social media promotion for marathons featured image

Social Media Promotion for Marathons: Engaging Strategies for Maximum Awareness

Did you know that there were about 4.76 billion active social media users as of January 2023? That’s 59.4% of the world’s population!

But did you also know social media has evolved beyond selfies and food pictures?

It has become a power player in promoting events such as marathons.

With billions (we’re not kidding) of people on social media, your marathon has a chance to reach a wide audience. It's your chance to tell your marathon's story, highlight what sets it apart, and motivate people to participate.

There are endless possibilities. From sharing photos of your advertising pennants flags and visual branding displays, to reposting user-generated content and engaging influencers, you can bank on social media promotion to champion your outdoor events.

But hold on, before you start tweeting, let's dive into why social media is such a game-changer for marathons, and we'll throw in some tips to make your social media strategy shine. Ready? 

Here is what you’ll learn to do:

  • Identifying the marathon's target audience and setting social media promotion goals
  • Selecting the appropriate social media channel and creating a content plan aligned with the marathon's brand and objectives
  • Boosting reach and awareness through user-generated content and partnerships with influencers and sponsors
  • Engaging followers, analyzing results, and integrating social media promotion into the marathon's overall marketing strategy

We’ll begin by examining how you can understand your audience and social media campaign objectives.

1 - Understanding Your Audience and Objectives

two ladies jumping happily at Southern Texas PGA Golf inflatable arch

Before diving into social media event promotion, it's essential to first identify your target audience and determine your objectives. 

Think about who usually ties up their laces for your marathon. What's their age, gender, where are they from? Maybe even try to figure out why they're running. Is it a personal challenge, a charity drive, or just the love of running?

Top Tip: In addition to age, gender, and location, consider your audience's interests, values, and motivations. This will help you create more compelling and personalized content.

Getting to know your audience will help you create content they can't help but engage with.

Now, let's talk about goals. What do you want out of this whole social media campaign? Are you aiming to get the word out about the marathon, increase event registrations, or maybe a bit of both? 

For example, one objective could be to increase the number of event registrations by 20% in comparison to last year's numbers, by leveraging custom sports inflatables for brand awareness.

The implementation could then include sharing pictures and videos from previous marathons, featuring participants gathered around a giant inflatable arch or custom mascot, both adorned with the marathon's logo.

You would then track the registrations before and after the content is put up, and monitor your social media channels for any increased engagement or mentions related to these inflatables. 

By having a specific and measurable objective, you're not just saying "Let's use custom inflatables and hope for the best."

Instead, you're saying "Let's use custom inflatables to increase event registrations by 20%, and let's measure our success by comparing registration numbers and social media engagement." 

2 - Choosing the Best Social Media Platform for Your Marathon Promotion

people at table branded with Facebook Custom Table Cloths

Let's talk about picking the best social media platform to promote your marathon. With so many platforms out there, it can feel like trying to pick a winner in a sneaker shop.

Each platform has its unique character and reaches different people. 

For instance, Instagram is ideal for sharing visual content. You can post a dynamic collage of three photos—one showing a crowd of runners from a previous marathon, the second showing a custom tent with the marathon's logo set up at the finish line, and the third showing a custom logo tablecloth draped over a table holding medals.

The table below shows a custom tent and custom logo tablecloth at marathons of our past clients.

people at Custom Pop Up Tent


people next to table with Ronald McDonald House Custom Tablecloth


The video below offers ideas on how to get the best print on custom tents.

In the next bit, we're going to break down the top platforms, and figure out which ones are the best fit for promoting your marathon and reaching the right crowd.


