« Back to journal

How to Sell More Tickets to Your Event (Part. 1)

In Part 1 we outline how organic (non-paid) social media help you sell more tickets.

1. Post consistently on social media to build brand awareness

2. Mix up your content strategy to keep people interested

3. Curate your Instagram feed to make the event look unmissable

4. Run competitions to greatly improve your organic reach

5. Use your chatbot as an additional sales tool

1. Post consistently

Regular posting reminds your audience of your existence – they have terrible short-term memory. This is especially important if you only hold one or two events a year, such as a festival.  It’s about building brand awareness – you want your event to be the first that springs to mind when consumers are deciding what to attend.

At the minimum you want 3 posts a week across your social channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

At a maximum we recommend no more than 2 or 3 posts per day – you don’t want to overwhelm your audience and prompt them to unfollow. It’s all about quality over quantity.

The best time to post is usually between 12PM – 2PM (lunch time)  or 6PM – 8PM (after work) but this isn’t as important as it used to be, especially during the pandemic. Traditional working hours have been thrown out the window in favour of a more flexible approach. Besides, social media feeds haven’t been chronological for a number of years. 

As we mentioned in last week’s deep dive into the IG algorithm, your position in the feed depends on how often an individual interacts with your page/event. Having a strong, consistent content strategy is therefore key.

2. Mix up the content

Keep your audience engaged by providing several types of content. This can range from interviews with artists and footage from previous events, to blog posts and news articles.

Just keep it relevant.

Posting appealing content attracts new followers. Over time you’ll discover which types of content resonate with your audience the most – these should form the core of your social media strategy. Naturally, you’ll want to promote the event itself – that’s the ultimate goal after all!

You should be creating a sense of urgency in your sales communications:

Hard sales messages like this are perfectly acceptable as long as they aren’t too frequent. No one likes being ‘sold to’ on a daily basis – it will only cause people to unfollow. In the age of COVID-19 consumers a little more sensitive. It’s best not to push the ‘hard sell’ too early in the sales cycle, as fans as hesitant to book anything too far in advance.

A more subtle way of driving ticket sales is by placing bit.ly links to tickets in your posts. Change the default end of a bit.ly link, like we do for Cinnabar:

This makes the link more appealing and increases clicks.

For Noisily, photos from the 2019 festival form the backbone of our social media strategy, supplemented by Noise Pieces (blog posts), announcements and fun competitions:

3. Create FOMO with your Instagram feed

If your events look amazing on social media, then consumers will want to be a part of that experience and avoid the dreaded FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

As we discussed in ‘E1MA’s Top 5 Tips for Marketing Venues‘, Instagram is used by consumers as a tool to discover new products and services – including events.

Source: Facebook

The first thing consumers see when opening your Instagram profile is your feed – in a 3×4 grid format. This is your first chance at impressing, so it is critical that this grid is visually appealing.

Varied content isn’t as important on Instagram. Instead you should be posting beautiful photos from previous events, press shots of artists, professionally-created event flyers.

Instagram doesn’t allow for links in feed posts, so don’t forget to put a link to tickets in your bio!

Displaying ‘Stories Highlights’ at the top of your feed is a simple way of showcasing key features of your event, such as line-ups, FAQs and more.

By presenting key information in a clear and accessible manner, you simplify the customer journey – which leads to more ticket sales. This is especially important in 2021, as fans want to be aware of your health & safety guidelines and cancellation policies before they book.

If you’re verified or have more than 10,000 followers, you unlock the ability to put ‘swipe up’ links in Instagram Stories.

It’s a useful tool to have at your disposal as it’s an additional way to drive traffic to the ticket page.

4. Run competitions

Competitions are an excellent, cost-effective way of engaging your audience and spreading awareness of your event.

A simple ‘like/comment/share-to-win’ competition can greatly boost your organic reach. Make sure the prize is compelling enough to entice people to enter – offer more than just a free ticket.

The greater the prize, the higher chance of people entering.

