Two of the greatest obstacles to running a successful event today are the economics of the event, and attracting attendees/ sponsors to participate. Many forms of promotion formerly used are either non- affordable today, or have become almost irrelevant. view publisher site As evidenced by magazine and newspaper circulations, fewer and fewer people today are reading these vehicles, and, many potential advertisers have found the cost of advertising prohibitive. When that is coupled with the escalating costs of mailing and shipping, it becomes clear that event organizers and planners today needed to find and utilize other alternatives if they wanted their events to succeed. Some of these alternatives include web/ internet advertising, email and e- blasts, texts, Blogs, etc. In addition, event planners have discovered that it is often advantageous to take advantageous of Social Media as another tool in their “bag.” While I believe that the best promotional technique is to use a combination of all these methods within budgetary limitations, this article will provide a few tips about using social media to promote and enhance events and event planning.
- There are numerous internet invitation programs that are quite useful in giving the perception of providing personal invitations, as well as tracking, follow through, etc. While in the strictest interpretation of social media these programs are generally not considered, they are certainly useful extensions in the event planning process.
- In order for social media to have an impact, it is necessary to get a large degree of interest in whatever the event one is promoting or planning. That means that an organization needs a viable method of attracting followers. However, just having followers alone accomplishes little unless the planner creates some sort of buzz about the event. That means that the organization’s leadership must commit to making a concerted effort to get the word out, either by using email or texts, but preferably (and the the best results occur when this is done) either over the telephone or face- to- face.
- Make the social media vehicle fun, informative and participatory. Many organizations run contests or promotions of some sort to hype the interest and get potential attendees and sponsors to pay more attention and follow.
- Create a dedicated social media site or page for the event. Most of the better known sites offer that availability. For example, Facebook permits an organization to set up a specific page, and Linked In permits groups to set up a Group. Organizations should also utilize social sites such as My Space and U Tube, and create videos that enhance and entice the event. It is essential that all these methods feed into a Registration site, and that there is tracking, oversight and follow up with people who have visited the sites. Without that follow up, results and response will be disappointing. Most importantly, all social media should provide compelling reasons for people to attend and donors to support and sponsor. Event planners must always emphasize perceived value.
- A very valuable social media site is Twitter. The event should focus on getting followers and attracting people to get more information. Twitter should be used both to whet the appetites as well as feed people to other informational sites and sources. Twitter conferences should also be set up with event specific hash marks so that people know they can get answers to questions and learn more. Twitter is also an effective tool to use during the event for attendees to get up to date information, etc.