Marketing Your Event: Social Media Is NOT A Megaphone
Do you ever use social media to market your networking events, conferences or tradeshows?
Have you ever had the experience of someone marketing their event to YOU – the wrong way with social media?
Some great points about this came up during a recent conversation with Carol Roth (see the video interview below); who has great insights from both helping spread the word about events and from the other side of the table as a NY Times Bestselling Author & speaker (follow Carol on Twitter here). Social media can be a great tool; but when it comes to marketing you don’t want to just dive in and and start tweeting, messaging, posting on Facebook or LinkedIn without a method to your madness.
Before You Go Online
Take a step back and ask yourself: What are your over-arching goals? When you’re planning an event these could be to attract more exhibitors, bring on more sponsors, get more attendees to sign up for your event or maybe a combination of all three and more. The common thread: They’re all about making your meeting successful for everyone involved. Your social media strategy needs to be a reflection of this.
While social media can be a great way to create these conversations it is only ONE of the tools in your marketing tool box; it’s not the “end-all-be-all” and it’s not an avenue to quick sales. Remember…
Please Don’t SHOUT: Social Media Shouldn’t Be Used As A Megaphone
“Blasting” blatant sales messages through any and all social media channels is the wrong way to go. Think about it: If you’ve ever seen someone on Twitter just spam their followers with 10 tweets in a row all about the same event or a Facebook page administrator send an invite EVERY day to the same event: How did that make you feel about them/their event? Probably annoyed. Remember – social media starts with the word “social”. It’s not about having a megaphone and shouting to anyone and everyone around you. It is about:
- Clearly defining who you want to market your event to AND where they are online
- Creating a dialogue with your sponsors, attendees and their friends
- Helping to facilitate engagement between everyone involved and
- Building a community.
Here are a few ways to kick start that community before the event even takes place…
Creating A Community That Will Market Your Event With You
Create a community around your event. People are more likely to attend if their friends are involved in planning the event or will be attending the event. Let them get to know each other before, during AND after the event. Here’s a few things that should help:
- Save your valuable time. You don’t have to be everywhere. Go where your audience is; if they primarily use Facebook – focus there. If they’re tweeting a lot, talk to them on Twitter. If they read trade blogs – add those into your marketing mix.
- Create a Twitter or Facebook chat beforehand. Have a moderator create a conversation on Twitter; give people a specific time & date – then help them have a conversation. Have people ask questions on your Facebook page that moderators and speakers can answer at your event.
- Take it a step further. Look at who’s participating in the event and then actively make connections for them: Send a message (via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email) saying something like “Hello Tina and John – you two should know each other because (insert a good reason here) – hope you can connect at (the name of your event)!”
Carol shares even more advice in the video above during part I of our interview for the Chicago Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. She’ll let you know what NOT to do when you market your event and give some great tips along the way…
What tips do YOU have to share about marketing events, conferences and meetings?