It’s no surprise that social media was a recurring topic at this year’s Catersource + The Special Event, held this past March in Orlando, FL. Let’s take a look at some of the best advice given by event pros and how to apply it to your own business.
Creating valuable content
Shannon Tarrant (Wedding Venue Map) discussed content strategy in her session Death to the Post and Pray Method: Turn Social Media Followers into $$$. Before you post anything online (Instagram specifically), she encourages figuring out your “why:” are you posting to drive traffic to your website? To humanize your brand? To showcase your recent work? Figuring out the “why” will not only make content creation easier but will effectively communicate your message to your audience, leading to more direct actions on their end.
After you know your “why,” focus on a tangible strategy for content creation, engagement, and conversions. Tarrant even suggests having a different team member dedicated to each of these areas, since they require different skillsets and are overwhelming for just one person.
Choose three to six categories (what Tarrant calls “content pillars”) that your brand will consistently discuss and amplify. These can be topics like culture, education, trust building, promotion, or inspiration. Remember, you don’t need to post everything all the time. Focus on what you can do and be consistent. Once you’ve picked your topics, Tarrant says to write your captions first and then choose a photo to go along with them.
You should also be making Instagram stories, which are a casual, temporary way to get in front of your audience. Finally, as much as we all feel frustrated making reels, they get a higher reach than regular posts, says Tarrant. Plus, they’re the only organic way people who don’t already follow you can find your account through scrolling.
Lastly, Tarrant recommends using DMs to follow through on leads. When someone DMs you, “you don’t know what [marketing] touchpoint they’re on,” she says, since they’ve already looked through your account. A DM is like them knocking on your door, so open the door! You can set up automatic messages for people to receive when they DM you, and by communicating with them through DM, you can be sure you’re not leaving any money on the table.
Making the $$$
Speaking of making money, Alexis Amato (Manifest with Alexis) guided event pros through the ins and outs of effective social media marketing in her session Posting for Profit! Amato shared stats that underline the importance of social media: a consumer is six times more likely to buy from you with a social media business page, for instance, or that Instagram and Facebook alone now cover 77% of ad spend.
Social media opportunities can include the popular platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as collaborations (podcasts, influencer marketing, blogs) and marketing (Facebook groups, ads, boosted posts).
According to Amato, there are four different types of buyers:
- Emotional: buys from emotions and feelings, wants to see your work and the end result
- Analytical: buys from strategical thinking and what they’re getting for their money, wants to see the price
- Personal: buys because they’re attached to the person or brand selling, wants to see personality
- Authority: buys because the seller is credible/an expert, wants to see awards, name brands, etc.
Effective marketing pulls people in through just a glance across your account, so make it look appealing. Amato suggests creating a bio that reads “we do xyz so that you can xyz.” Use Canva and other mood boards to create strong aesthetics that will please your target audience, and be mindful of what the top nine posts on Instagram are, since those are what a potential client will see when they go to your account. Finally, use your analytics to understand which posts do well and what times your followers are engaging, so you can cater more specifically to them and create more effective social media marketing.
Healthy social media practices
Finally, it’s important to remember that while social media is an incredible business tool, it can also create some wonky emotions. Charessa Sawyer (SC Visionary Planning and Production) and Jamie Lee Quickert (Cvent) discussed the downsides of social media in their session Social Media & Self Care.
“All we ever show is the sexy, right? And in the events industry especially, we’re like, ‘Look at this gala for 500 and everyone’s in ball gowns’ and how many of us post the picture of us sitting on the milk crate in the back and eating like cold artichoke dip, right, for dinner?” Quickert said. “We don’t do that because we always wanna show...and tell, we don’t wanna acknowledge what’s behind the curtain.”
It’s important to acknowledge that everyone is editing their social presence, curating their content to not show the bad or boring parts. Social media can create imposter syndrome in the best of us. Plus, the platforms are designed to be addictive, and are associated with anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.
Quickert and Sawyer encourage asking yourself why you’re posting, who you’re posting for, and practicing recognizing the difference between real life and curated content. They also suggest journaling (as opposed to posting thoughts online), exercising, and creating social media-free morning routines.
By practicing healthy social media self care, you can maintain a sustainable online presence and put forth your best work, elevating your business while creating healthy boundaries that lead to improved personal wellness.
Social media is a necessary part of business, but with these tips and tricks, you can create profitable content that makes you feel good about yourself and your business.
Want to learn more from the experts? Keep an eye out for registration to open for Catersource + The Special Event 2024, to be held in Austin, TX from February 12-15.