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SOCIAL MEDIA 7 secrets to better event marketing BY CATHERINE HEEG DO YOU WANT to get more people to come out to your consumer events? Are you eager to cre- ate more buzz around your social marketing? How about making better use of social ads to captivate your audiences? You’ve come to the right page! Social marketing provides a wealth of simple ways to get your message out there. While many marketers rely solely on advertising, let’s explore some under- used gems to fill your tours or events. Easy event marketing tools Creating buzz and building ticket sales are essential whether you’re hosting a consumer event to promote your newest tour or looking to boost attendance at a concert or festival. Facebook Events is a powerful tool that’s unused by so many. By simply filling in a template, you can create a marketing tool that you can use to invite individu- als and as the basis for an ad. After clicking “Create an event” on your business page, you’ll be taken to a template and can insert all the details of your upcoming event: date, time, place, ticket options and an outstanding photo to entice viewers. Make sure you include a website that leads people to more information or a ticket purchase opportunity. Interested Cover image: Remember back in the day when businesses spent time and money on window displays and posters? Your cover images are modern-day storefront windows. They are perfect (and under- utilized) tools to showcase your tours, events and festivals. Have you changed the cover images on your social sites lately? How about changing cover images to match the themes of your social posts? You can use an editorial calendar to plan your weekly themes as part of a cohesive marketing plan, and changing your cover images is a nother tool in your toolbox. Here’s a sample editorial calen- dar you can try out: bit.ly/2s1Qnah. Email signature: Another tactic in a cohesive marketing plan that’s so pow- erful, yet often neglected, is your email signature line. While we all include our contact info, how many times do you see a line in an email signature show- casing an upcoming event? For example, you could write “Do you want to learn more about cruising? When you ‘like’ my Facebook page, you’ll find travel tips and unique cruise des- tinations.” And be sure to hyperlink the highlighted words to your social site. Note: Follow this message with your standard e-signature and contact info. Stories sell! Facebook Event template example 20 July 2017 Are you looking for longer exposure to your Instagram and Snapchat fans? With the ephemeral style of these plat- forms, staying in front of your fans is easier when you use the Stories feature. Adding a snap to a story increases its exposure time to 24 hours, and you can get creative with combining images, text, video and filters. Twitter, with its feature called Moments, offers another way of con- veying a story. A moment is a roundup of tweets that mention your event or Going account. You might consider promoting the top tweets of each week to show- case your upcoming event. This will pro- vide fans with more information—and more photos to entice them. Social ads attract Have you seen the cool new ads on Facebook that immerse you in photos and videos? What an amazing way to show people the fun and excitement of your next event or group tour. Canvas ads and posts let you blend still images, text, call-to-action but- tons and videos into a fully immersive, mobile-only experience that’s bound to attract and engage. Carousel ads are a bit easier to create as they only feature still images and video. Imagine the advertising possibilities for your next group tour, festival or event. When creating your Canvas or Carousel ads, try to generate a number of versions featuring different images and text. Then test each version to see which one brings you the best results. As with any type of ad, having a highly targeted audience is key to your success. Learn more about target audiences here: bit.ly/2qINuaq. Creating buzz begins with simple tac- tics like these that will help you stand out in our noisy world of social mar- keting. Sometimes these underutilized tools can get your messages noticed and generate the most success because of their simplicity. Which of these tactics will you use in your next marketing campaign? Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. An NTA presenter since 2009, she understands members and their businesses. Connect with her socially and at cmsspeaking.com.