If you’re running an event venue business today, social media must be part of your venue marketing strategy. But how can you make sense of the many social media options and use your time effectively?
In this post, we’ll help you hone in on the top event social media platforms. Plus, we’ll show you how to leverage them to maximize your reach and event leads.
In the fast-paced world of event management, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for event venues to connect with their audience. Not only can using social media boost your online presence but it may ultimately increase bookings.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how event venues can harness the potential of social media. We’ll also explain how to create a strong online presence, connect with your target audience, and drive more bookings. Here are some of our favorite tricks you can use to fully book out your venue next season.
The basics: social media for event venues
Before you dive in, take a deep breath. There’s a lot of noise out there about “venue marketing” and you might feel pressure to step up your social media game.
Before you join every platform on the horizon, start with these simple but crucial steps:
- Define your goals with your venue social media. Do you want to grow your following? Drive more leads? Make your objectives clear.
- Identify your target audiences. These can be general buckets, like potential clients, event planners, and event attendees. The more you can define each of those segments’ profiles, the better.
- Develop your strategy. Find your audience and get started driving to your goals. But is that easier said than done? Keep reading to find out how to form your strategy.
Developing a venue social media strategy
You’ve probably heard the phrase, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Well, that holds true when it comes to your venue’s social strategy. Luckily, there is a wealth of helpful resources online to ensure you start off on the right foot.
Many marketing tools, like Hubspot and Coschedule, offer a slew of helpful tips, as well as free templates that’ll make deciding what to post ” and when to post it ” much easier. You can whip up an easy doc or spreadsheet that lists the social media platforms you’re on, when you make a post, and what that post consists of.
To effectively leverage social media, you must begin with a well-defined strategy. This includes identifying your target audience, understanding your venue’s unique selling points, and establishing clear goals for your social media efforts.
1. Use social media to build relationships and provide value for your followers
For every post that promotes your venue, you should also share three or four posts that don’t try to sell anything.
What you share is limited only by your imagination. Some ideas:
- Blogs posts
- Countdowns to big events or news
- Photo or caption contests
- Funny moments
- Post-event highlights
- FAQ answers
- Memes or gifs
- Social media takeovers
Check out your competition for inspiration of what else to share.
Craft compelling content that tells a story about your venue. How? Simply share behind-the-scenes glimpses, client testimonials, and even industry insights to position your venue as an expert in the field.
You can also highlight certain aspects of your event space that others may not notice but can appreciate. For example, what is the architectural history behind the moldings? Any interesting history of the land or its original owners you can share?
Long story short: Going beyond the “here’s our space and what we do” narrative can make your social media more memorable!
2. Use visual storytelling
It’s no secret that, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, the posts that get the most engagement are usually ones that feature multimedia, whether it be an image, a video, or even a GIF. That’s because these types of posts are more eye-catching and dynamic than ones that only have text, or text with a URL.
There are plenty of YouTube tutorials available from channels such as iPhone Photography School to give you some tips to take better photos and video, but you can also take an online class (like this one on Skillshare) or attend an in-person workshop hosted by Apple or your phone’s manufacturer if they offer them.
If you don’t have photos or videos on hand, sites like Unsplash offer hi-resolution photos for free that you can search through with terms like coffee or bistro to find an image that will coincide well with the content you’re posting.
When thinking about social media for venues, consider that your potential customers want to envision their event in your space. You’re marketing to planners who want to transform your space to fit their needs.
Use visuals to tell the story of your space. How flexible is your venue? What types of events have you hosted, and how different did they look? Telling the story of each event with visuals will give planners the creative spark they need to envision their event in your venue.
You might also try hashtagging your #localevents or offering a photo incentive for your followers to crowdsource your visual content.
Your guests aren’t just searching for a hotel, but a hotel in the area they are traveling to for work or play. These trips are often scheduled around local events, tourist attractions, city-wide conferences, and niche interest areas.
3. Respond authentically
Posting is important, but social media isn’t a billboard. It’s interactive, and it serves you best when you interact.
No matter how prepared and dedicated you are to your venue’s social media presence, you won’t get the traction you could be getting without making sure you’re posting with authenticity and responding to your fans.
