Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Plan before launching social media

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Marketing strategy
Lately I’ve received calls and emails from existing clients and new prospects seeking ways to use social media tools. They want to find out how to set up a Twitter account, exploit the ins and outs of LinkedIn, record a podcast, create a Facebook business page, and maybe even learn about GooglePlus so they’re ready when Google admits brands to its new platform.

Some of these people are pretty smart about their requirements. In many cases, however, I discover that two things are missing:

  • A commitment to developing an overall marketing or communications strategy first, before diving into social media. If you don’t know what your goals are, or who your target market is, how can you even dream of reaching them? And how would you measure success?
  • The allocation of resources for content development, curation and publishing. Think about this: After you’ve set up your cool-looking Facebook page, put a snazzy avatar on Twitter, and added fancy plug-ins to your WordPress blog, what are you going to say? Do you have a plan for curating, creating and publishing content?

Spending a few days hashing out your communications strategy and then planning your content flow will make the whole process of “using” social media a lot more effective.

I’m assuming here, perhaps too optimistically, that the organization in question is already monitoring mentions of their brands and their key people on the Web.

Do you agree? Easier said than done? Do people argue with you when you say “There’s no such thing as a Twitter strategy”?

For more content like this, follow me on Twitter or GooglePlus.

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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.

Blogs
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.

Twitter
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.

Podcasts
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.

Video
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.

Facebook
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.

Ning
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.

LinkedIn
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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Is your event social-media friendly?

Friday, October 30th, 2009

business man giving a conferenceOver the course of a typical year, I  attend several conferences, speak at a couple, and participate in others on behalf of clients – producing content, particularly podcasts. Since I’ve been in this arena for a few years, I’ve come to observe organizations that “get it” when it comes to employing social media and new media tools before, during and after an event. This “social-media friendly” list is by no means exhaustive, but it can serve as food for thought when you’re planning your next conference.

  • Is there an event blog and podcast? Have you produced audio and video content before the event, to build excitement? Do these include interviews with key speakers?
  • Are you as the organizer posting updates on Twitter before, during and after the event? Are you encouraging registrants to do so as well?
  • Are you creating audio podcasts and shooting video at your event? This can enhance the experience of those who are at the event, and help you to create marketing materials for next time.
  • Have you considered using a tool like CoverItLive to encourage live blogging?
  • Did you create a unique hashtag so that bloggers and Twitterers can use a uniform tag to refer to your event?
  • Does the venue have strong, freely available wifi?
  • Are there electrical outlets where attendees can recharge their laptops and other devices?

Please contribute your own comments!

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