  • Largest social media platform with over 2.9 billion active users
  • Ideal for reaching a wide range of demographics
  • Provides opportunities for both organic and paid promotion
  • Effective for creating and promoting events
  • Best suited for objectives such as increasing registrations, building brand awareness, and engaging with participants and spectators


  • Ideal for visual content, such as photos and videos
  • Best suited for reaching a younger audience, particularly millennials and Gen Z
  • Has over 1 billion active users
  • Offers various tools for promoting content, including sponsored posts, reels, and Instagram Stories
  • Best suited for objectives such as increasing brand awareness and engagement, showcasing visual content, and leveraging user-generated content


  • Best suited for real-time updates and event-related conversations
  • Has over 368 million active users
  • Effective for engaging with participants and spectators during the marathon
  • Provides opportunities for both organic and paid promotion
  • Best suited for objectives such as promoting event-related conversations, engaging with followers, and providing real-time updates

real time Twitter update from North Moore Mustangs Football

The table below highlights social media platforms, their associated target audiences, and the best promotion objectives for each.

Social Media Platform Target Demographics Best Objective Suited For
Facebook Men and women between 18–44 years Increasing brand awareness
Instagram Young adults, millennials
18–34 years
Sharing visual content and creating buzz
Twitter Professionals, news media Live updates, networking, and real-time engagement
LinkedIn Professionals Networking, building relationships, and recruitment
YouTube All ages Sharing video content and building a loyal audience
TikTok Gen Z, younger millennials under 30 years Creating viral challenges and engaging with a younger audience

Each social media platform has its own pros and cons. Once you get the hang of what works where, you can pick the right one (or ones) to hit your goals and connect with your audience.

Always ensure you tweak your content to fit each platform. Like a tailored suit, it's all about the perfect fit for maximum impact. 

3 - Creating a Social Media Content Plan

To effectively promote your marathon on social media, it's essential to create a content plan that will engage your target audience and align with your objectives. Here are some tips to help you create interesting and engaging content:

  • Know your audience: Consider the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your audience to tailor your content accordingly. For instance, if you are organizing a marathon in San Francisco, you can use Facebook's location targeting to reach people who live in and around the city 
  • Show off your branding: Your social media content should showcase your marathon's branding, including custom banners, inflatable arches, and feather flags for advertising
  • Share event information: Use eye-catching visuals and clear, concise messaging to share event dates, locations, registration details, and race maps
  • Utilize user-generated content: Repost participants’ photos and videos of your marathon and its branding
  • Post behind-the-scenes content: Share behind-the-scenes content like images of course preparation, race day logistics, and interviews with staff and participants
  • Highlight sponsors and partners: Tag your sponsors and partners on posts and share their branding alongside your own
  • Include calls to action: Ask followers to like, comment, and share your posts. This can help increase engagement and reach on your social media channels

By creating a social media content plan that appeals to your target audience and aligns with your objectives, you can effectively promote your marathon and increase brand awareness.

“The arch and the tent were a big hit at our events. Thank you MVP Visuals for the help and the quick follow up on our order. Very much appreciated.”

David Wikette, President, Ferrari Club of America - Ohio Chapter

4 - Leveraging User-Generated Content: Maximizing Promotion Through Authenticity

One of the most effective ways to promote a marathon on social media is through user-generated content (UGC)

UGC refers to any content created by participants or spectators, such as photos and videos, that showcase the marathon's branding. 

It is an authentic and engaging way to promote your event, as it allows others to share their experiences and tell the story of the marathon in their own words. 

An excellent example of this in action is the Rangers 5K race that used the hashtag Rangerstown5K. There were a total of 367 Instagram posts from event attendees.

#YourEvent: A custom hashtag for your event can generate buzz and create a community around your marathon.

The backdrops of those photos included custom branded displays like custom shape inflatables, finish line arches, and custom printed banners, from MVP Visuals.

people pose for photo at Rangers 5K Custom Shape Inflatable

Reposting such user content strikes a chord with many online users and increases the reach of your content and event.

Next up, we discuss how to make the most of influencer and sponsor partnerships.

5 - Partnering With Influencers and Sponsors: Amplifying Your Marathon's Reach

Partnering with social media influencers and sponsors has become an increasingly popular and effective way to reach a wider audience for marathons. 

Influencers can create content that highlights their participation in the marathon or promote the marathon in their own unique way. 

