Putting event info on your company’s website and in emails are great ways to get the word out about your private events program. But what more could you be doing to drum up new business? We’ve outlined a handful of creative ways to attract new event customers.

Consider these strategies to get the word out about your offerings — without spending a ton of cash.

1. Host special events of your own

Ever hosted a pop-up breakfast, lunch, or dinner of your own? This can be a highly effective way to increase social engagement with your brand. One way to do this is by creating a unique hashtag for your venue or business. Then, encourage customers to post on social media using that hashtag. Once they post, they’ll be eligible to have their post reposting by your social accounts, and a chance to attend the pop-up meal event. It’s a great networking opportunity for your clients. Plus, it’s a great way to leverage potential influencers, from writers and social media mavens to photographers and local media personalities.

2. Consider leveraging influencers

Speaking of influencers, these are great connections to make when you’re looking to grow your brand awareness. Experts say the key to leveraging the right influencers is by “staying local and matching your demographic.” Click around for influencers who make sense for your business. Do they seem to be in the generational demo of your venue? Do they post food at a similar pricing level as the dishes you offer? They may be worth a potential partnership. Struggling to figure out where to begin? Consider hosting a tasting event to attract these particular influencers and encourage them to post about your space. The more followers they have, the more the likelihood that they’ll charge for posts. But if you’ve got the marketing budget, it’ll likely end up being worth it.

3. Partner with local organizations

We’ve already touched on the importance of being a venue that gives back. But partnering with local nonprofit organizations is also a good way to organically grow your brand awareness. This partnership can entail fundraising, like donating 10 percent of one evening’s profits to the group and promoting it across both of your various platforms. You could also offer a discount for hosting their events at your space or with your catering company. This shows other potential clients that you’re engaged in your local community and committed to paying it forward.

4. Offer appealing amenities

It may seem obvious, but one sure-fire way to get guests to post about your business is by offering them something photo-worthy! Guests love a unique amenity in the events they attend, particularly millennial guests. Popular examples include DIY dessert bars, an onsite photo booth that texts the photos to your phone, or fun nostalgic eats like fancy hot dogs or over-the-top milkshakes. Even something as seemingly silly as having large mirrors, fun wallpaper, and good lighting in your venue’s bathroom can show a spike in photos tagged at your space — trust us.

5. Engage on social media platforms

Having a stellar social media presence won’t be as beneficial if you’re not also engaging on these platforms. This can be as simple as taking 15 minutes every other day to respond to comments, like the photos of those who follow you, and make sure your (consistent) posts reflect the aesthetic of your overall brand. It’s all about making guests (and followers) feel seen and heard, and putting a human element into your brand’s online persona. Ask diners if you can repost their photos on your account and credit them with the image. The odds are that they’ll be thrilled to be featured, and user-generated content is always a win-win.

6. Offer packages and specials

A quick way to drum up some buzz about your business? Offer a special or a package that’s only available for a limited time. Studies have shown that many people are more likely to respond to an offer or deal that’s only offered for a short amount of time. Invest in a bigger social media push for these types of campaigns (like paid ads on Facebook and Instagram). Bonus points if part of the deal includes mentioning friends or acquaintances. For example: Offer 10 percent off a room booking fee if someone shares your post or mentions two friends in the comments. Make it your own!

Your creativity will lead to more event bookings

Start using these tips and get the right tools in place right now to help you drive more business and bookings. And, if you are a Tripleseat customer, we’ll help those new bookings for events and catering orders run smoothly. If you’re not a Tripleseat customer and you’re interested in learning more about Tripleseat’s event management tools and CRM features, schedule a demo at your convenience to take a closer look.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the Gather blog and written by Caroline Cox.

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