete? How will they feel after attending your event? Answers to these questions will give you a good picture of who you want to serve and how you can help them. Your audience will feel that you really “get” them, and that you’ll know how to help them.
STEP 2) Find Where Your Clients Are Hanging Out
Now that you know your ideal client for your event, you need to find where they’re active online. There are several ways to do this.
This is not a quick step; it does take some research, but it’s well worth the time investment.
Talk to Your Existing Clients
The easiest way to determine where your clients hang out online is to ask them. If you have current clients, ask them where they spend their time online and which platforms they prefer. Don’t just ask where they have profiles, but find out where they spend their time and where they interact with others. They could have a Pinterest account, for example, but not spend any time there. That won’t help you!
There’s nothing like getting it directly from the source, but if you don’t yet have a client base, or if you have clients that don’t represent the “ideal” client you’re after for this event, there are other ways to find this information.
Search the Platforms
There are capabilities found on each network, such as Facebook Groups and hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, that you can use to search for your ideal client. Conduct searches using keywords relevant to your audience and look at the number of conversations and amount of engagement occurring.
I wrote a blog post on Finding your Ideal Clients on Each Social Media Platform which details specific ways to find your audience on each of the social media sites.
You can post a question directly on the social media sites, but make sure you clarify who you’re targeting so those people will answer. No one’s that interested in answering broad, general questions. But if you can nail down the specific niche when posting your question, then that audience will be more willing to help you out.
For example, don’t just post, “Hi. Any moms out there?” Be more specific. “Looking to connect with Moms who have kids under 5, and who left their corporate jobs to raise their children, and now want to start their own service-based businesses from home.”
Beyond social media sites, you can use other websites, such as Quora and Reddit, to look up answers or connect with your ideal clients and ask which platforms they prefer. Also, if you’re a member of an association or another industry group that includes your ideal clients, ask there. A lot of those organizations have online forums where you can ask questions and search existing posts.
STEP 3) Conduct Competitive Research
The third step in figuring out the best social media networks for marketing your event is to ask competitors. Competitors can be a great source of information! If you’re comfortable reaching out to some of them, go ahead and ask where they’re active and where they connect best with their customers.
If you’re not comfortable talking to them, you can do some research on your own. Take a look at your competitors’ websites and look for the social media icons. Click through and visit their profiles. If they don’t have any icons on their website, do a search for them on each platform.
Another way to find competitors is to look at who your audience is following on each social media platform. Obviously you’ll want to use those in your audience who represent the ideal client for this event.
When conducting the research, don’t just look to see if your competitors have a presence – check out the level of engagement they’re getting. Are they having conversations with their audience, or is it just one way posting with no replies? If there’s no interaction it may be a sign that your clients are not on that network. Before coming to that conclusion though, really look at your competitors’ profiles. If they’re not active themselves, or not posting value, then there’s no reason their audience would interact with them. And that could be a great opportunity for you!
A great tool that can help with competitor research is Buzzsumo, which provides an overview of the number of social media shares a site’s content receives. It’s broken out by platform, so you can see where a competitor’s content was shared and which platforms are the most engaged with that content. There is a charge for certain features, but the free option can provide some good information.
Aside from competitors, check in with complementary businesses. For example, if you’re a wedding planner talk to some florists or event venues. If you’re a wellness coach, talk to some nutritionists or fitness coaches. Where are they connecting with their clients? You may be more comfortable speaking with complementary businesses than competitors, and that’s OK. As long as your ideal client is the same. Connecting with complementary businesses is also a great way to start building relationships for future joint marketing opportunities.
STEP 4) Consider Social Media Network Demographics
Each social media network has its own characteristics and “typical” audience. Just because your ideal client falls outside of these demographics, though, doesn’t mean they aren’t on that platform, especially if you uncovered them in the second step of this process, but since you’ve got to concentrate only on 1 – 2 platforms at first it’s good to take the numbers into account.
Overall, if you’re targeting the younger set, you’ll want to be on Snapchat and Instagram. Facebook is great for 35 – 50 year olds as that’s the majority of their market. When targeting women, Pinterest rules! It’s not just about recipes and decor anymore. LinkedIn is the B2B (business to business) site so it is a bit more formal, but people still buy from people and engagement on LinkedIn is increasing.
Sprout Social created a good article on average user information for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat that you can check out here: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/.
This article provides a good guideline but it does represent averages, so you’ll want to look at your own analytics on each platform to supplement this information and see the demographics of the audience you’re attracting and who is engaging with your content. That will provide a much stronger picture for you.
STEP 5) Determine Type of Content
So, you’ve figured out your ideal event client, found where they’re hanging out online, stalked your competition and matched your client to the networks’ demographics. The last step is matching up the type of content you want to develop with the best platform for sharing it.
This is an important step because in order to be successful with social media marketing you need to be consistent. So make sure that whatever type of content you decide to produce you’ll produce it consistently.
This may seem overwhelming as you may feel that you have to produce all new content for each platform, but that’s not the case. You can repurpose content across several networks, but it’s a good practice not to copy and paste the exact same text. You won’t seem authentic that way.
When doing your research you should have seen which types of posts resonate the most with your ideal clients by the amount of engagement they received. Use that as a guideline for the type of content you should produce, and you can repurpose your content in that way.
Best Content for Each Social Media Network
Live videos, recorded videos, and entertaining & educational posts
Quality images, reposting others’ images (that fit your mission and style, ask permission), quotes, videos, images and short videos for Instagram Stories
Latest happenings, links to blog posts, sharing others’ posts and content, and gifs
Infographics about blog posts and other owned content, saving others’ pins that relate to your topic
Latest happenings, opinions on industry topics, your company news
While you don’t need to be on EVERY social media platform, it is important to pick 1 – 2 and get active! Get to know your ideal client and what’s important to them, and pair that with what you’re comfortable doing, like to do, and will continue to do.
For anyone marketing an event, social media is a great way to get in front of your audience and position your content exactly where they’ll see it. By keeping all of this consistent with your branding, your audience will start to recognize you and flow along the know, like and trust process, which will ultimately lead to sales for your event.