That means that you shouldn’t use these platforms purely for self-promotion of your business, you should also be interacting, engaging and conversing with your fans, followers, and others in your field and industry.
Moreover, your content should be consistent with your brand’s aesthetics and message. If you’re all about sustainable ingredients or your venue boasts a colorful interior featuring a mural from a local artist, those are things worth touting. The more people feel like they’re seeing content from a human being and not just a brand, the more they’ll be likely to stick with you.
5. Harness the power of live streaming
Live streaming events hosted at your venue can be a game-changer on social media platforms that have newly launched this feature or are trying to get more people to take advantage of the Live feature. Social media brands need to promote their products too so if you time it right you might see an extra boost in engagement through live streaming.
Consider which moments in the event itinerary will have the best lighting, be visually stunning, and interesting to engage with. Look for photography inspiration to help plan out what you’ll capture on the livestream. We personally like to search for phrases such as “film photography event” on Pinterest to get inspired for your shot setups and mood curation.
And if you don’t or aren’t allowed to livestream on behalf of the clients who booked out your venue then host your own livestream some other time. Virtual events such as live Q&A sessions with event planners or venue tours are great ways to leverage this social media feature!
6. Create raving advocates across all social channels
It’s no secret that some of the best marketing for your venue won’t come from your own staff. It’s via word of mouth and follower-generated content like reviews and comments.
The happier your clients are when their event is over, the more likely you are to receive a “thank you” via social media. And that review can easily lead to another booking. Encourage clients to review you on Yelp and Facebook and share photos from their events.
Another great way to create raving advocates for your venue on social media is to engage with user-generated content. User-Generated Content (also referred to as UGC) is content that people have already made about your brand. It’s a social media goldmine for event venues in particular, because attendees love posting about how much fun they had online.
Depending on the platform, you can often reshare things such as Instagram Stories that tag your venue in them within 24 hours of an event. You can also reshare photos and videos posted in more permanent places, like Instagram’s grid posts.
If you have the means, you can further encourage your event collaborators and attendees to include the venue in their posts by holding regular raffles or engagement competitions (think: most liked event-related post of the month for your venue, for example).
Make sure that when you repost UGC that you acknowledge the person you got the content from with a simple “thank you for sharing!” or even commenting on the post with a casual, friendly, and relevant remark.
7. Analyze your approach
We could write an entire guide on this subject alone, but how you track your social media performance and what you track is an art form in itself. However, event venues aiming to reach more people don’t have to make a complex spreadsheet system in order to succeed on social media.
Instead, start by defining what success looks like to you. This can be the number of times the venue is tagged in content after an event or the number of bookings you get through each social media profile per month.
Then, investigate your own social media. What do your most successful posts have in common? What do your least successful posts have in common? Can you repeat that success or modify your next upcoming post to improve it before it goes live?
Social media can be overwhelming at first but by making small changes and observations over time your event space can show up in more feeds faster.
8. Keep handle names consistent
Especially if your name isn’t a super unique one (like The Beachside Grill vs. The Tybee Island Social Club), keeping your social media handles the same, or as similar as possible, will make organically searching for your business on various platforms much easier.
For example: With a company like Gather, it’s probably not surprising that the handle Gather was already taken by the time the company launched a few years back. Thus, the company had to get creative and chose to be GatherTech across social media to stand out with a more unique name without confusion or an endless list of generic search results.
9. Be Consistent
Regularity is key on social media. Create a content calendar and stick to it. This requires building new habits so follow best practices such as starting small, setting realistic goals, and anchoring your social media posting to another habit that already exists in your work routine.
Also, consider using the pillar method for planning content. You can use this to plan out a year’s worth of content in less than a day. All you have to do is choose one major theme for the year.
Next, break that theme into four main points or sub-themes. For example, if your theme is weddings, you can break the idea of getting more wedding bookings down into:
- Showcasing past weddings held at your venue
- Features of the inside of your venue that relate to weddings
- Features of the outside of your venue that relate to weddings
- Any wedding-adjacent event offerings such as hosting engagement photo sessions
These four pillars will make up your main content theme for each quarter of the upcoming year. From there you can get creative with the details of what you actually want to share but at least now you have a clear vision to work off of!
