The quest for actionable information on social media tactics will leave you frustrated. It’s easy to find regurgitated fluff. Set objectives. Study your audience. Interact with them. Ensure you are different and useful. Measure your results.
“Oooh, don’t forget to put social media buttons on your website. And definitely create a hashtag. It’s all about the hashtag.”
That’s great, but we need to fill a venue. And we still haven’t reached any potential customers. We haven’t sold any more tickets.
Leaders Not Gurus
Be careful where you gather advice. Ask yourself what these people have to gain by giving this information. If it’s website traffic, they may be great at compelling writing. Ask yourself if you believe they have ten years experience filling venues. Are they worthy of your time and trust?
It’s critical to realize that leading event promoters are busy selling out events. They have results driven social media campaigns and continually improve them. They provide far more value executing their craft than teaching others.
Where does this leave us? Where do I start?
Let me introduce you to the technique of benchmarking. The first thing I do to improve a strategy, is to benchmark against similar businesses. Similar businesses that do it well.
I like to use “big names”, as well as smaller business with a similar models. Let’s pick a small handful of promoters or venues that promote well.
- Drai’s Beach Club, Las Vegas
- Ministry Of Sound, London
- Tao Night Club, Las Vegas
- Longitude Festival – Dublin
- Marquee Day Club – Las Vegas
The idea is not to copy the best. I look deeper at what the benchmarked companies have success with. For example, I don’t only look at vanity metrics such as Facebook likes. I look deeper at what sort of posts are generating engagement, shares and likes.
Do not focus on Twitter followers. Dig deeper and find the which type of tweets are shared the most. What is getting engagement? What unique strategies are driving results?
Know Your Tools
The aim of social media is not to create an interesting Twitter feed or a cool Facebook fan page. That’s what a blog is for. Social media allows us to tap into new audiences. This is an area where most promoters fail.
There are two ways to reach new audiences. We must highlight our speakers, acts and sponsors. We can link to them and initiate cross-promotion (I promote you and you promote me).
We can also encourage our audience to share. One must create posts and tweets that are shareable to reach many people. We do not want to reach just anybody. We want to reach fans. Thus we must filter. Keep a keen eye for win-wins.
Let’s focus on the three main social media tools: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Later, we can dig into emerging trends.
Hashtag spam is real and it’s happening a lot on Facebook. #drink, #free, is not going to sell tickets. If you are putting a hashtag within your Facebook post, then follow it. Do you want to advertise your venue there? Go there and have a look. I would say well over 80% of promoters fail at this.
Use hashtags sparingly on Facebook. They are more suited to Twitter and Instagram. I would not hashtag more that your city such as #Dublin.
Facebook allows us to highlight acts, speakers and sponsors using mentions: @FanPageHere in posts. It shows appreciation and increases reach. It’s a win-win.
Sharing event posters is considered pretty pushy and boring. Give people something they normally do not get. Give them behind the scene shots, back stage shots of past events. Create #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Drai’s Beach Club in Las Vegas is an expert at sharing photos in the form of Facebook Albums. In this case 49 photos. This does a great job of sharing an experience and a feeling of missing out.
This technique results in likes and shares that taps into new audiences. They communicate to Facebook that this post is valuable. Also take note of the cross-promotion techniques that link to Eric Bellinger & LA Leaders and 3/8 Nightclub.
Another Facebook technique is to make it easy for your audience to express something. See how Tao Nightclub helps followers express the excitement of summer.
This post was liked an amazing amount and did not even include cross promotion. Other similar techniques make it easy for followers to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day.
Don’t be afraid to encourage people to share. Ministry of Sound, a London nightclub encourages sharing with a giveaway.
There’s a lot to this offer. They have given a reason to share. They have also used cross-promotion with two more audiences (Appleyard London and Choccywoccydoodah). They have also helped one express gratitude for mothers.
Check out the results …. shared over 400 times. Outstanding work.
There are a lot of promoters using Facebook poorly. Surprisingly a lot are using Twitter effectively. Again the same principles apply. Tap into new audiences through cross promotion. Give something cool to share and keep a keen eye for win-wins.
Longitude Festival, in Ireland, are great at giving back. A good part of their twitter feed are retweets from patrons. It gets results, see below.
YEARS & YEARS ARE GOING TO LONGITUDE I AM CRYING LITERAL TEARS
— shaun. (@shaunharte_) February 20, 2015
A great strategy would be to take a page out of Ministry of Sound’s book and create a giveaway. Have people tweet their best picture from your venue to win a giveaway. This is then easy for you to retweet and share how fun your events are. This is also easy to use as a Facebook Album.
Win-wins are out there. You win, your fans win.
A couple other power users include Marquee Las Vegas and Roadhouse London. Both do a great job of using photos and the @FanpageHere technique. Plenty of behind the scene photos and cross promotion examples. I encourage you to check out their feed and learn.
It is important to note that Twitter is used as a customer service tool, especially for events that span numerous days. Treat it as a crowd based communication tool. Inform attendees of venue changes, facility problems, or schedule updates in real time.
Instagram & Pinterest
Again, the same social media principles apply to Instagram and Pinterest. You would be fine just using Facebook and Twitter. However, we can focus on different age and gender demographics with different platforms.
Younger people are definitely more prevalent on the new platforms. Their Mom & Dad use Facebook, therefore they will not. There are definitely more females using Instagram and Pinterest as well.
We also know these two platforms focus on visual elements. They are few and far between, but a number of promoters have made good use of these platforms.
Marquee Day Club has made outstanding use of promoting their schedule on Instagram.
All in all, promoters are not using Instagram and Pinterest heavily. It is safe, for now, to focus on Twitter and Facebook. To be innovative, do keep an eye out for emerging trends. For example, some clubs are displaying Instagram feeds inside the venue. Take a picture, use the hashtag and your picture will show in the club. After moderation of course. Keep it clean people. Keep it clean.
Bonus: Snap Chat
Snapchat allows users to share images and video. Users can customize the videos and images with drawings to text. Once sent, the “Snaps” are permanently deleted after a specified period of time.
An older generation does not understand this platform at all, but a ten billion dollar valuation argues that we should be paying attention. It’s here to stay, and it’s no surprise that savvy young promoters are capitalizing on this new social channel.
It is important to note Snapchat’s age demographics. 77% of college students are posting to Snapchat everyday. The demographics and the lack of marketing make this platform ideal for nightclub promotion.
Take a look at how Show Nightclub uses Snapchat to market to thousands of followers:
Successful Snapchat marketing tactics are not plentiful. A few brands like Disney are experimenting and using this platform well. The main strategy includes the “Stories” function. This allows you to create a series of short videos or series of pictures.
Use the “Stories” function like Drai’s Beach Club shared an experience on Facebook with Photo Albums. Snapchat allows you to do this with video. There is value in this feature.
I do encourage you experiment with this platform as the demographics are too important to ignore. Download the application, have some fun in the club with it and see how people interact.
Tools And Techniques
I hope I did not provide a social media bible. Then I would be a “guru”. I hope I provided the tools and thought processes to recognize great social media strategies. I hope I taught you to learn from the best.
In a previous article we discussed website design. Now you have a great handle on the social media tools. Your toolbox is coming together.
In a future article we will discuss marketing channels and where to place focus. The effectiveness email marketing and news articles are important topics. Again we will be rigorous and empirical. No guru fluff just actionable results.