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Sarah Gordon, Assistant Director of Communications
Choate Rosemary Hall

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Choate Rosemary Hall
  • Independent Schools
  • MATs
How Schools Can Use Social Media To Promote Events
Olivia Malaure

It's that time of year when the school calendar is jam packed with special events. Promoting your events on social media is free! There are a few tried and tested social networking tips to help get the word out about your upcoming events. Don't miss out on all the added value that can be created by utilising social media.

From parenting workshops, Christmas gift fairs and fireworks displays; in this article find out how to use social media to support your school's events and make sure they go off with a bang!

CREATE A HASHTAG

A unique hashtag for your event can create social buzz, increase participation and attendance. When creating your Twitter hashtag try to keep it relevant, unique, short and memorable. Don't forget – not everything sounds or looks good as a hashtag. You can save on your Twitter character count if you make your hashtag something you can use in the text of your tweet (rather than one you use after the Tweet). For example #SchoolFireWorks. Remember, the more people that see the hashtag, the higher your chances of re-Tweets and shares. It's all about putting your hashtag in front of as many eyes as possible!

USE IT!

Your hashtag means nothing if you don't use it! Promote it everywhere including your school website, emails/newsletters and social networks. The hashtag is a great way for your attendees to engage with the event content, speakers, and each other. You'll be able to watch what is popular about your event in real-time and get relevant feedback in the process.

ORGANISE CONTESTS AND OFFERS

To spread the word of your hashtag and event more quickly, offer incentives to anyone who re-tweets the hashtag for the weeks or days leading up to the event. Organise special contests and offers. One example is a photo contest, with most people having a camera on their smartphones anyone can get involved in posting images from the event, by using a specific #hashtag. Just ask users to Tweet a photo of them having fun at your event using your chosen hashtag.

ALL IN THE TIMING

The earlier you promote the event and dedicated hashtag, the greater your chances are for success so get started now! Promote early to create momentum and reach a larger audience. Your goal is to saturate social media with word of your event, which is best done by promoting a few months in advance to ensure a wider reach.

REACH OUT

Social media is an ideal channel for initiating conversations. For events with guest performers and speakers, reach out to attendees, speakers, and prospective conference-goers to get them excited about the event. Stay relevant by sharing other related content and initiate social buzz. Creating enthusiasm before the event will encourage others to promote the event.

KNOW YOUR BIGGEST PROMOTERS

Using social correctly can help your attendees to become your biggest promoters! Encourage attendees to use their social networks to help spread the word. Create mutually beneficial relationships with industry and thought leaders and with your local community by sharing their updates and engaging them in conversation online.

SPEAKER NETWORK

Encourage your speakers to promote the event. It is to their own advantage to advertise conferences they are speaking at. Remind them that the more attendees at the event, the more people that get to hear the awesome content they have to share. When you tweet, make sure to mention them with the hopes of a retweet!

USE YOUR NETWORKS

Social 'Groups' are Ideal for school reunions and Alumni events, create a LinkedIn group and a Facebook page for your event. Post topics including activities, photos, sponsors, special guests, speakers, agenda info, and anything else that is relevant for the event.

FOLLOW BACK

Engage with and reward attendees who are regularly promoting and mentioning your events on social media and encourage two-way communication. Get feedback from attendees about what they liked best, least, and what they hope to see for next time. This will increase the likelihood to return the following year and share their positive experiences with their own networks.

INTEGRATE SOCIAL MEDIA INTO YOUR WEBSITE

If you use your school website to promote events having social media feeds embedded on your site will help remind people to hit RT on those interesting posts and Tweets.

AFTER THE EVENT

If you encouraged your attendees to Tweet during the event, there are probably dozens of Tweets out there that you can "Like" and "Re-Tweet". Search for them using your hashtag and share those Tweets to your own feed.

Just because the event is over, that doesn't mean the work is done. There's a lot more to do to not only reward those who engaged with you before and during the event, but also to continue the buzz about your event, brand, and school. Publish event highlights and share all of your favourite images from the event. Post any video clips that you filmed during the event and share a link on your social media platforms to the article on your school blog recapping the event. You can keep the buzz going for days after the event is over, and all you have to do is keep posting material about the event itself!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olivia Malaure

Olivia works with schools worldwide to develop and implement social media strategies. She began her career in television and has worked with production companies including the BBC, Disney and Southern Star Australia. Transferring her skills to the corporate world, she has worked as a leadership skills coach and trained teams from blue chip companies including Coca Cola, AMP and IBM. Prior to her current role as Social Media Specialist at FinalsiteUK, Olivia was Deputy Editor for Families Magazine. Holding a Bachelor of Dramatic Art and a Diploma of Digital Marketing (CIM), her blend of experience gives her a unique understanding of audiences, branding, and storytelling. Olivia has 14+ years of experience working in corporate coaching, publishing and digital marketing.

  • Social Media

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