In-store or parking lot events can be great for suppliers. Introducing a new product, introducing products to a new target market (as Clorox did with their Hispanic customers), or reinforcing your brand message — all these goals can be reached with an effective in-store event.
You can also increase the effectiveness of your events with social media.
Before the event
Use your social media platforms to build anticipation for the event. Since ads and promoted posts at Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can be geotargeted or targeted to members of specific demographic groups, these platforms can be very effective and economical ways to get the word out.
Set up an event at Facebook and encourage interaction there as well as on your fan page. You can also set up a page for a cause you’re supporting, if your in-store event is tied to a charity. Just don’t set up more pages than you can use actively. Bringing in additional resources for the campaign with a third-party service can help you get the most out of your social media.
If you use influencers or brand ambassadors for your events, be sure to incorporate them into your pre-event social media. Also consider offering fans a gift with purchase or a discount — but be sure you read the rules first. Chances are, it’s against the rules to reward people directly for sharing your post or retweeting. Since rules change frequently at social media platforms, your best bet is to check the rules before you plan your campaign, even if you were fine last time.
Be sure to plan how to track your results, too. Setting up ways to collect contact info from shoppers is also worth considering. These plans have to be made ahead of time. Trying to go back and find the data is much harder than configuring your data collection on the front end.
During the event
Be sure to have people live tweeting your event in the run-up to the event and also during the event. Store associates with plenty of followers can be great choices for this effort.
Twitter now allows direct posting of brief videos and Instagram is a natural for photos taken during the event. If you’d like to make best use of these features, you’ll need to set up an account and build followers before you start. Otherwise, you’ll be tweeting to a smaller group than you could reach.
Boosting or sponsoring your best posts from the event can extend the effect of a great event, too.
After the event
Make sure to share all your best photos of the event. If you have lots, choose the ones showing people having fun and getting excited about your product rather than the ones that show your management team lined up grinning at one another or your tidy display of product. Those will be perfect for the company newsletter.
Use social media to give public thanks to everyone who helped make a success of your event, too.