Social Media for events

I love skeptics, the non-believers, those who think and try before they leap: the world would be a rather messy, haphazard place without them. But to the same extent the world we live in would be rather boring if it wasn’t full of people who see something positive and useful in EVERY new development. Social Media for events is hardly new for most but for some it is still something that they aren’t quite sure about.

Where Social Media fits in the marketing mix

As an event marketer it’s clear to me that for most of my clients (especially in the association and not for profit world) the majority of their bookings are directly generated from their member / customer / stakeholder database. They are still emailing that list, hopefully targeting as they go, and this tactic is still filling the majority of their places. They are placing adverts in the relevant journals and taking banner space on line. So in summary most event businesses are doing very much what they’ve been doing for the last ten years. The point I’d like to emphasise is that they shouldn’t stop doing any of this. Keep the faith and keep up the good traditional marketing work. But crucially you have to find time for Social Media in your marketing mix.

Why Social Media has to be part of your mix

Using social media for events must be integrated into your approach for marketing your events and here are 10 reasons why:

1. There are already many stories of a significant amount of people booking on to events via Social Media

2. Social Media allows you to communicate with an interested audience who may be outside your database

3. Some of those engaged in Social Media may not be visiting websites or reading the journal you advertise in

4. It allows you to benefit from the ‘peer’ effect. If someone you know and trust is attending that is a strong motive in any buying decision

5. Social Media allows your messages to have an incredible reach at a very low cost – crucial in raising attendance

6. Most Social Media is searchable and in real time. Social Media leads are HOT

7. A smart use of Social Media can add value to your speakers and delegates by for example pointing out pre reading and further information

8. Social Media can add value to your sponsors and exhibitors by allowing them to communicate with the audience involved in your event

9. Using Social Media at your event can demonstrate to a large community the value of attending (and crucially why they should attend F2F) next year

10. Social Media enables you to easily ‘use’ other stakeholders in marketing your event

As you will agree not only are all of the above crucial to extending your event attendance but all of them come at the cost of time rather than money and with more strain on marketing budgets that is exceptionally welcome.

 

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2 comments

  • Hellen Beveridge February 9, 2012   Reply →

    Excellent points William – the most crucial one being that marketers should not stop doing tradition marketing in exchange for social media activity. If anything the latter should emphasise the need to do the former better, in a more targetted and professional way.
    Engaging with social media well not only delivers HOT leads, but ones that can be acted on and captured quickly. It also allows an organisation to listen, something that many marketing departments find difficult to do when they are rushing to get masses of collateral out of the door.
    Social media also delivers huge flexibility… Rather than having to wait until every part of a programme is completed to send out a message it can focus on specifics as they are available, giving the marketing team a much longer, and more valuable lead time into an event and consequently a longer and more comprehensive story to tell potential delegates and visitors.
    A well executed social media plan dovetailed into a well executed through the line marketing campaign should be the goal for which every event marketing team is aiming.

  • Gemma Pears February 9, 2012   Reply →

    I have also been to many workshops and seminars where people and organisations cannot see the benefit of social media, not just for marketing events but marketing their brand.
    The main argument that I always hear is I dont have enough time! I completely agree with your blog post and put forward the challenge to those that disagree, read up, tweet up and watch your brand grow! Yes, time is money but Social Media marketing is definitely worth every penny!

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