Posts Tagged ‘conference planning’

Events + social media = success

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

There was a time when printed brochures, news releases and ads in trade publications were the main tools we used to promote events. Now, in addition to these traditional media, along with Web sites and email, we can add social media to the marketing mix.

Increasingly, organizations are using blogs, podcasts, Twitter and Facebook to publicize an event, and then keep the conversation going during and afterward. In some cases, organizers succeed at creating a community that thrives long after the conference or trade show is over.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these tools.

Think of a blog as a publishing platform. They’re no longer considered “online diaries.” Use your blog to publish content that builds excitement about the event by showcasing some of the key speakers and sponsors. Encourage questions and comments on the blog.

As a micro-blogging platform, Twitter can work nicely with your blog, allowing you to publish 140-character bursts of information. Many event organizers create a hashtag in advance, so that everyone on Twitter who is talking about the event uses common terminology. For example, the popular South by Southwest conference is #sxsw.

I’ve worked with many clients who’ve used podcast interviews before and during their conferences, with great results. At Autodesk University, for example, we ran in-depth interviews with organizers, speakers and other experts before the event, to build interest. During the conference, we conducted more interviews and also grabbed quick sound bites with attendees. These were used as part of the marketing campaign to promote the event during the following year.

If your story has a visual element, then use video. Keep them short, though, because editing time will eat up much of your budget otherwise.

Have you thought of using a Fan page or Group on Facebook to drum up interest in your event? We’ll be covering these in more detail in future blog posts. There are differences between the two that you need to be aware of.

One of my clients recently used Ning to set up a community for attendees, so that they could congregate in a private online area before the event, and then keep the relationship going afterward. A group like Ning also provides a safe place for people to try out their social networking skills, rather than out in the wider world.

Don’t forget about LinkedIn, which you can also use to promote your events. You can also post articles to stimulate discussions.

What are some of your favourite social media tools to promote events?

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WHY should your event be social-media friendly?

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

iStock_network-000006889731XSmall copyI recently wrote about HOW to make your meeting or conference social-media friendly. A commenter then asked for more information about WHY you would want to do so.

I have covered the “why” elsewhere in my PodcastYourConference site and in various presentations and Webinars, but here is a quick list of the reasons why you should consider incorporating social media into your event planning.

  • Running an event blog, or blogging about the event on your regular blog, will help to publicize the event among potential registrants.
  • Tweeting about the event can do the same. In fact, Twitter, which encourages re-tweeting, may help your message spread even more quickly than will your blog. Of course your content has to be interesting. You can’t keep rebroadcasting the same “Hey we’re having an event” message.
  • Ditto with building your presence on Facebook or any other venue where your audience gathers online.
  • Pre-event podcast interviews with key speakers offer potential attendees, exhibitors and sponsors a glimpse of what they might be experiencing in your event’s keynote presentation, workshops, breakouts or other sessions. You’d be amazed at how much interest you can generate with a 10-minute audio podcast.
  • Suppose you’re running an annual event, and your members, employees or customers are traveling from all over the world to be there. Do you think this is an opportune time to capture audio and video conversations, presentations, event feedback and so on? In my humble opinion, YES! The cost of recording, editing and publishing this content is likely to pale in comparison to your total event budget. USE this content now and in the future. Repurpose it. Repackage it. Make the most of it!
  • If you take a few minutes to create an event hashtag (such as #iabc09), you make life easier for those who are blogging and tweeting about you. You also simplify your own tracking of the conversations about your event. Do you care what people are saying before, during and after your event? You should. This feedback is real and unvarnished, and can help you to organize even better meetings in the future.

Social media can help you to create buzz, boost registration numbers, foster a sense of community among attendees, entice exhibitors, and create relevant content for your Web site and marketing efforts.

Remember: Conversations about your organization and your event are happening, whether you’re listening to them or not. Be a part of them. Doing nothing is not a viable tactic.

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