Use Social Media to Market Your Events

Relationship networkSocial media can be an effective and inexpensive tool you association can leverage to market and promote your events. But it isn’t just "using" social media that will ensure your success. Instead, it is knowing the right tools to use and how to use them to best reach your membership.

Tips for Before Your Event

As any good event planner knows, there are three key phases to marketing: before, during and after. This still holds true when using social media as part of your plan, starting with the before strategy:

  • Promote on Twitter: Create a hashtag for your event and, if it is large enough, consider setting up an account for it. Encourage your followers to re-tweet and promote your hashtags by offering incentives such as a prize.
  • Promote on Facebook: Create an event on Facebook or even a group or fan page. You can even add “Like” buttons to your event’s web site. If you have the budget, even consider Facebook ads for your event.
  • Market on LinkedIn: Create an event on LinkedIn and invite your connections. Once someone RSVPs, it appears on their profile page, exposing it to all of their connections.
  • Market through your blog: Write blog posts promoting the event and even consider having follow up posts as new details or special news develops. Guest posts from presenters or special guests of your event can also reach a broader audience.
  • Market online: Find any calendars for your region and industry and add your event to them. Also consider larger online event spaces such as Eventful and Yahoo! Upcoming to include your event.

Tips for During Your Event

With the explosion of mobile devices, social media is even more important than ever to utilize during your event. Your attendees will all be mobile, which means they will be turning online for their event needs:

  • Foursquare and Gowalla: Set up events for your attendees to check in to on their preferred location-based network. And don’t eschew one over another. Not all your attendees use the same services, so you should be sure to have events on them all.
  • Promote your hashtags: Don’t forget to remind your attendees and speakers to use your events hashtag in their online communications.
  • Live-blogging: Having someone onsite who can live blog your event is invaluable. Micro-blogging services like Twitter and even Tumbler can be cheap and easy ways to give folks who can’t attend a sense of being there.
  • Hire a photographer: Have a professional photographer available for the entire event to support future marketing efforts. Be sure to negotiate license rights beforehand.
  • Streaming video: Much like live-blogging, streaming video can give people a sense of being there, which could encourage future attendance. Even if you can stream live, consider recording your sessions and posting later for download.

Tips for After Your Event

Marketing doesn’t end when the event does. Don’t forget to follow up your social media efforts:

  • Post a recap blog post: Be sure to include links to photos, video and social media backchannels
  • Post photos to Flickr: Be sure to assign the appropriate Creative Commons license so that your members can share the photos with their connections.
  • Post photos to your event’s Facebook page: Don’t forget to tag members!
  • Post videos to social streaming sites: Once again, don’t forget to allow your videos to be shared and embedded so they reach the greatest audience.

Source: 12 Ways to Market Your Event With Social Media

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Tagged: annual conferences, associations, event marketing, event planning, events, marketing, meeting planning, meetings, social media

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