February 11, 2014

Promoting A Niche Event? 8 Tips For Making Use Of Online Communities

Gigs and music festivals are just a part of what we do here at ticketscript. We’re proud to work with all kinds of fairs, exhibitions, screenings, galleries, workshops, expos, road-shows and more – you name it. And, just as varied as the format of the events are the subject matters and themes at their heart.

Whether the focus of your event is motorbikes, cinema or taxidermy, you’ll be looking for as many ways to promote it and get people along as possible. Now, chances are you’ll already have a network and community of your own that you market to, but there’s huge opportunity to tap into new and undiscovered circles by using online research and social media intelligently.

Here are some ideas to get you started…

Where do I find my target audience?

Google Blog Search:

Chucking some relevant terms into Google is the first place most of us start with online investigation. However, by delving specifically into its blog search feature you have a better chance of filtering out the corporate and promotional stuff and surface the material that’s actually written by the kind of people who might come to your events. Remember to add in location filters too, so you’re not spending your time in US-dominated spaces when your event is taking place in Liverpool, for example.

SocialMention, Boardreader, IceRocket:

Much to the chagrin of many users, Google recently removed the very useful “Discussions” filter from their range of search tools. However, all is not lost! There are other services built especially for searching through forums which can do a pretty handy job and havel useful features such as the option to search posts vs threads. Social Mention even allows you to create email alerts once you’ve got a useful search set up, to keep you updated on new conversations you might be interested in.

These are all free tools, but you could always investigate more advanced options like Brandwatch, Sysomos or Synthesio if you have the budget.

Lists of niche communities:

Plenty of lists already exist that provide categorised directories of niche social networks. The lists are easy to find, but here are one or two to have a look at initially.

LinkedIn groups:

This one may not apply to many of you, because the sub-communities within LinkedIn tend to be more business-focused than general public. However, they’re still worth looking at for a lot of niches – it doesn’t take a minute to log in, run some searches and have a browse.

OK, I’ve found some ideal-looking communities, now what do I do with them?

Engage directly:

You’re putting on events that relate to these people in some way, so what can you bring to the discussions they’re already having? Whilst the end goal will be promoting your event, first try to think how you can add value to the community outside this – proving your expertise will mean you earn their respect and hold more weight when it comes to marketing to them.

So, answer questions, share your experiences and use this as a vehicle to raise awareness of you and your event when it’s appropriate to do so.

Find influencers:

All communities have their founders, leaders and top contributors who naturally have more authority than a new member to the group. Identify these and reach out to them from an angle you that could win their favour – there’s every chance they’ll be happy to help out if it’s a genuine event that’s of interest to their community. Though remember, their reputation has been hard-earned, so don’t be surprised if some ask for a manner of compensation for their efforts – it’s really just like any other business deal.


If you’re short on time to get involved in the community but you’ve set aside some budget for promotion, these communities are the perfect place to advertise. Bigger sites may have their own self-service system, others will be part of display advertising networks like Google and some may offer custom deals. Do your research and get in touch with the site’s admin or commercial team to see if they offer a suitable package for you.


Aside from all the above means of trying to raise awareness of your event to get more people along, there’s another way that spending time in these online communities can be fruitful and that’s for market research. The more you stay in touch with your online target audience, the better you’ll understand what they’re talking about, who they’re interested in and the kind of people they are. All this information can be used smartly to give you a competitive edge over rival events and ensure you’re putting on event programmes that people want to experience.


Hopefully you’ll find this advice useful – let us know how you get on following our tips and of course always feel free to add your suggestions too, either @ticketscript or in the comments below.

By Dominick Soar