Promotion Picture: Maximizing Online Marketing for Brick-and-Mortar Events



Business invitations these days come in many forms—including direct mailings, emails, flyers, and cheerful phone calls. But if your followings on social media sites are robust, promoting your store’s next event online may be the easiest way to round up a crowd. Here are five no-fail tips for going social: 

Mix It Up

Resist the urge to create a one-size-fits-all invite for all your social platforms; your followings are probably demographically different on every channel. “There are Facebook people, and there are Instagram people—it’s different eyeballs,” explains retailer Soraya Cayen, who hosts glittering and well-attended trunk shows at her store, Cayen Collection, in Carmel, Calif. And make sure your posts are varied. Andrew Schloss, director of brand and partner at New York City showroom Reinstein/Ross Goldsmiths, likes to educate his clients in social invites: “Rather than say, ‘Here’s a cool thing and here’s the price,’ we give them some info on its creation or materials,” he says. “People love to learn.”

Get Your Game On

Gamification—the industry buzzword for integrating games into marketing messaging—is designed to engage social consumers even when they’re not window-shopping. An example: Heineken held a Crack the U.S. Open contest on Instagram, where a graphic designer compiled 200 photos of tennis fans (a staged shot) sitting on bleachers. Followers could win tickets to the U.S. Open by identifying all of the fans through a series of clues. Hype your next happening with a social game that begins on Facebook or Instagram and ends with your gifting the winner with a pretty bauble at your event (which they must attend to claim their prize!).

Be Time-Sensitive

A sense of urgency was built into the DNA of Snapchat, the social platform that lets users post “snaps”—photos or videos viewable for only a few seconds before vanishing. Harness that ephemeral energy for your event with a contest where you post a video of someone from your business asking users to post photos of their favorite jewelry—maybe pieces from the brand you’re partnering with on the event. Offer swag bags (to be distributed at the event) for the most creative/hilarious/elegant entries. 

Embrace Video

Video is particularly effective in reaching a younger audience—and the more creative your videos, the more eyeballs they’re likely to capture. Consider a 30-second spot featuring a casual interview with the designer whose jewelry is being presented in your next trunk show. Other options: Film a camera-ready staffer modeling exquisite pieces from the collection you’ll be toasting; ask a tech-savvy associate to compile a highlights reel from past events that includes an invite to your next bash. 

Tap Influencers

The best way to build a network of event-goers for your store is to hold memorable events—often. “Word of mouth is huge,” Schloss says. “People know we have a lot going on at our events, and that they will be fun.” When promoting attendance via social media, it pays to persuade the biggest mouths in your network to spread the word on your behalf. Ask your most enthusiastic followers and commenters to talk up the event by reposting your Facebook or Instagram updates, or even creating their own. These brand evangelists are your foot soldiers in the promotion game, so remember to reward them for their valuable efforts. 

Top: One of Cayen Collection’s in-demand events