Event planning requires lots of organization, a good amount of time to get all the details together and a great marketing plan. One of the great things about social media marketing is that most platforms give you real-time, trackable results about how many people your message is reaching. So you can literally see up-to-the-minute how many people have been viewing your Facebook page, tweeting about your event or reading your blog. And the best part about it is most of these valuable tools are free. If you haven't yet gotten on the bandwagon to use social media for your event planning, here are some ways to get started.
Despite the fact that the 25-and-under crowd prefer texting over e-mailing any day, e-mail marketing is still alive and well for the rest of us dinosaurs. There are likely event attendees who don't have a Facebook page and haven't even heard of Twitter, but they more likely than not have an e-mail account. So consider e-mail marketing one of your most important social media tools for planning your event. Sign up with e-mail marketing platforms that allow you to easily format your message and send it to your list with the click of a button. You can also use their tools to keep building your list throughout the year.
Blogging has been around as a valuable social media tool for a while, and the blogosphere only continues to grow. You can start a blog for free and generate an audience fairly easily by announcing it with other social media. Blogs are a great place for lengthier messages than you would post on Twitter or Facebook. You can provide in-depth details about your event and announce sponsors or speakers and talk more about them. You can provide helpful information about ticket sales or parking details. And during the event, you can live blog about the event for people who couldn't attend. Just be sure to provide a link to your blog on your Web site. You can also set it up so that Facebook automatically imports posts to your wall.
The power of a message comprised of 140 characters has been proven again and again. Twitter is a great tool to use for event marketing because of how easy it is to track your results. Start by creating a hashtag for your event -- you know, that little # sign followed by a name. Then, start promoting the hashtag: Put it on your Web site, use it in your Facebook posts, print it on the invitation, in the program, on name badges and use it in presentations and slideshows. Be sure to mix up your tweets beyond simply announcing your event. You can use it to announce up-to-the-minute details, like new sponsors or speakers, entertainers or even an open bar. Plan to keep up the tweeting during the event as well.
Facebook may be the leader in social media, but many agree that LinkedIn is the best place to market your business. LinkedIn operates on the premise of professional connections, and while its main function is to help you build relationships, it's also a great place to establish leads that you can use during the event planning stage. These leads could help you find vendors, sponsors and attendees and it can also help you promote your event. If you use the LinkedIn event platform to send invitations to your connections, when they RSVP it will show up on their home profile so that all of their connections can see it.
Of course, no social media list would be complete without mentioning the almighty Facebook. It's not just a place to keep track of your friends' daily doings. Facebook business pages are a great way to build a buzz about your event through your fan base. Once you have your fan page and likes from fans, you can create a Facebook event, invite all your fans and encourage them to invite their networks of friends and family. Use status updates to announce details that will help generate excitement about the upcoming event. Get people involved on your Facebook wall by asking and answering questions about the event, introducing speakers, and tagging pictures with attendees or people of note. And if you plan to have more events, Facebook will help you to keep in touch with your fans during downtime.
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- Brooks, Rich. "12 Ways to Market Your Event With Social Media." Socialexaminer.com. July 20, 2010.http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/12-ways-to-market-your-event-with-social-media/
- Edelstein, Meaghan. "How To: Use Social Media to Enhance Your Event." Mashable.com. November 21, 2010. http://mashable.com/2010/11/21/social-media-events/
- Howes, Lewis. "Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business with LinkedIn." Socialexaminer.com. February 22, 2010. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/top-5-ways-to-market-your-business-with-linkedin/
- Neher, Krista. "How Meeting and Event Planners Can Use Social Media." Slideshare.net. January 30, 2012. http://www.slideshare.net/kristaneher/how-meeting-and-event-planners-can-use-social-media