The other day John Haydon and I were on a live Webinar where someone asked how to go about launching and growing an event program using social media tools.
I didn’t have time to explain fully so thought I would write up the process here for you now.
- Start talking/tweeting about your event in advance – Building anticipation, expectation, and sharing the news is vital. People need to book diaries, and also you need to show that it is worth looking forward to – an event, not just an appointment.
- Add event to FaceBook, Upcoming, LinkedIn – Use all the community tools to share the event date and details, not just for logistical reasons but also social proof.
- Blog, Tweet, leading up to event – Keep up the momentum and the information flow. Help grow the anticipation. You will have lots to talk about, from polls, through to adding speakers.
- Add opt-in to event registration – A crucial step is to get people onto an event email list, so you do not lose contact with anyone.
- Gather Questions – When you get the persons opt-in details, also get them to provide questions they have, these become fodder for your presentations.
- Go viral with send to friend and tweet-this – Use WordPress plugins, FaceBook features, Twitter, to get attendees to spread the word. Make it easy and people will bring along friends, growing your participation and also making more likely to attend and get value out of the event. People want to stay consistent with their own recommendations.
- Decide twitter hash tag and flickr tag for your event – Attendees build further buzz through back channel discussions, so make sure these can be found by aggregating chatter around one
- Use multimedia during the event – Share pictures before, during and after using Flickr tags/groups, TwitPic, Qik, FaceBook groups and YouTube channels, and encourage attendees to to the same
- Provide recordings and downloads – Downloads also have chance to go viral if you encourage sharing
- Build your list for the next event – Benefit from the “compounding” effect
- Follow up – Don’t leave your audience hanging. Use groups, forums discussion after event to consolidate your new community.
- Gather feedback for how to improve – You want each event to build on the last one, learn each time. Social media is excellent for gathering feedback.
- Call for Questions/Topics – Use crowdsourcing to create your next event.
- Deliver what people want – Start planning next event around supplied answers and you will be confident you are delivering what is needed and desired.
- Keep communicating – Build anticipation early, consistently and often using FaceBook, Twitter and your email list
Two good examples of how social media can be used to promote events are ThinkVisibility in the UK and the SOBEvent in Chicago. I am also involved in a purely online series of events that are very exciting and are using social media to the max, but I can’t talk about them right now so look out for the above tips being utilized in my Twitter stream very soon!
Do you have any good tips or examples of events promoted through social media? Please share in the comments ….