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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime ~ Chinese proverb

You know what they say – give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll be out on the lake every dang weekend with his fishing buddies. Oh, wait – we weren’t talking about my husband’s fishing habit? Just kidding (mostly).

All joking aside, I’m here to start teaching you how to fish.

Our presentation at the ASAE Marketing, Membership, & Communications Conference (#MMCConf) in Washington D.C. has come and gone, but it’s time to start turning that info into actionable strategies for reeling in your audience (something we’ll also be covering in-depth during our June 21 webinar). Let’s cast out our lines, shall we?

The Right Bait in the Right Spot

These days, you can hardly step foot out on the web or dip a toe into the socialverse without running smack-dab into promotions for hundreds of other events. And those events are all aggressively competing for attention from potential attendees, exhibitors, media, and analysts. So, how do you break through the noise and rise above the maddening crowd?

Any good fisherman (or woman, for that matter) understands that you need to start by finding a good fishing hole and then loading up your hook with the right kind of bait. How do you know what the right bait is? Well, who it is you’re trying to catch? It comes back to one of my cardinal rules for effective social media and event marketing: know thy audience.

Are you trying to lure in young professionals? C-Suite executives? SMBs? Industry practitioners? When it comes to event marketing, there are already a lot of lines in the water. Fine-tuning content and promotional messaging by platform is a must. Not only do you have to know whom you’re trying to reach, you have to know where that crowd hangs out, and then tailor your content to that environment.

Young professionals? Try funny videos or memes on Instagram and Snapchat. C-Suiters? A well-crafted blog post published via LinkedIn Pulse will do the trick. SMBs? Share timely, relevant content on Facebook. Industry practitioners? Hit them with a tweetstream that mixes up original and curated content.

Chumming the waters with the right content at the right time on the right platform will help you catch the attention of your audience, eventually enabling you to successfully reel them in.

Hook, Line, and Sinker

What brings a fish to the hook? Snaring the attention of a game fish requires more than just tossing a hook and line into the water. You need something – a flicker of movement, a splash of color – to draw them to you. Most anglers have a vast array of lures, bobbers, and rigs in their tackle box because they realize they won’t catch a darn thing without them. The same is true for your quarry.

Commanding your audience’s attention is critical – you need to grab their focus quickly and deliver your message before they move onto something else. One good place to get started is by creating big, bold visuals with only the minimal amount of text necessary, then deploying them as Twitter headers, and Facebook and LinkedIn covers. Expanding that graphic theme into a drip campaign is an impactful way of introducing key speakers and sessions, and giving your audiences a sneak peek at what lies in store for them at your event.

Pitching to a younger crowd? Why not try a takeover, permitting your speakers, executives, or heck, even your interns to assume control of your Instagram or Snapchat accounts for a day? Allowing them to share content from their unique worldview can help your campaign better resonate with Millennials and other younger target audiences.

Finally, do remember that rich media (and particularly, video) is king. Why do we watch “behind the scenes” documentaries or “making of” featurettes for our favorite TV shows and movies? Because everyone loves to peek behind the curtain and catch a glimpse of how the magic happens. Candid, behind-the-scenes photos and videos are perfect for forging meaningful connections, as you’re introducing human characters to your story that audiences can personally identify with.

Adding that flicker of movement, that splash of color – that’s how you’ll get your audience to first bite, and then engage with you, hook, line, and sinker.

Good Things Come to Those Who Bait

Social media event marketing is a lot like fishing. It depends on a combo of skill, strategy, timing, and a little bit of luck. But, by relying on your fundamentals and the recommendations I’ve laid out here, you should find that it’s a tad easier to reel your audience in.

Don’t forget, we’re going to be presenting our next Interprose Master Class: Boosting Conference Engagement with Live Social Sharing at 11am EDT on June 21, 2018. Registration is free, so I hope you’ll come join us. And if you’re looking for Part I of this event marketing series, you’ll find it here.

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