With the Covid restrictions changing all the time, social media is assuming ever-greater importance for our industry.
Not only do the social networks allow us to promote our events, they enable users to stay updated on the changing regulations and share best-practice guidance. This creates a constant cycle of communication which can in turn boost attendance. Around 43% of people are using social media more frequently in the wake of lockdown, so we need to make sure we’ve got our strategy on-point.
But which are the best social media platforms to promote our events? Before we launch the actual promotion strategy, it’s crucial that we get the answer nailed down, examining the four most popular networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
We did the research based on the most reliable social media stats out there. In this blog we’ll take a look at all the major metrics for you.
As a TL;DR, we’ll be covering:
- Audience Size
There’s little doubt who’s the daddy here, is there?
According to 2017 studies by the respected London School of Economics, Facebook had around two billion users. Instagram had 600 million, LinkedIn 500 million and Twitter just over 300 million. Which pretty much confirmed what we already know.
So, if you just want sheer quantity of leads and aren’t necessarily bothered by the quality, Facebook remains the benchmark. But, as all event planners know, we need to think about the who, how and when as well as the how many.
Let’s drill down into these variables into a bit more detail.
As everyone knows, Facebook and Instagram are dominated by young users.. Around 60% of Facebook users and 70% of Instagram users are aged under 35.
What’s really interesting, though, is that Twitter and LinkedIn are also very youth-heavy. According to research from Statista out of the U.S., around 66% of the Twitterati are aged between 18 and 35. When it comes to the LinkedIn-crowd, that rises to nearly 75%.
Yep, that’s right. LinkedIn’s audience is more driven by young professionals than the mature leaders that dominate the C-suite. This is backed by a report last year on the Business of Apps website, which found that only 1 in 7 LIers were senior-level influencers.
In fact, Buffer’s State of Social Media 2019 report found that while 94% of businesses are active on Facebook, only 70% use LinkedIn – making it the least popular of the ‘big four.’
So, if you think LinkedIn is an automatic gateway to the C-suite, you might want to think again. Facebook and Insta might be just as likely to give you the access you seek.
If you’re surprised about the age demographics of the respective social networks, you’ll probably be surprised by this, too.
The top-liner stats on interaction aren’t particularly eye-catching. According to a study by Pew Research, again based on the U.S., 51% of Facebook users visit the site several times a day. That compares with 42% for Instagram and 25% for Twitter, while less than half of LinkedIn users visit every day.
So Facebook wins again, right?
Well, let’s take a closer look, and consider the amount of people who are actually engaging with the posts they see.
While a 1% engagement rate is considered pretty good on Facebook and around 3% is fairly healthy on Insta, on LinkedIn it can be high as 6% if a message catches fire. What’s more, it seems that LI’s engagement rates have actually increased since coronavirus broke out. The reflected kudos of the LinkedIn community, the networking and business development opportunities it offers, is clearly encouraging a huge number of users to interact.
So if you’re all about generating debate around your event, encouraging potential attendees to advise and encourage one another, LI might actually be your best bet.
When placing events on social media, event marketers will naturally be thinking of the bottom line. Even before they start the publicity process, they’re focusing on the end result. And why not? That’s what keeps food on our tables, after all.
In these absolute terms, Facebook has always led the way. Studies by Eventbrite, cited by the Content Marketing Institute, show that a Facebook share is worth around five times as much as a Twitter retweet. Further research cited by the Brafton Institute and the Jeff Bullas blog backs this up.
However, it appears LinkedIn is closing the gap fast. Hubspot has found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than either Facebook or Twitter; in fact B2B marketers say that 80% of their social media leads come from LinkedIn. So, if you’re planning a business-focused event, the rewards on Linkedin can be massive.
The final category in our guide is slightly more subjective and amorphous than the rest. But it’s arguably the most crucial factor of all: if your message doesn’t fit your platform, it will likely fall flat.
Conventional wisdom has it that Facebook and Instagram are more about short, punchy, visual posts, while LinkedIners generally favour content with plenty of factual information. In general, this still holds true.
Last year, Buffer released an amazing study, based on 777 million Facebook posts, which found that the most popular messages contained loads of videos and were packed with funny, engaging content – in other words, keep it short and keep it moving. Instagram? Well, the site is pretty much all about pictures and videos, so that kinda speaks for itself.
There isn’t as much analysis of LinkedIn, probably because it’s newer and less cool, so marketers feel less need to drill down into its statistics. What is clear from research, however, is that people are happy to read plenty of content, and they don’t tend to react well to video.
Twitter? Well, where do we start? If every ‘how to write a successful tweet’ guide had been written down on paper rather than published on the internet, they would have accounted for an entire rainforest. Some suggest providing short, media-rich content; others think it’s important to use the full character limit and provide as much info as possible. In reality, however, it’s quite simple. The best tweets are the ones which are conversational and interactive. Event planners should use it to create conversation, rather than simply awareness.
So, what does this all mean?
Well, based on all this information, we’d suggest that Facebook and LinkedIn should be the pillar of any good event promotion strategy. Use FB to generate a punchy, visual buzz around your event; use LI to explain it in more detail and provide relevant, value-adding information around it.
We’d certainly encourage you to use Insta and Twitter, too. Insta can provide the shop window to your event; Twitter can give you the watercooler, the place where you generate debate. They might not be as important as Facebook and LinkedIn, but they certainly have a role to play if deployed properly.
Ultimately, however, a well-crafted strategy will consider all the options: in these trying times, no stone should be left unturned.