Get more attendees for your events with our simple guide to effective word-of-mouth marketing.
- Hire people they care about
- Like for like values
- Got event materials? Use them.
- Signed, sealed, delivered
- Make them influential
- Leverage that email list
- Appease the social media gods
- Make their job easy
- Get on their level
- Understand the assignment
- Lean on the community
- Create with, not for
- You gotta play to win
- Gather the data
Getting attendees to promote your event sounds more difficult than it actually is. The truth of the matter? Most event marketers approach it without understanding why people share what they share on social media. We’re here to help change that.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the reasons why attendees talk about and share events, so you can leverage these tactics for your own events and become the not-so-evil marketing genius of your childhood dreams. Or Batman. Whichever sounds better.
Hire people they care about
For this it’s all about who’s a big deal on the platforms of choice.From Noodle the pug’s bones/no bones daily forecast, to @Rod interviewing celebs on the Dune red carpet, Millennials and Gen Z have officially democratised the entire fame game. Now, the internet decides who’s famous - so pay attention to who’s hot, who’s not, and who’s evergreen in the industry when booking your speakers. It’s called social listening - and it’s a justifiable use of social media surfing on company time (don’t come at us if this excuse doesn’t fly with your boss).
Once speakers are locked in, give your attendees the goods to help them share content quickly and easily. Think bite-sized quotes, useful info, and sound grabs packaged in an easily shareable format. It’snot just about inspirational quotes anymore - create a TikTok sound that takes off or a LinkedIn post that resonates with the right crowd, and you’ll get more attention than you bargained for.
Hot tip: take note of what performs well on various platforms, and aim to facilitate similar content for your events. It’s all about being share-worthy.
Like for like values
It’s cool to care. It’s even cooler to show you care, by putting your money where your mouth is. In the ‘show us your receipts’ culture that rules today, if your event supports a specific cause - let attendees tell people about it (and more importantly, prove it). Give them a badge or frame to add to their profile pic, create shareable posts clearly showing the cause they’re supporting, and help them publicly announce their attendance.
Realworld example: Ted’s invitation-only Countdown Summit, which played host to around 1000 leaders from around the world, including TikTok influencer @annaxsitar who shared her attendance with her 10+ million followers.
Got event materials? Use them.
Got a running sheet for the day? An agenda? Full, detailed schedule? Let people share the ins and out of who and what they’re most excited about. Create an Instagram countdown for ticket sales and the event launch, so users can get a reminder when tickets go on sale and share their excitement. Using a specific hashtag? Ask attendees to spread the word so everyone knows where the event chat will be happening.Nobody wants to deal with FOMO when they’ve RSVP’d - give them everything they need to know, and encourage them to spread the word so nobody misses out.
Hot tip: being ‘in the know’ makes them look great on social media. Share exclusive details with your attendees first, and tell them they’re the first to know - they’ll be more likely to share it if it feels exclusive or special.
Signed, sealed, delivered
Emails.They’re flying back and forth all day long. Put them to work, and create a stunning banner for attendees to use in their email signatures - this works particularly well for larger corporate events. Bonus points if it includes a call to action like “Join meat X”.
Make them influential
Equip your attendees with their own promo code so their friends and followers can get a discount on tickets. Everyone loves to help a friend, and a friend who saves you money? Priceless (ish).
Leverage that email list
We know, we know. Everyone says this. But we’ll keep banging on that drum because in case you hadn’t heard, it’s considered rather poor form to put your entire email list on blast. Instead of blindly firing off emails into the ether, consider a more targeted approach to your marketing efforts, and segment your lists into categories.
We love: behaviour and demographic based segments like past attendees vs new attendees, previous VIPs vs basic ticket holders,age range, and location.
Appease the social media influencer gods
Reach out to key influencers in relevant niches - choose your players wisely, and you’ll reach a new (and most importantly, hungry)audience filled with warm potential leads. The key here? Trust. With 96% of people believing the advertising industry doesn’t act with integrity, leaning on more trusted marketing channels is more important than ever. Steer clear of anyone running partnerships every 5 minutes - instead, look to niche micro-influencers with highly engaged audiences. The trust factor is high, and the likelihood of a positive outcome for your event is much higher as well.
Make their job easy
This will surprise nobody, but people who write a newsletter are usually on the lookout for things to talk about in said newsletter. Get on their radar ahead of time, by finding out how they like to work, and making it easy for them to promote your event. What day does their newsletter go out, and when do they plan and schedule it? By staying on top of things on your side and getting them everything they need well in advance, you stand the best possible chance of a feature.
Get on their level
You’ve got deadlines - newsflash, so do your attendees and partners. Show you ‘get it’ by being respectful of that, and giving them plenty of time to work your content into their newsletter. Oh, and be a subscriber. Quid pro quo.
Understand the assignment
Every audience is different, so you need to be agile with your content strategy. What works for one group won’t always work for another,so a little research can go a long way here. Look for tone, style,and the demographic of their audience to gain a better understanding of how to approach them. If you can’t get access to the community because it’s private, it’s time to dig deep and get stuck into research so you tailor your material in a way that will resonate with that audience. What do they find valuable? What sort of things do they share? What problems do they have? What has/hasn’t worked well in the past? It’s these little details that will set your marketing efforts apart from everyone else’s.
Lean on the community
Community marketing is an often overlooked opportunity, which we harness via our platform, Gleanin. We’ve built the platform with word-of-mouth tools to make attendee promotion easy, fast, and enjoyable. Word of mouth remains the most trusted method of marketing, with 92% of people trusting recommendations from people they know, and 70%trusting recommendations from people they don’t know at all(source: OptinMonster). Leveraging this channel effectively can mean the difference between an event going off with a whimper, or a confetti-filled bang. With glitter. And unicorns.
Create with, not for
Duet/Remix their videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels, create ‘fill in the blank’ templates for them to share on their social platforms, collaborate on blog posts and interviews, share their content too - the possibilities are endless for creative collaboration if you’re clever with how you go about it. At the end of the day, we’re all just a few posts away from content creation burnout. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
You gotta play to win
Everyone loves a winner, and social media contests are one of the best ways to drum up awareness for your event via your attendees. A simple ‘share to enter’ contest with tickets as the top prize can generate hundreds of thousands of new impressions, and as a bonus, it leverages the compounding reach of the more public social media networks like LinkedIn and Twitter. Use the force, Luke.
Gather the data
People will talk. Use it! Gather data via a post-event survey, ask people what they loved about it, and request permission to use their feedback in future event promotions. Turn feedback into micro-pieces of content with their name, title, and company, and give them credit via a social shoutout when sharing. Even better, every view is positive reinforcement in the form of social proof.
In short? Don’t underestimate the power attendees hold when it comes to event promotion. Every like, every share, every comment helps increase your reach just that little bit further, making it easier for you to get those all-important ticket sales.