Do Something New: market your events on social media

This summer the Heritage Open Days social media team is offering the opportunity to find out how to create and make the most of a social media account for your events

© Screen shot, video by John Somerville - Andrew Woodall

Our Twitter account volunteers, Emily Knight and Andrew Woodall, have provided a few reasons why social media is a must do, and how you can get started.

Andrew is also offering to host online training sessions to anyone that would like to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities out there. The training can be pitched at any level, from total novice upwards – all you need is a computer, an hour and the urge to share your story with the world.

Why use social media?

With 75% of adults using at least one social media channel on a regular basis, you simply can’t afford to miss out. Social media enables you to contribute positively to your organisation’s public image and reach audiences you would never normally have the chance to.

Whether it is members of the public, local press or similar organisations that you are seeking to connect with, you’ll be surprised at social media’s ability to introduce you to all them all, and more. Within days of signing up for an account, hundreds more people will be aware of your existence and hopefully some will be adding your event to their calendars, or letting you know that they would like to give you a hand.

The best part is that it is absolutely free!

The big questions

Where do I start?

  • Explore - If you have never used social media, start by looking at similar events or attractions. A lot of social media is about experimentation and finding what works best for you, but you can certainly take a lead from similar successful accounts, and piggyback on their success by making them and their followers aware of you
  • Make a good first impression - This seems like common sense, but take time to upload a nice profile banner, fill up your contact information, and complete your profile description text
  • Be as original as possible - The content in your post should not simply be lifted from elsewhere. Even if you are sharing content from your website or an external source, put a unique twist on it to make it more “shareable” and “likeable
  • Reach out - Make friends, build a community, don’t forget to say please and thank you when people re-tweet your posts and credit people if you use their content. Connect with influential people, such as bloggers, press and local media. If they connect back and push you out to their audience, then you'll really earn some brownie points

How do I grow my audience?

  • Be original and creative – This is the best way to gain attention, generate sharing and increase interaction. Potential customers need information such as opening times or contact details, but what really creates a buzz is personal stories, photos and videos, a look at the future and, most importantly, the chance for the public to be collaborative, contributing and driving a theme in any direction.
  • Follow as many people in your industry and area that you can. At first, you can follow up to 2,000 people, and Twitter recommends accounts that may be of interest to you. Following people will draw you to their attention, and many will be interested in following you back.
  • Use Hashtags - Jump onto conversations with content that would be of interest to people viewing hashtag topics on Twitter and Facebook and you could see more people coming through to you.
  • Get the conversation going. Contributing to other organisation’s social efforts is a great way to join a conversation and be seen by new audiences.

Let us help

  • We will share your tweets. However you go about running your social media accounts, please reach out to @heritageopenday and use the hashtag #HODs on Twitter – we will share your tweets.
  • New to social media? We will help get you started. The HODs social media team are offering personal training for those that are looking for help in setting up a Twitter account, completing your profile or improving your engagement and follower numbers. Over the phone and online the team are running several one hour evening workshops over the summer to help you make a success of your social media. Sign up for one of our free sessions
  • Meanwhile, check out our how to guides for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and download our answers to your FAQs.

So what are you waiting for?

Don’t tell yourself that you have nothing interesting to share - this would mean there is nothing going on in your organisation, in your industry or in your area, which is never the case! There is ALWAYS something to post about – it doesn’t have to always be about your event or organisation. The trick is to always have your social media hat on. That way whenever you come across something interesting that you think is worth talking about with your audience you can save it to post later:  promote events hosted by others, share photos and videos, ask for opinions on a subject matter – the possibilities are endless.