For instance, sharing as runners go through a custom inflatable tunnel, or spectators cheering from designated personalized pop up tents, or participants crossing mile marker banners, creates excitement and adds a personal touch to your marathon promotion.

Learn More: The Best 5 Examples of Custom Inflatables

Additionally, sponsors can provide financial support, resources, and access to their network of followers. This can help increase brand exposure, generate buzz, and drive engagement

Ensure that the sponsor's values align with those of the marathon and disclose the sponsor relationship in all promotions.

You can increase awareness about your marathon by partnering with influencers and sponsors and leveraging their online audiences.

6 - Building Community Through Social Media Engagement

athlete waving an Advertising Flag

Engaging with followers, fans and runners throughout the marathon is essential for promoting a positive image and encouraging ongoing participation. 

An example of this is a marathon influencer live-streaming the event while waving an custom teardrop flag of the marathon. Because they are cheering, commenting, and interacting with their followers in real-time, the event feels personal and inclusive.

“I was so pleased with our economy feather banners from MVP Visuals. The banners look fantastic and are great quality. I will most definitely be purchasing more of their products in the future.”

Emily Persano, Verified Buyer

Here are some tactics for effectively engaging with your audience:

  • Host Q&A sessions: Use social media platforms to host Q&A sessions with race directors, sponsors, and other relevant parties 
  • Share user-generated content: Repost user-generated photos and videos from participants, as well as content from sponsors and partners
  • Use hashtags: Include a hashtag on your custom tents, banners, and custom logo tablecloths, and encourage followers to use it when posting about the event
  • Offer exclusive content: Post behind-the-scenes footage to build a sense of exclusivity and loyalty
  • Respond to comments and messages: Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages in a timely and helpful manner 

With these social media tricks, you'll not only build a strong marathon community but also boost your event's image: that means more runners, more fans, and more ongoing support.

7 - Measuring the Impact of Your Social Media Promotion

You have shared participant activity around your custom mascots and inflatable arches on social media. You have promoted specific posts and reposted user generated content. It’s now time to measure the impact of your social media campaign.

You'll need to track the following metrics:

  • Reach and impressions: By tracking reach and impressions, you can get a sense of how many people have viewed your social media content
  • Engagement: Engagement metrics measure how users interact with your content, such as likes, comments, shares, and clicks
  • Conversion rate: Measure the number of users who take a desired action, such as registering for the marathon or signing up for a newsletter. You can see how effective your social media promotion is at driving desired outcomes
  • Referral traffic: Referral traffic measures how much traffic your website is receiving from social media platforms 

Diving into these metrics will give you insights into the effectiveness of your social media promotion and help you make data-driven decisions to improve your future campaigns.

Elevating Your Marathon With Social Media

ladies pose for photo at lifekids Custom Inflatable Arch

Every marathon organizer needs a solid social media game to spread the word. 

It's all about knowing who you're talking to, picking the right channels, crafting posts that pop, and even using content from your followers. Plus, social ads, collaborations with influencers, and sponsorships can really amp things up.

Now, picture these MVP Visuals displays: custom printed banners fluttering in the wind, inflatable arches at the start line, and cool rectangle flags guiding runners on the route. With these and other visuals shared on social media, your marathon will get some serious attention.

Here’s a table that gives you a glimpse of the attention-grabbing MPV Visuals branded displays for you to consider.

Custom Inflatable Arch


Economy Teardrop Feather Flag


Fabric Tension Pop Up


Custom Inflatable Shoe


Investing in a kickass social media strategy isn't just about likes and shares. It's about boosting your brand, connecting with your audience, getting more sign-ups, and ultimately, making your marathon a hit.

“We initially bought this arch for our 5K Walk but have since used it at almost every event we have. It takes no more than 15 minutes to assemble and storage is equally as easy. Thank you MVP Visuals. You have taken our marketing and branding to the next level.”

Ruth Wu, Special Events Manager, Ronald McDonald House of Orange County