For Facebook we often use “Share & tag 3 friends to enter”. Shares are more likely to appear on other people’s feeds than likes.

People do not typically share posts on Instagram (unless it’s Stories), so you may want to focus on tagging and page likes instead:

Tagging 3 friends is the standard for social media competitions – requiring too many will deter entries.In addition to the bonus reach comments generate, they can be used to grow your chatbot audience.

5. Use your chatbot

Chatbots simple terms, can act as a social media equivalent to mailing lists.With this chatbot audience, you have a list of prospects that are clearly interested in your event.

After the competition has finished, you can send an automated chat message saying

“thanks for entering! You didn’t win, but you can still buy tickets here [link to your ticket page]”

The rules around chatbots on Facebook have drastically changed in recent times. The platform now enforces a ’24-hour reply’ rule. This means you can only send promotional material to users within 24 hours of them interacting with your chatbot.

The alternative is to use paid ‘Sponsored Messages‘. Although this is frustrating, it doesn’t mean you should write off this channel. Chatbots bypass the incessant noise of the feed, straight into the user’s inbox. This is the same reason email marketing is still so effective 2021.

In Part 2, we’ll be outlining how to use Paid Social (Social Media Advertising) to reach new audiences and sell even more tickets!

How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2021

Make sure your posts are appearing first in your fans’ feeds with these top tips for beating the Instagram algorithm.

Social Media Algorithms in 2021

Social media algorithms can make or break a businesses’ organic social activity. A few years back they introduced it as a replacement for the classic chronological feed. Instead of seeing posts in by recency, they’re now intelligently recommended based on the users’ previous behaviour on the platform. In some cases, even behaviour exhibited outside of the platform can influence what you see. Your behaviour on Instagram can affect what content gets priority on Facebook, for example.

In terms of digital advertising, this is nothing new – ads have been stalking us around the internet since the invention of third-party cookies. But this behaviour-driven approach has been increasingly affecting the organic reach of social posts. Facebook has steadily gearing their platforms towards ‘meaningful interactions’ (with an emphasis on communities). Essentially what this means is posts from friends have an inherent advantage over posts from a business page, in terms of feed ranking. 

This move, which was revealed by Mark Zuckerberg in 2018, has since had a damaging impact on organic social metrics. Reach and engagement rates have been dropping, forcing businesses to rely more on paid activity.

Thankfully, all is not lost. Organic content can still perform exceptionally well if you abide by Instagram’s unspoken rules. There are 5 key ranking factors that Instagram (and many other platforms) use:

1. Interest

How much IG thinks you’ll care about the post. This is arguably the most influential ranking factor. As we just discussed, social media platforms use your past behaviour to predict your future behaviour. So if you engage with one type of content more often (e.g. your friends posts, food posts, etc.) these will get priority in the feed. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the most popular posts in that topic will always appear first. Instagram spokespeople are quick to assure that the platform isn’t a ‘popularity contest’.

What to do: You should be focusing on quality over quantity. If the user continually passes over your content without interacting, IG will consider it uninteresting. Posting better content, less frequently is key. The user followed your account for a reason – you have to keep that level of interest up by producing unique content that isn’t supplied by the rest of their feed.

2. Timeliness

How recently you posted. IG may have moved away from the chronological feed, but when you post is still a factor to consider. Social media is all about keeping your finger on the pulse of the very latest trends and breaking news. The algorithm therefore determines newer posts to be more ‘relevant’ and gives them a higher ranking. 

An interesting aspect of the ‘timeliness’ factor is that IG only arranges new posts in-between visits. The users’ feed is constantly evolving. Your post may have been ranked 1st in the feed when you posted at 12pm, but a newer, better post could push it down by 12:30pm.

What to do: This is why posting when your audience is active is crucial. Social media algorithms act like giant feedback loops – if a user isn’t engaging with your posts straight away, it won’t be considered timely and could get pushed down the rest of your audiences’ feeds.

