For a sports junkie like me, this is a very special week. Of course I’m talking about the start of the NFL season! And it couldn’t have come at a better time as we’ve been caught in what I like to call “Sports Limbo.” This falls during the summer when all we have to entertain ourselves is with mid-season baseball… and frankly that’s the most boring time of the year for an already boring sport. Just sayin’.
But, the kickoff of the NFL season is one of the most hyped events of the year. I’m sure you’ve seen it plastered all over your social media feeds with stuff like this. The NFL loves it, of course. They want to hype this thing up as much as possible, and get NFL fans across the country frothing at the mouth for a new season hard-hitting drama.
Hype and awareness is, of course, critical for the success of any major event. It isn’t just global events like these either. The success of small-town arts festivals, open houses, networking events, trade shows and conferences all hinge on how hyped they can get their event. How would you feel if you threw a party and no one showed up?
Even as far as a few years ago, building hype for an event was challenging, relying heavily on word of mouth and hitting the streets. But now, with this little thing called Twitter, raising awareness and hype for your events, shows, conferences and more has never been easier.
Here’s a couple ways to can use social media to help ensure the success of your event, with a few examples.
Create a hashtag
When it comes to raising awareness, the best and simplest place to start is by creating a hashtag.
As obnoxious as they can be when you see a bazillion of them crammed into one tweet, the original concept and execution of a hashtag is brilliant and invaluable. A clever hashtag unifies your marketing efforts. Followers can discover the hashtag for the first time, follow the link, and are suddenly exposed to all the information you’ve put out before connecting to the hashtag.
A hashtag also helps engagement. Fans and participants alike can adopt the hashtag to share before, during and after the event. Their respective audiences, who may never have heard of you, will in turn be exposed.
Start a countdown
Nothing gets people more hyped up than a countdown. Don’t believe me? Just look at how many people show up to Time Square on New Year’s Eve.
A countdown in the days, weeks and even months leading up to your event keeps awareness at a constant level. Want people to show up for an event? Don’t let them forget it’s happening.
The countdown also gives you an opportunity to disseminate new or useful pieces of information. Links to register, updates about dates and times, special speakers or attendees, that kind of thing. With the help of graphic design, you can also have a little bit of fun with it. Indiana’s football team incorporated jersey numbers throughout their countdown, for instance.
Spark a conversation
Twitter is so useful for marketing because you can create a dialogue and direct interaction in an instant. Just tweet out a question and you can get immediate feedback.
Getting your fans talking to you, or better yet each other, can get a buzz going about an event. Pictures from previous years are one of the best ways to get a dialogue started. “What was your favorite part of last year’s event?” “Who remembers this moment from last year?” “What are you most looking forward to this year?”
Simple questions posed with a picture can spark nostalgia in an instant. Remember, an engaged audience is an aware audience. More importantly, an engaged audience is one that is more likely to participate and share.
Let others be your hype men
If you do a great job of awareness building and nurturing your fan base over the duration of your marketing, you can wind up with an audience that will do some marketing for you. After all, everybody deserves a hype man. Everybody deserves a Flava Flav.
During the build up to the event, and even during the event itself, share people’s tweets that tag you or utilize the hashtag you’ve created. Also be sure to encourage people involved in the event to to tweet, tag and use the hashtag as well for their audiences.
Social media is just one of the places you can build hype for an event. Successful promotion incorporates other areas such as blogging, emails and web design. Coordinating your marketing efforts is much easier if you have a plan – which is where a content calendar comes in handy. Download a template here and start planning your next event.