Events are some of the greatest hallmarks of student engagement. Without them, colleges and universities risk lower student retention, fewer freshman applications and lower student connection overall. Knowing this, hosting and promoting events at your institution becomes an obvious necessity—but how can you ensure that students show up?
Read on for tips and tricks on how to promote your college's events on social media.
Make an Event
The single most effective way to spread the word about your event is to create an event listing on Facebook. Using your institution's official Facebook page, turn your upcoming event into a sort of digital invitation by creating a Facebook event and promoting it using your college's relevant pages. Hosting a networking event for journalism students? Share the event from the journalism school's Facebook page. When users mark themselves as "interested" or RSVP to the event on the page, their friends will get notifications on their timelines, and your attendance will grow organically.
Create a Hashtag
For larger events, it's a good idea to create a hashtag in the weeks leading up to the event in order to generate excitement and promote the event more easily. Use your hashtag on all relevant social media posts and on every available platform—including your website and the event's print materials. The hashtag will make it easier for students to learn more about the event, and, once the event has passed, the hashtag will serve as a way to comb through student-generated posts that you can interact with to further drive engagement. Don't forget—event marketing doesn't stop when your event starts.
If you are paying to promote your event online, remarketing is sure to be your best friend. Remarketing allows you to retarget people who have seen your post but haven't engaged. For universities, we recommend creating an event page with an RSVP form on your institution's website. From there, you can launch a drip campaign in order to remarket to interested students and drive responses.
Making your event stand out can be difficult, but eye-catching visuals can help. Users love to consume content that is easy to digest, so turning your event details into an easy-to-understand and easily shared graphic will work wonders for the success of your event. Making a video with footage from past events, giving the event its own unique logo and putting together some rough brand standards for how the event is promoted will help make it stand out when the details pop up on people's social media feeds. In fact, Social Media Today reports that visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Don't forget to include your branding on the event's signage and to take live video on the day of the event.
Use Your People
One of the best ways to boost the reach of your event on social media is to have people share it. While it can be tough to get attendees to share the event with their networks, you can boost the reach of your event by sharing it on the pages you can directly influence. Convince university faculty and staff to share the event on their personal pages and circulate it on official university pages. For additional coverage, some schools look to student groups to help promote their events.