How using a video to promote an event set a record social media engagement rate

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Each September, the organization where I work hosts a celebration of Constitution Day. The goal is to increase civic engagement awareness in college students across the state of Florida. Last month we tried something new. We went on the local college campus and filmed a video for promotion of our Constitution Day events. The results were astounding and very encouraging.

In the past, we’ve hosted one event with roughly 75 attendees. This year, we hosted four events, so naturally attendance was expected to be a little higher. However, this year we increased our event attendance by 233%, with 10% of one college’s population turning out at the event. Our video promotion was part of that success.

To give you an idea of the ripple effect this marketing tool provided, here are some little tidbits:

  1. Our Facebook page likes increased by 2% over 13 days. The average growth rate of a Facebook page is about 0.64% per week.
  2. During our video campaign, our Facebook organic reach increased from an average of about 500 views a day to about 4,000 views a day, setting our record engagement and organic reach for the year.
  3. Reached 70,148 individuals.
  4. A high school teacher saw the video on Facebook and made our Constitution Day event an extra credit opportunity for his students.
  5. Commenters on social media asked us to host a Constitution Day event on their campuses next year, and asked for a live-streaming or recording of the events.

Takeaways:

  • Always upload a video directly into a Facebook post. You can, of course, add your video on YouTube and Vimeo for online audiences to find, but just simply loading a YouTube link to share on Facebook won’t cut it. Facebook’s algorithm is such that it’s favoring direct video uploads and pushing that out to your audiences. A video we shared back in February reached 3,000 individuals with only a YouTube link Facebook upload compared to this campaign’s Facebook direct upload reaching more than 70,000. And definitely use the ad targeting feature so you can tell those advertising dollars where to go!
  • If you’re on a tight budget, a little bit of paid promotion on Facebook goes a lot farther than other advertising methods. Over 13 days, we spent $200 for paid promotion of our video post. A little more than 11,000 of our views were organic (or not paid views from our advertising dollars). If I were to spend that same amount on a promoted tweet, I’d only receive about 160 views. Therefore, we passed up putting our limited budget toward any Twitter campaigns and instead spent our budget all on Facebook promotions.
  • Do a little research and tap into your Twitter audience. Something I’ve been doing lately for our past couple of smaller campaigns has been to research the target audiences of our event or publication and then find active organizations or individuals on Twitter fitting that profile. For this Constitution Day event campaign, I looked for organizations on campus and news outlets/events in the area with active Twitter accounts who would be interested our event. For the most part, these organizations would either retweet or share our tweet with their audiences, connecting us to individuals who then attended our event and interacted with our brand.
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