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.
Let’s start with the basics of social media for 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 to find your audience and drive your goals. Easier said than done, right? Keep reading to find out how to form your strategy.
Developing a venue social media strategy
“Strategy” sounds complicated, but the basic rules are fairly clear-cut:
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.
2. Use visual storytelling
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.
3. Make it a two-way communication channel
Posting is important — but social media isn’t a billboard. It’s interactive, and it serves you best when you interact.
4. Actively blog
A blog can make it easy to maintain your social media channels — you’ll always have content to share. Better yet, a blog will help show prospective clients what it’s like doing business with you and what goes on behind the scenes.
Start with easy-to-produce content like event recaps and team or client interviews, and then test out more complex topics. Respond to comments, be consistent with posts, include links to your site, and do your best to engage your audience.
5. Create raving advocates across all social channels
It’s no secret — 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.
6. Analyze your approach
Don’t forget to assess how well your venue’s social media strategy is working. Every social platform offers data about your posts, so take advantage of what’s offered to you. Follow the numbers to track your progress, what works, and what still needs tweaking.
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. Figure out which of your posts generate likes and comments, and post similar content more often.
- 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.
Use Facebook Live to multiply your organic reach
Within Facebook, there’s one feature that we love to call out specifically: Facebook Live. Because your followers get a notification when you start streaming, it’s a great way to get their attention.
Consider a monthly tour of your venue, a tutorial, or a behind-the-scenes interview. Use your Facebook Insights Page to see when your followers are online to get the timing right. And make sure you stay “live” for at least 10 minutes to optimize reach.
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.
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 from 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.
Beyond that, Twitter is great for engagement at events. For example, at live events, you can project a “Twitter Live Wall” on a big screen, which encourages engagement of event attendees.
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 becoming bigger and bigger, 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.
In terms of content, Instagram calls for polished phots, such as your venue the day of a big event, details, and behind-the-scenes images.
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.
For inspiration, check out the QEII Centre in London. Its Instagram profile features a Story that showcases the venue during London Fashion Week. They tag the designer for some win-win visibility. (QEII won Venue of The Year at the AEO awards 2018, Most Versatile Venue at the London Venue Awards 2018, and Best Venue Customer Service at the London Venue Awards 2017. They must be doing something right!)
If you have ample photos of your space, don’t just use them for your website. Use Pinterest to showcase your venue and to 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.
Using social media tools to make your job easier
Even if it still seems overwhelming, we promise you can do this. There’s even an app for that! Many social media management tools can make your life easier.
Start with a scheduling app. These apps let you plan posts across channels ahead of time and see all the analytics at once. You have lots of options, like HubSpot, Hootsuite, or Buffer. These tools typically offer a free option, which you can use to familiarize yourself with the tool. Their paid options offer greater access to services.
In terms of creating content, photo editing apps and sites (such as Canva) can turn a photo into a meme or a header image in just a few clicks. You might even have fun doing it!
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.
Radjy is a freelance writer focused on science communication, travel, and events. She is also the co-founder of an eco-tourism project in Portugal. Follow her on Twitter @sradjy or connect with her on LinkedIn.