Friday morning I spent a few hours at the Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/Saint Paul (SMBMSP) seminar, “Events: Management, Planning & More.” I did my best to take notes on all the great information being discussed about the best ways to use social media for event marketing and planning.
Overview: This was a roundtable discussion with a panel of event planners responsible for events of all sizes. They discussed their experiences with how social media is currently being used to promote and execute their events and answered many specific questions from the 100+ people in attendance.
- Jennifer Kane, social media marketing and PR strategist, consultant, trainer, and writer for Kane Consulting.
- Mykl Roventine a designer of web sites, WordPress blogs and social media strategies.
- Brienna Schuette, Marketing & Communications Manager for the Minnesota State Fair.
Here are a few key items I took away from the discussion…
- There is often a fear of jumping in to using social media and having to deal with negative feedback. Whether your event has a social media presence or not, people ARE talking about you on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Having a social media presence gives you a public platform to respond to any negative feedback and show others your dedication to your attendees and their experience. Also social media followers are found to be very loyal and will often help “defend” your event and organization when someone posts a negative comment.
- Many corporate conference type events are starting to incorporate the use of a “Twitter Host” for their events. This is a person responsible for monitoring any real-time tweets about the event, often using hashtags. They can do a number of things including gather and filter questions for the presenter, monitor feedback on the event content and even respond to immediate needs from the audience members.
- Events are starting their marketing efforts with social media. Even if you are not quite ready to start taking online event registrations, create a “buzz” by posting teaser information to your followers, create a Facebook event to post information and encourage followers to follow all of your different channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) to stay up to date.
- Don’t overload your followers. As with any type of marketing, if you push out too much information to your followers, they will start to tune you out. And be sure to stay focused. If you change direction in the focus of your postings, it can confuse and frustrate your followers. Say they sign up to follow you after seeing a number of posts regarding your events schedule, parking information, registration options, etc….they may start to disregard your postings if you also throw in items you personally find interesting like funny YouTube videos or links to “buzz” news unrelated to your organization/event.
- The social media channels are a highly successful way to pass along information about your event but email marketing is still a big driver when it comes to actually getting people to register for your event.
- Create hashtags for your event and include that information in your registration confirmation emails. Hashtags are a great way to be able to monitor what is being said before, during and after your event.
- Be sure to give your registrants an instant way to connect with your social media channels. For example, event directors using ZapEvent love that at the end of registration, registrants have the option to “Share” and post on their personal Facebook and/or Twitter accounts that they are registered for the event and can encourage their friends to do the same.
- Use your social media channels for off-season crowdsourcing to help in planning/evaluating your event. Ask your followers for feedback on last year’s event or for their ideas on how to better improve your event for next year. For example, the Minnesota State Fair uses crowdsourcing to gather opinions and choose future bandshell acts.
I also found another blog article that was written about the the panel discussion. Check out: How to Plan Your Next Event Using Social Media — Notes from #SMBMSP 32 by Kevin Donlin
How have you incorporated social media into your event marketing and planning?