You’ve Got the Golden Ticket: Leveraging Social Media for Events

By Kelly Kauffman

When Mr. Willy Wonka gave out his Golden Tickets, the whole world was clamoring to get one. If that happened today, there would be trending hashtags, Golden Ticket selfies and more! Too bad he didn’t have a Social Media Specialist like me to promote his event.

These days, the line between offline and online events is blurring. Invites are delivered to your Facebook inbox. Attendees are getting excited and sharing on Twitter and Instagram before the event starts. People might even be monitoring your hashtag weeks ahead of time. If you’re smart like I think you are, leveraging social media before, during, and after the event will help it reach its full potential.

It might be hard to compete with a man whose whole event revolved around chocolate, but your (or your client’s!) event can still be wildly successful IRL and on social media too. So come with me, and you’ll be be, in a world of pure social media promotion!

Pure Imagination

Before the Event

Gearing up before the event might be the place where you want to focus most of your time because once the event starts, it will be a whirlwind. On the day of the event, you’ll want to be prepared instead of scrambling around to get things done! Trust me, the setup will save you tons of time in the end while you’re monitoring and promoting your event.

First off, it’s important to gather all imperative information about the event. This will help you create any online event invites, blog posts, and questions that might come up while you’re supporting the event on social media.

If you’re working with a client, communicate with them about what can and cannot be promoted on social. This is important because maybe the client doesn’t want to reveal all their special tricks before the event.

Some of these details could include:

  • Basic info, like who is invited, what is the event for, where is it taking place, and when does it start?
  • Do people need to RSVP to your event? If so, is there an event page that you need to direct them to? Are there a limited number of RSVPs?
  • Will there be creative for the event? Who is responsible for creating it?
  • Will there be a professional photographer or photos to share during the event?
  • Who will be the point of contact during the event?

Once you’ve received all the correct information, cover the event in a blog post with links to the RSVP page (if you have one) and your various social networks.

When promoting your blog post and event across various social networks with UTM parameters, there are also opportunities to capitalize on trends with branded hashtags. Hashtags make it easy for other people to learn more about your event from other people sharing information the event, and making the hashtag branded helps people associate the event with your business or your client’s business. Encourage users to use your branded hashtag and follow their conversations on social media. As a reminder when creating your hashtag, make sure it’s not too long or confusing. No one wants (or can fit!) #thisismysupercooleventyoushouldallgo at the end of a tweet or an Instagram photo.

Once you have created your branded hashtag, the next step is to keep track of it! If your event is super popular (duh), it will be hard to keep up with the feed. Don’t exhaust yourself when there’s tools that can do that for you.

Hootsuite can be a great tool for your event, especially if your brand heavily relies on Twitter. You can create multiple streams for your Twitter profile that includes @mentions, various hashtags, custom keywords, and mentions of your brand that don’t @mention your profile.


Let’s take it even one step further by using the power of Google! Google Alerts offers email notifications whenever a specific search query is mentioned on the web. All you have to do is enter your brand or event name into the Search Query box, and the results will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Pro-tip: Google Alerts results can vary based on exact match or broad match keywords. Use quotations if you want the alerts to match your query precisely…

With Quotations
…and don’t use quotations if you want the results to be broader. You’ll see that you can get different results with both queries, so make sure to cover all your bases! You can also choose if you want to receive the alerts once a day or as-it-happens.

Without Quotations
So, think you’re done preparing, right? Think again! Keep the momentum going with Facebook Ads. If you have the budget, it’s a great addition to your organic promotion, and Facebook Ads get more people on your page. We have covered the basics of Facebook Ads in the past, so get up to speed already.

Additionally, did you know that Facebook also has Event Ads? These ads include a quick description, photo, location and date and time of the event, and they’re great for growing RSVP numbers quickly. This might seem obvious, but in order to have a Facebook Event Ad, you have to create a Facebook Event on your Page first. However, you can always direct people to a specific RSVP url in the body of the Facebook Event Invite, so you can still take advantage of sites like Eventbrite, Evite, or

During the Event

When it comes to leveraging social media for events, don’t forget to keep your social profiles updated and engaged. If you need to give your social profiles some TLC, try some of the tactics in Amy’s latest post.

Since you created your Hootsuite search streams early on, you can easily find people who are talking about your client’s brand and attending your event. However, not everyone will be on Twitter. To attract those who are more selfie-friendly, Statigram is a great tool for tracking hashtags on Instagram. You can event comment and share straight from the Statigram dashboard, which makes engagement that much easier.

Starbucks Statigram

In some cases, you may not even be AT the event to take photos or post real-time updates, but that hasn’t been a problem since the Internet was invented. Since you are already tracking various hashtags and mentions, find photos and updates from people actually attending the event. You can then share these from your own account by retweeting, mentioning, or even regramming the posts. Remember, if you are sharing someone else’s photo on any social network, make sure to ask them if you have permission to use it, and also attribute it back to the account you found it from.

When you’re not sharing and posting updates, make sure to thank those who have attended your event by commenting on, liking, or favoriting their posts. It ensures increased engagement, and could lead to a dialog between you and that user. Not only does it make your client’s brand seem more personable and friendly, but frankly, that’s just the nice thing to do!

After the Event

Just because the party’s over, doesn’t mean your job is over! Maintain that engagement over the next few days to really capitalize on your event. There are many things you can do, so don’t give up now!

First thing’s first: housekeeping! If there’s anyone talking about your event that you didn’t get a chance to reach out to before or during the event, make sure to comment or @mention them and thank them for attending the event. Not only will it make your brand look proactive, but it builds relationships with users in a casual way. Also, keep on curating and sharing those photos from users, you’ll need them for the next step!

Yes that’s right, another blog post! You’ve got two options this time: you could either write a recap post of your event with photos and updates from your event OR create a Storify and embed it on your page. If you’re supporting a client event, follow up with them and see if they have any photos to share from the event. You can share them all at once, trickle them out slowly over the next few weeks, or even use them for a #TBT later on. Don’t forget to ask Fans and Followers to tag themselves and share!

If you want to take your blog post recap to the next level, embed tweets and Instagram photos within the recap. Not only will the attendees relive all those great moments of your event, but it gives people the opportunity to quickly click over and Retweet, share or Regram these important updates.

To embed tweets, click on the “… more” tab in the bottom right corner of tweets:

Twitter   ThunderSEO   If you still use Facebook ... (1)

To embed Instagrams, click on the 3 dots in the bottom right corner of any photo:

thunderseo on Instagram

So there you have it! You’ve given out all your Golden Tickets and now it’s time to give the keys to the young kid who really deserved it.

Charlie Golden Ticket

Have you had experience leveraging social media for events before, during, and after an event takes place? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Kelly Kauffman

By Kelly Kauffman

Kelly Kauffman is a Social Media Specialist at ThunderActive. She loves talking about movies, superheroes and other nerdy things, especially on Twitter.

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