3. Relationship

The accounts you consistently interact with. IG’s algorithm monitors how frequently you engage with a user – whether it’s liking their photos or visiting their profile. This ranking has steadily moved up in importance since 2018 – it’s the reason your best friend’s photo with 17 likes appears first in the feed. IG stories rankings are entirely decided by your ‘relationship’ factor.

What to do: This is a tricky one to navigate for businesses. IG is unfairly bias towards posts from friends & family. You should be encouraging interactions with your posts by asking questions to your fans and by running competitions. But be warned: not all engagement is considered equal by Instagram. Shares, saves and comments have a stronger impact on your feed ranking than likes.

4. Frequency

How often you check Instagram. This one is quite similar to ‘Timeliness’, except it’s the opposite. It’s not about when you post, it’s about when your followers open the app. Users who check IG often, but in short bursts, will see only the newest, most relevant content since they last looked. Those who check less often, but for longer durations, will be served a more diverse selection of content from a larger time frame.

What to do: There’s not a lot businesses can do here. A users’ behaviour is entirely individual. If you focus on meeting the criteria of the other ranking factors, you could consistently be at the top of the feed, no matter how often your fans open the app.

5. Following

How many people you follow. With this ranking factor, it’s simple mathematics. If your fans follow 1000’s of accounts, there’s no way they can all achieve high feed rankings. This also works the opposite way – the more followers you have, the lower your engagement rate percentage will be.

What to do: Once again, you can’t control how many accounts your fans follow. It’s worth following good IG practices, such as tidying up your follower-following ratio. We advise businesses not to follow too many accounts as it can look unprofessional.

It’s unclear whether this influences the algorithm, but logically it makes sense. Having 10,000 followers but only 100 following indicates that you produce high-quality content. Instagram wants users to have the best experience possible, and this means showing the best the app has to offer.

Concluding Words

As you can tell, there’s a lot more to the algorithm than you may have thought. We’ve laid out the factors as a guide, but ultimately the key to achieving that coveting 1st place in the Instagram feed is to bring your best. Post high quality content on a consistent basis – content that brings value and drives engagement. Make sure you’re posting when your audience is online, and don’t forget those hashtags!

Getting the Most Out of Email Marketing

Email Marketing is just as effective now as it was before the rise of social media. We explain why, and share our tips for making the most of this crucial channel.

Email marketing in 2021

Email marketing isn’t dead. Some people see email as an archaic marketing channel that can’t produce results in a world of social media and programmatic advertising.  The word ‘e-mail’ may evoke memories of using AOL dial-up connection on your Apple Macintosh, but the practice of email promotion is very much alive.

In fact, many of the reasons email is so effective today is because of its (digitally) old-fashioned style. Much like the real-world format it replicated, email is delivered directly to the user’s mailbox. It’s not at the mercy of social media algorithms. Mailers have a 100% delivery rate, assuming it beats the spam filter – we’ll cover this in more detail shortly.

Because your emails are more likely to be seen, they’re more likely to produce customers. A study by eMarketer found that email marketing beats all other channels in terms of customer acquisition and retention. Yes, even more than organic search and social media. Of course, this study only covered small US businesses, but the results are applicable to UK business. The consistency and uniformity of email is one of its winning factors – everyone knows what to expect. It’s not a total mixed bag like social media.

Email can also cut through digital noise like a knife through butter. By sending a notification directly to the user’s phone, it commands the user’s attention immediately. Before you go saying that email didn’t make the leap from PC to smartphone like other channels, know that 46% of all email opens are on mobile devices. This number is only increasing. 

The other 54% is probably employees religiously checking their emails at work (myself included). The average person checks their emails 15 times a day. That’s 15 clear-cut opportunities for your email promotion to be opened and acted upon.

Why do we check our emails so often? Much like social media, we like the ‘thrill’ of seeing a new email. Refreshing your emails is a bit like pulling the lever on a slot machine. The next pull could be an alert saying your order has been dispatched, or a 20% discount code from your favourite retailer. It could also be your boss asking you to work overtime, but it’s all part of the excitement.

