Address Your Impact
In a previous post we spoke about the value of storytelling in non-profit and how it can help you effectively reach your audience in the digital age. A key part of telling your story is addressing the direct impact of your organization and your specific event. If it’s a recurring event, share pictures from past events, but also let your audience know last year’s outcome and the tangible benefits (and how those benefits might increase with a boon in participation).
When you’re addressing your impact, be as specific as possible. Including relevant facts and statistics can help to emphasize how your event is benefitting the community. But remember that statistics can be dry if not presented in an interesting or engaging way. Consider simple graphics or photos to display your impact if possible, like an easy to digest infographic displaying funds raised.
Extend Your Reach
An easy way to extend the reach of your social media content is to tag people so it’s displayed to their audience as well. In addition to tagging people who appear in the photo, consider tagging relevant parties who are not present but are in some way affiliated (like a city’s social media account, other supporters, benefactors or volunteers) to bring them into the conversation. This will work to extend external brand recognition and buzz surrounding the event.
Encourage Internal Buy In
The first (and easiest) step to helping your social media content gain traction is by having those who are directly involved engage with it. Encourage members, staff or volunteers to like and share your posts and consider creating some sort of incentive for doing so.
Social media is a crowded space, and one of the best ways to break through the noise is to encourage consistency, especially if it’s an initiative or event that’s relevant across multiple Clubs or levels of an organization. An effective way to do this is to use consistent hashtags on Facebook and Twitter to bring together content from various related events.
Create Shareable Assets
If you did steps one through three correctly, and if you make it easy enough, people will be inclined to help you promote the event. Consider creating a poster that can be shared electronically and pushing that out through your various social media accounts. You might be surprised who picks up on it.
Create a Facebook Event
In addition to simply posting about your event on your Facebook page, consider setting up a Facebook event. Here you have an opportunity to be more detailed and provide additional context to those whose interest has already been piqued through regular Facebook posts. Have this be the place where you post specifics (like parking, timing and other logistics) and leave your Facebook page free for more inspirational storytelling posts.
Use Different Mediums for Different Messages
Just as a Facebook page welcomes different kinds of posts than a Facebook event, so do other forms of social media. Twitter is a great place for moment-to-moment updates, as the speedy rhythm of this network allows you to post more times per day without discouraging or annoying your followers. This makes it a great day-of resource. Instagram is a good avenue for more visual content that doesn’t require any user interaction beyond a simple like. Facebook is a great place when a post might need more context or research, like following a link for more information. And Facebook events give you an opportunity to get very specific without running the risk of disengagement.
Social media, especially Twitter, is a great place to build relationships with other community leaders and organizations. Follow community leaders and influencers and engage them in conversations that they care about. Also make sure to retweet other events, projects and important community information so as to encourage them to do the same when your event comes around.
Time Your Messaging
Planning and promoting an event is a long process and it’s important to think about how you evolve the messaging so your audience doesn’t get complacent or irritated by hearing the same thing over and over again. You’ll need to talk about the event for weeks, maybe months, so it’s important that your audience remains engaged. Try and get inside the head of your attendees, and imagine where they would be at in their planning process and promote accordingly.
If the event is weeks or months away, focus on communicating inspirational content that would encourage people to put your event in their calendar. If it’s the week before the event it’s probable that most people will have made the decision whether or not they wish to attend, so you could focus on communicating the event specifics. Then during the day of, make sure to celebrate those who came out and all the things you achieve together. This will make participants feel appreciated, and can be a great resource for future years.
Social media can a noisy place, so it's important that you employ the above tactics to ensure your message makes it through.