Like it or not, promoting your events on social media has become an essential part of marketing in 2019, and doing so effectively can make or break a show. Here we look the four phases social media marketing needed to ensure you're selling as many tickets as possible.
Guest post by Chris Zaldua of Eventbrite
For better or worse, promoting events on social media is essential to throwing shows in 2019 and beyond. Effective social media promotion can mean the difference between a show tanking and a show selling out. But what exactly does “effective” mean? Is there a “right way” and a “wrong way” to use social media?
The answer is yes, especially if you’re spending money promoting said shows or events. Of course, there’s no magic bullet: Each social platform operates slightly differently, and algorithms change on the fly — usually without notice.
Nevertheless, not all social posts are made equal. Read on to discover the four phases of posting you should use to maximize reach and ensure you’re selling as many tickets as possible.
The first stage — where you announce your event — is crucial for obvious reasons: This is when you pull back the curtain and let the world know about the killer show you’ve put together.
Your goal during this announce stage is to build hype, cement the show date in as many peoples’ minds as possible, and get people talking about your show. (Note that building hype and selling tickets aren’t always synonymous.)
Make sure all your ducks are in a row when you announce: Have a flyer that pops, sharp event copy that lets people know why they can’t miss the show, and triple-check that all the details (show date, onsale date, and cover) are in order.
To make the most out of your announce stage — particularly if tickets aren’t on sale yet — utilize a tracking pixel to keep track of folks interested in your show who didn’t buy a ticket. Once tickets are on sale, the tracking pixel will let you target these on-the-fencers specifically.
2. Sell tickets when the buzz is fresh
The show’s announced and tickets are now on sale. Buy, buy, buy!
In many cases, particularly for smaller shows, there’s no reason to separate announce and onsale stages. But if you’re booking a particularly buzzy or high-profile artist, it makes sense to announce first and launch onsale soon after. That way, you’ll get fans hyped and primed to buy tickets once they’re available.
The onsale stage is where you should be spending a large chunk of your social media advertising dollars. The more fans buy tickets up-front, the more likely they’ll be to convince their friends to come along later on.
Social ads during the onsale stage, particularly on Facebook, should focus on conversions — ticket sales — rather than impressions. If you’re “boosting” your Facebook event, make sure you direct fans to a ticket sale page rather than boosting event RSVPs.
Make sure you’re using Instagram, too, especially Instagram Stories. Build creative designed specifically for Instagram Stories — and with an Instagram Business Account, make sure to add a “Swipe up” link to let fans buy tickets right from the story itself.
3. Maintain interest and momentum
Here’s where things get tricky. The maintenance stage comes when the onsale rush is over, ticket sales stagnate, and maintaining (ahem) fans’ interest is easier said than done.
Don’t worry if ticket sales drop — in fact, expect them to do so. Accordingly, dial back on your social media ad spend during this phase. You’re better off saving budget and going big once the show date looms close.
But even though fans’ interest will naturally wane during this period, don’t give up your social media efforts. Now’s a great time to start posting editorial or interactive content to keep fans engaged: Perhaps your headliner has a recent song premiere or long-form interview to share. Or share some eye-catching photos of your artist from a past live show. And don’t discount the efficacy of social posts designed to engage fans: “What’s your favorite song by X,” or “Which songs are you hoping to hear at this show?”
4. Push hard during the final stretch
It’s here: the final stretch. Depending on the size and scale of your show, the closeout stage could last several days or even several weeks.
Here’s where you should plunge deep back into social advertising: Your job is to reach (and convert) all those fans on the fence. Let fans know that your show is just about to come up — and tickets are moving briskly.
If you utilized a tracking pixel in any of your early phase advertising, now’s the time to lean in and re-target those customers who looked, but did not buy.
Lastly, now’s the time to start interacting with your fans as much as possible: Build hype and show your fans that you’re just as pumped as they are!
Then the show’s over — and it’s time to do it all over again.
Looking for additional insights on how the live music industry is changing — and how to stay one step ahead of your fans? Make sure to read 2019 Music Trends: The Top Predictions From Industry Pros.
Chris Zaldua is a San Francisco-based writer, event producer, record label co-founder, and DJ. His bylines have appeared in SF Weekly, KQED, Resident Advisor, FACT Magazine, Red Bull Music Academy, and more.