How to create a compelling mailer

1. Make it interactive

Although the consistency of email being one of its benefits, this doesn’t mean your emails should be boring. Take inspiration from your social media strategy – fill your emails with images, GIFs, and CTAs. Blocks of text are acceptable in mailers, but don’t make the experience too text-heavy unless it’s important. Opening your emails should be a fun experience that provides value the user won’t find elsewhere. This could range from exclusive discounts and flash sales to behind-the-scenes footage.

2. Make it personal

Another beautiful benefit of mailers are the ability to personalise en-masse. Services like Mailchimp offer the option of adding each recipient’s name to the message intro or subject line (provided you have their name in your mailing list). Remember how we said earlier that email marketing tops the charts for customer acquisition and retention? That’s largely due to targeted personalisation. Users are 25% more likely to open an email with a personalised subject line. 

2020 was all about ‘humanising’ marketing and we expect this to continue into 2021 and beyond. It’s a good idea to sign your emails off from a ‘person’ rather than the business itself. In a similar fashion, you should also try and send mailers from a real email address instead of a ‘no-reply’ email address. Emails should be a two-way conversation.

3. Make it trackable

‘Data is the new oil’. The term has become something of a cliche for a reason. Mailers feed into your greater digital strategy and you should be measuring its effectiveness. If you’re using a service similar to Mailchimp, you can connect it to Google Analytics. This lets you see if recipients are clicking through to your website via the email. This is great for building funnels and testing which CTA (Call-to-action) is best for driving traffic. 

Even without Google Analytics, mail services can provide a wealth of useful data. This includes open rates and click rates. You can even see which specifically which elements of your email recipients are clicking on. All this data can feed back into your email marketing strategy. You can learn your recipients’ goals and motivations. You can figure out, to adapt an old saying, what ‘makes them click’.

4. Make it deliverable

Earlier we mentioned that email has a 100% delivery rate. The obvious caveat is that you need to get past the spam filter, which can be harder than it seems. Although there’s no guaranteed way to stop your emails going to junk, there are a few mailer best practices that can help.

Aside from these tips, you should ensure your emails are consistently of a high quality. The more people that click and interact with your mailers, the less likely they’ll get flagged by spam filters.

Concluding Words

Hopefully we’ve opened your eyes to the potential of email. It’s easy to assume it will go the way of the fax machine – a redundant technology in the age of social media and instant messaging. On the contrary, email is firmly embedded in digital culture. Much like real-life mail, consumers appreciate the direct nature of email. No creepy ads following you around the internet and no social media algorithms guessing what you want to see. Let’s not forget that checking your inbox is insanely addictive.

Email isn’t going anywhere, but your email marketing strategy should be. Give your messaging some character, use personalisation and beat the spam filter.

Is This the Future of Twitter?

The home of the 280-character tweet wants to pivot into something greater. We take a look at the developments that could shake up how we communicate on Twitter.

Communities

This first new development essentially encapsulates where Twitter sees the future of its platform. Communities, both in a figurative and literal sense, will play a big part in their future plans.

Firstly, Twitter announced their new Communities feature during an Investors briefing. Not much has been revealed so far. Clearly the platform wants to present itself as an alternative to Facebook Groups. Earlier images suggest it operates in a similar fashion:

‘Twitter Communities’ isn’t exactly an innovative idea that will completely transform the social media landscape, but it’s a clear indicator as to where Twitter is heading. It no longer wants to be the platform of throwaway comments and controversy. They’re steadily encouraging users to form deeper, more personal relationships with their followers. No doubt in anticipation for Twitter’s new monetisation plan, which we’ll look at now.

Super Follows

Users will soon be able to charge their followers for access to exclusive content in a feature dubbed ‘Super Follows’. Details are sparse, but it’s expected that this ‘exclusive content’ will mainly consist of premium tweets. But Twitter has been busy making key acquisitions and developments behind the scenes to ensure users won’t be just paying for 280-character messages.

