Events help build a relationship with your customer base by providing them with a tangible experience that they can associate with your brand. Personal stories and experiences resonate more than advertisements, and can have longer lasting benefits. Social media is one of the best platforms to use to promote an event. Word-of-mouth is relatively cheap, and it is more trustworthy than marketing.
Making the most of an event using social media isn’t just about promoting the event. The event can also be used to promote your social media presence, which can be leveraged in many ways over the years to come. This means that social media should be involved in the steps that come before, during, and after an event.
People need to know about your event in order to attend it. It takes skill and experience to craft an effective build-up, but here are some strategies to use for each of the prominent social networks.
Create a hashtag, such as #event, and include it in all of your tweets about the event. Encourage your followers to tweet with the hashtag. You can incentivise them by giving away a free pass to a lucky few. If the event is important enough, you may consider creating a separate Twitter profile specifically for the event.
Don’t just repeatedly announce that an event is coming. Be sure to include new and exciting information about the event with each Tweet, and don’t give it all away at once. You can also include your followers in process by asking them for suggestions and incorporating some of their ideas.
Be sure to include the phrase “Please RT!” in your Tweets as a simple reminder to share the news.
You should obviously update your status with the event, but be sure to take advantage of Facebook Events. This lets you set up a specific page for your event. This allows people to specifically “like” your event and announce that they are planning to attend. You can also use Facebook ads to target people who have already expressed an interest in subjects related to your event.
If it’s a business event, you definitely don’t want to forget about LinkedIn. As soon as somebody RSVPs your event, the event will show up on the home profile of everybody they know, which can spread the word fast. Creating an event on LinkedIn is fairly straightforward, and the process of sending out invitations is also easy enough.
The event should occur online as well as in the real world. Here’s how to maximize your event’s impact.
By creating an event in Foursquare, you will encourage people to check into the event with their mobile phones. These check-ins will be shared not only on Foursquare, but on other social networks, since the two are often automatically linked together. Be sure to include signs and displays reminding people to check in, and consider incentivizing.
Promote your hashtag during the event. As people make new memories during the event, they will include the hashtag in their tweets as long as you remind everybody what it is. This will make your event easy to find and search for on Twitter. It may even end up trending on the Twitter homepage.
Be sure to include updates about the even through all of your social media channels. Include blog updates, pictures, and videos. Live videos can be shared through UStream.tv. It’s worth hiring a professional photographer if possible.
Share all media collected during the even via as many channels as possible. Tag everybody that you can identify in your Facebook photos. License your photos on Flickr with a creative commons license so they can be shared without fear of copyright infringement. If the presentation included a slideshow, share the slides on Slideshare. Write up a blog post to reflect on the event.
Stay in touch with everybody who attended the event. Ideally, the event should be designed in a way that encourages discussion afterward. Become a part of this discussion and use the attention to encourage subscriptions to your blog and other media outlets. Eventually, all of this should contribute to your social media presence and your brand visibility. This should be the goal of any corporate event.
Guest post written by Tal Baron from Smart Meetings, a business destination guide for planning a conference in Texas.