This week's blog is written by Matthew Long. Matthew is a successful businessman and event specialist. He is co-founder and CEO of gigcentric.com, a company that provides professionals with event planning software designed to help run and grow their business.
Planning large events takes a great deal of work in order to make them successful. As an event planner, it is up to you to determine the most effective strategies for reaching your goals, whether it is a one-day conference or a week long exhibition.
The proper use of social media is vital to creating buzz regarding the event and getting people to register and attend. You can depend on free promotion via your connections and consider paying for some advertisements to supplement your other efforts.
The most used social media site today, Facebook is a great way to reach out to the public. Due to changes in recent years, only about 10 percent of your followers will see promotional posts unless you invest in ads. You can target specific audiences with your paid promotions so that only those most likely to have an interest will see them.
You can also run contests on the site to generate event-related buzz. For instance, you may offer one or two free seats to a random person who has shared and commented on the promotional post. The contest should end a month or so prior to the event so that people who did not win have time to buy tickets.
Also, post the name of the winner. This will prove the contest was legitimate and give their friends another opportunity to consider attending. Be sure that you use tracking software to determine the success of your promotions.
You can create similar contests for Twitter though each should be a separate event. For instance, if you are giving away a pair of tickets as a promotion, have one set for Facebook and a different one for Twitter. Otherwise, it may become challenging to track entries and create a sense of distrust in followers who may perceive the promotion as a scam with too many entry points and not enough accountability.
Create at least one hashtag related to the event as soon as you begin planning. It should be short, memorable, easy to spell and not inadvertently attract the wrong type of attention. (This sometimes happens when the end of one word and the beginning of another create a new, unrelated one.) Make sure that the hashtag has not previously been used and add the year at the end for annual events.
A more professionally based resource than Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is a fantastic way to connect and promote your event. Discuss it in relevant groups and send messages directly to companies and individuals you believe will have an interest.
Promote the event in your professional portfolio with a visually appealing Power Point presentation, informative PDF or entertaining video.
Creating a YouTube channel related to the event with high-quality, relevant content is an excellent way to teach others about it. You must have professional recording equipment and editing software in order to compete with the 500 new videos that are uploaded, on average, every minute of every day.
Ideas for videos include quick teasers introducing the speakers and planned activities. You can interview several event attendees and put together a short video that shows the excitement brought about by the event. These people will naturally share it with their friends and family, providing you with a larger potential audience than you would have otherwise. Even if it does not go viral, you can still gain a good deal of buzz through impeccably edited video content.
Last, but certainly not least on the list, is Instagram. Be sure to keep your account for the event active all year instead of just waiting before the event to start posting. Be sure to use hashtags and even create your own hashtag for the event. While the event is taking place, post throughout the day. Try to keep the posts spread out. Be sure that you follow everyone that is included in the event, such as, the exhibitors, the speakers, the sponsors and anyone else involved. Give them full credit in your posts.
You can host fantastic events with large turnouts and satisfied attendees using social media. These are only five social media sites but there are many more new social sites that you can use effectively for your events. Find out where the people hanging out online that will be interested in the event and then, use that platform for your promotions.
For more information about how to use social media for your event visit the online workshop Event Marketing.