Social media is a great way to spread the word about your festival. When we survey attendees at Twin Cities Veg Fest, more people cite Facebook as the place they heard of the event than anywhere else, with friend as a close second. In addition, when we look at how omnivores heard about the festival, they cite friends above all other avenues. A strong social media presence is a great way to get people to tell their friends about the event.
We will focus on blogging, Facebook, and Twitter here. Of course, there are many other social media sites including Pinterest, Instagram, and more. If you have volunteers who are enthusiastic about a particular site or app, ask them to manage your presence there.
Running a blog for the event is a good way of creating and highlighting your own content. Anything you post to the blog should be reposted to Facebook, Twitter, and any other relevant social media.
Plan out your blog postings in advance and ask committee members and other volunteers to share the load of creating content. That way you can simply post already written content as planning gets more hectic.
Some things you can blog about:
- Interviews/profiles with/of committee members, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors
- Calls for volunteers
- Directions and parking information
- Announcements of sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, etc.
- Highlights of planning activity – for example, when you’ve created a poster for the event you can post an image of the poster to your blog
- How your event is green
- Links to press coverage
You can start by blogging once or twice a month and then ramp up to once a week in the weeks before the festival.
We recommend that you have both a page and an event. You can reuse the page from year to year, letting you capitalize on your existing followers.
Your goal on Facebook is create activity on your page and associated event(s). The best type of activity is when people share your posts on their own wall. This increases the chances that the post will show up in the news feed of people who don’t yet know about your event. Getting people to comment has a similar impact. You can also use your Facebook page as a news outlet and to ask for volunteers.
If you want comments, a good post can contain just a picture and a single line of text, like “what are you most excited about for this year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest?” This encourages comments and doesn’t require a lot of reading. Of course, you can also share announcements, news items, and anything else you think is relevant.
You can also share items from your exhibitors and sponsors. For example, if an exhibitor mentions a new product on their page, you can repost that on your page too.
You should gradually ramp up your online presence as the event approaches. We recommend starting at least six months in advance. For example, you can start by posting once or twice a month and build up to posting once a day in the last week or two before the festival.
We found that relatively few people heard about Twin Cities Veg Fest on Twitter, but Twitter is a great way to engage with potential exhibitors, sponsors, media, and bloggers. Many businesses, journalists, and bloggers have an active Twitter presence, and Twitter lets you engage them in conversation more easily than Facebook.
For example, you can directly ask an exhibitor to participate in your festival. Since these exchanges are public, there’s a chance that the exhibitor will also hear from their own followers asking them to participate.
There’s really no limit to how often you can post on Twitter.