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Event marketing | 6 May 2016

Tested Viral Marketing Tactics To Turbocharge Event Buzz

David Epstein

You want attendees to get excited about an upcoming event.

You want potential attendees to get so excited that they register for your event.

You want to reach the right audience without breaking the bank.

None of those goals are easy to achieve and you already know that, which is why you’re here.

Fortunately, there are ways for event marketers to excite both potential and already registered event attendees using psychological principles that some of the best brands are already using to propel their successful businesses every day.

Keep reading to uncover some of those secrets.

Learn The STEPPS Of Virality

Jonah Berger, a professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, has done one of the most popular studies in this field, which he wrote about in his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On. To make things easy for us, he created an acronym called STEPPS:

Social Currency— People like to share information that makes themselves appear knowledgeable, unique, helpful, funny, etc. because they want to be viewed in a positive light by others. Keep this in mind when creating marketing content. Is this shareable? Will sharing this make someone feel hip and cool?

Triggers— Triggers are essentially reminders; find ways to remain at the forefront of your viewers’ minds. Be relevant! Follow and take advantage of trends.

Emotion— According to Berger, “when we care, we share.” Most will agree that we tend to share content that make us feel an emotion that we want others in our network to feel as well.

Public— Once there is “social proof” that content is worth sharing, we are more likely to hop on the bandwagon.

Practical Value— We like to help others and use it to influence the way others perceive us. If we believe it is information that is useful, we are more likely to share it.

Stories— Who doesn’t like a good story? People like narratives because they are relatable.


Create An Event With Purpose

“Purposeful brands” are capable of forming stronger connections with audience members than brands that simply hold some utilitarian function.

Why does Dove soap have such a positive appeal to Generation X women? Because they launched their award-winning “Real Beauty” campaign to show consumers that Dove cared about helping to feel empowered and positive about their bodies. 

Instead of creating a purposeful brand, Dove could have simply focused on building a utilitarian value proposition, but “Dove, it gets you clean” is far less powerful than “You are more beautiful than you think.


Embrace Omni-Channel Distribution Or Be Forgotten

During a normal week think about how many different outlets you use to consume content, communicate with friends and colleagues, and entertain yourself. One Nielsen study indicates that people may visit as many as 70 different websites a week.

If you aren’t in front of eyeballs frequently enough, then potential event attendees will simply forget about your event.

That’s where omni-channel marketing comes in. It means that as marketers you must be where your audience is, if your target event attendees uses Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to talk business and search for events – you’ve got to be there too.

If they use trade magazines, newspapers and podcasts to learn about industry trends and your event is about business trends – you’ve got to be there too.

Omni channel marketing doesn’t necessarily mean that event marketers need to invest in expensive advertising strategies. But it does mean that event marketers must think creatively about how they can get event related content in front of the right audience across all of the appropriate outlets to create a memorable and viral brand.


Make It Easy For Attendees To Share

In order to create an event capable of “going viral,” sharing the event with friends or colleagues must be as frictionless as possible. In a recent report published in Forbes, 31% of all traffic comes from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

People are already sharing content online, as an event marketer, you need to make it easy for attendees to share your content as well.

If you have designed a brand that takes STEPPS into account, than you are well on your way to building something people will want to share. Otherwise, you’ll need to first create a brand that event attendees will want to share with contacts.

One way to encourage sharing is to use event registration software that has social sharing built into the registration process. Some platforms prompt attendees who have just registered to share the event on social media or to email the event details to a friend or colleague. To further incentivize sharing, the platforms will empower attendees to earn a small discount for every new person they get to register for the event.

Companies like Uber, Dropbox, and Airbnb have already incorporated double-sided discounts into their platforms and have seen dramatically positive results.


What’s Next

Master virality by downloading the Social Media Bundle a series of guides that will help you create event buzz and increase ticket sales. Click the button below to grab a copy (for free) now!

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