In February, Twitter acquired start-up company Revue a platform that allows email newsletters to be published in different formats. Expect to see similar long-form content being offered as an incentive to ‘Super Follow’ a creator.

Twitter’s stakeholders have been pressing the platform to expand its monetisation capabilities for a number of years. Competing firms such as Facebook and YouTube have multiple, diverse incomes streams. Twitter is solely reliant on its ads service and usage pales in comparison to Facebook.

Similar subscription-based platforms are performing exceptionally well. The likes of Patreon and OnlyFans have become household names, for the right and wrong reasons. Twitter are clearly hoping to capitalise on their popularity with the introduction of Super Follows and their renewed focus on community.

The big question is: will users be willing to pay for premium content on Twitter? If this snap survey by Social Chain is anything to go by, then it doesn’t bode well:

Although this suggests users wouldn’t pay for Twitter as a whole, they may be more willing to support their favourite creators – especially those who have had their incomes decimated by the pandemic. Twitter is additionally introducing a ‘tipping’ feature with this type of sentimentality in mind. ‘Super Follows’ could work if the price was kept at an affordable level. The content offered would have to be full of genuine value. Users are not going to pay £5 a month to read tweets like the infamous ‘Covfefe’.

Twitter Spaces

If 2020 was the year of TikTok, 2021 is starting to look like the year of Clubhouse. The exclusive, invite-only platform has been garnering plenty of interest recently, especially since the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have been spotted in its virtual discussion rooms. Whilst still invite-only, Clubhouse developers are planning to expand the app to Android very soon.

Not to be out-done, social media giants have begun to implement their own TikTok clones. We expect this kind of behaviour from Facebook, well-known for ‘borrowing’ features from rival platforms – Stories, Reels, IGTV, the list goes on. Whilst Twitter was playing catch-up with its stories clone ‘Fleets’ (which has had a mixed reception), the tech industry is keeping a closer eye on Spaces.

Spaces are, in Twitter’s own words: “A place to come together, built around the voices of the people using Twitter, your Twitter community. Spaces are live for as long as they’re open; once ended, they will no longer be available publicly on Twitter.”

In short, it’s Clubhouse – but on Twitter. Users can join audio groups and listen in on live conversations between speakers. The feature sits in the ‘Fleets’ area:

So far, all Spaces are public, meaning anyone can join. We really do mean anyone – there’s no limit on the amount of listeners. When it comes to speakers, there’s a limit of 10 and the host decides who can and cannot contribute.

That’s all there is to say for now. Spaces is expanding testing to Android. The consensus among social media industry commentators is that Twitter has a real opportunity on their hands. Facebook are working on their own Clubhouse clone, to add to their already saturated services. This only further complicates their offering. You only have to look at the unsteady start of Instagram Reels – many users felt it was one addition too many.

Adding Spaces to Twitter feels a lot more organic, especially as they’re concurrently working on audio tweets. Twitter has clearly been working on a Clubhouse-style feature even before its namesake became popular. Spaces was announced back in December. It’s clearly been in the works for a while.

There isn’t obvious marketing appeal with this feature, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be adopted by your business. Spaces could be used for podcast-style interviews with special guests. If you’re a festival, you could host a space with some of your performing artists. Use the feature to gather live feedback and hold Q&A sessions.

Concluding Words

Exciting times lay ahead for Twitter. It’s a platform that has been previously written off as a ‘one-trick pony’. To many, it’s nothing more than a news aggregator. But activist investors are forcing CEO Jack Dorsey and his team to develop his platform’s offering. With Spaces, Fleets and Communities, Twitter is certainly up to the challenge. Will it be enough to compete with the Facebook behemoth? Or to fend off plucky challengers Clubhouse and TikTok? We will have to wait and see.

Have a question?

talktome@e1ma.co.uk