The best social media channels for event venues
With 1.56 billion daily active users on Facebook, it should be no surprise that Facebook is ranked as the most important social platform for marketers.
Here are the secrets to success on Facebook:
- The more your followers engage with your posts (by commenting, liking, or sharing), the more they’ll see you in their newsfeed.
- Facebook has a remarkable number of groups built around common interests. You can create content to foster discussion and engagement within these groups (and potentially reach new customers).
- Features like Messenger make it possible to build personal relationships with potential customers.
- Because Facebook users share their interests and demographics, Facebook’s targeted advertising can be a great option for event venues.
Share your fans’ content on Facebook
The Roger Smith Hotel in New York City uses Facebook as an opportunity to turn their guests into their best ambassadors. By becoming co-content creators, guests play a hands-on role in growing the network and influence of the hotel. That’s one of the reasons the Roger Smith has been recognized as one of the most innovative hotels in the world.
If neither of those two tactics appeals to you, you can always use targeted ads for advertising or re-marketing. These offer a way to target multiple demographics at once.
2. X (formerly known as Twitter)
With almost 350 million users and 500 million Tweets posted per day, this platform is perfect for quick and easy updates. You can share daily or even multiple times a day.
Not sure how to use Twitter for your event venue promotion? Here are some ideas:
- Twitter is ideal for retweeting and resharing content by others. As a result, it’s used by many as a great source of industry news.
- Visuals attract more engagement. Plus, when you use images in your Tweets, you can tag people without it counting toward the character count.
- Embedding your Twitter feed into your venue’s website. This lets visitors know that you’re active.
Here’s another example: The Hyatt Regency in Chicago uses Twitter to engage event attendees and overnight guests. Live Twitter Walls draw conference participants into conversations and comments. At the same time, guests benefit from improved and highly responsive concierge services via Twitter, addressing both issues and questions in record time.
This visual platform is continuing to grow, with over 95 million posts a day and 400 million Instagram Stories a day.
What’s the appeal? People buy from brands they trust, and Instagram helps build that trust. In fact, in 2017, 80% of users willingly connected to a brand on the platform. The combination of a visual with a caption and hashtags makes this platform ideal to build that kind of relationship.
Use Stories and hashtags to build your venue brand on Instagram
Instagram users can now follow hashtags, not just profiles. This broadens the opportunities for planners and potential clients to stumble upon your venue on Instagram.
Similarly, you can promote your venue with Instagram Stories. Stories are a series of images and video only available for 24 hours. You can add drawings, emojis, polls, Q&As, links, and even tags. As a bonus, you can select a few stories to highlight in your profile, letting followers discover your Story collection at their leisure.
If you have ample photos of your space, don’t just use them for your website. Use Pinterest to showcase your venue and inspire planners considering your venue.
Try to showcase your venue’s versatility. Create a board for social, corporate, or association events. Or show your venue during the day versus events hosted at night? There’s no shortage of how you can show off your space on Pinterest.
If your venue hosts corporate events or meetings, then LinkedIn, a B2B platform, is a great place to devote some strategic efforts. On LinkedIn, connect with your past customers and potential clients. Post similar content to engage these connections.
TikTok is the reigning king of social media right now. It has great discoverability (far surpassing Instagram and Facebook) and appeals to up-and-coming event planners.
One approach to TikTok for event venues is to showcase the venue’s unique features and atmosphere through short, captivating videos. For instance, The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has successfully used TikTok to offer glimpses of its luxurious accommodations, stunning fountains, and fine dining options, providing a virtual tour of the venue that entices potential guests.
Additionally, venues can collaborate with TikTok influencers or content creators to generate buzz. For example, The Brooklyn Mirage, a popular event space in New York, partnered with local TikTok influencers to create content that showcases exciting events, stunning decor, and engaging performances. These collaborations can help reach a broader and younger audience, increasing the venue’s visibility.
Use social media to make your job easier
At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. So, as you learn how to promote a venue, start small and slow with your social strategy. Then grow organically as you figure things out. Take the time to define your brand and voice, and be authentic.
Up next, continue your social media acumen with our guide to boosting your local SEO rankings.