Many of you know I also run a bed and breakfast and event space called the Urban Oasis and we put on lots of events here throughout the year. I am the co-chair of WordCamp Atlanta as well, so the topic of event promotion is an important one to me.
We used Social Media to put on a super book signing for Chris Guillebeau’s Art of Nonconformity book tour with over 225 people. And WordCamp Atlanta sold out in two weeks. Event planners should really bone up on all the cool social media apps that come in handy to insure the success of your next events.
When creating an event, you must think about your specific event and create a targeted online and offline marketing plan.
- What are your objectives?
- Who is your target market?
- What channels do people in your target market use?
- How much time do you have?
- What are your resources in terms of time and money?
- What will you need outside assistance with?
- How will you measure results?
Give yourself enough time to make a difference. You will need a minimum of 6 weeks to execute a good plan, but it is better to begin planning and talking it up well before that.
The following is a list of activities you might want to include to get the buzz going about your event and attract your “right” people to attend:
Create a Flyer for the event. Have it professionally designed and use attractive images. Create the flyer in a psd so that you will be able to be able to re-use elements from the flyer on your website and other places.
- If the event is going to be recurring make a website for it.
- If the event is being put on by an ongoing business, create a banner or sidebar widget and put it in a prominent place on the homepage of the business website with a link to a specific page or post about it.
- Create a landing page for the event (use a program like Premise to create Landing pages on your website).
- Add a prominent call to action on all online descriptions of your event so that people may register by clicking a link to get to your chosen sign up method.
You will need to determine the method for people to sign up for the event. If the event is free and you want people to get a ticket, or if it is a paid event, there are several ways to handle having people sign up that keep track.
- Create a form in Gravity Forms and link it to your Paypal or Authorize.net account. When someone signs up, you will get an email with his or her sign up form and the money will go into your account.
- Create a Facebook Event. This is a popular way to publicize an event. Make sure the instructions are clear as to whether they need to register or pay for the event and where to do so. Send out the event to as many people as you can. You can also allow guests to invite their friends to the event. Find out more on the Facebook event instructions page.
- If you want people to register for your event, whether or not they must pay to attend, EventBrite is a great solution. You can set EventBrite to show a list of attendees as an incentive for people to join people they know in attending and sign up. If you have a website, you can embed the EventBrite sign up right on your site, or it is fine to just provide a link to your posts or landing pages from EventBrite. EventBrite takes a little bit of money out of each registration, but it is free for non-profit or free events.
Use Your List:
1. Create a list of important gatekeepers for people who are in your demographic to be interested in your event, including all of the speakers or volunteers. Send a personal e-mail with a description of the event and why their people might be interested and include a pdf of the flyer. Make the email personal if it is someone you know. Ask the gatekeeper if they think it would be something that their people would be interested in and would they please get the word out to their people by:
- Writing a blog post about it
- Posting it in their newsletter
- Putting a flyer in their studio
- Passing the word around their network on Social Media
- Telling their students, Meetup group, or other contacts about it
2. Send out emails to your mailing list about the event. You can develop a series of these emails to tell people it is coming; to tell them registration is open; to tell them about special features, guests or highlight an activity; and to ask them to share the email with their friends. Be sure you are using an Email Service Provider (I use MailChimp) to send the email with a way for people to unsubscribe rather than sending something by way of your Gmail or Outlook. The email does not need to go out on a fancy template. Sometimes a plain text email gets better result because they feel more personal.
1. Create a #hashtag for the event that can be used on Twitter and other social media sharing to indicate the update is about the event. Check to see that some other group is not using your hashtag by doing a search.
2. Create some embeddable pre-made Tweets with Click to Tweet. Add them to the end of emails, blog posts and other communications so that it is easy for others to share about your event.
3. Create a special Click to Tweet to go on your registration page giving your attendees the option of sharing that they are going to the event. Here’s a example: “ I just signed up for http://Atlanta.2013.WordCamp.org. Hope to see you there, too. #wcatl.”
5. Send a message to your contacts on Twitter who have large followings and ask them to share the event. Include a lead-in and the link to more information so they can add a little something and Retweet.
6. Create Facebook Page updates adding a jpg version of the flyer or the event logo to the update. Add some fun lead-in text to entice people to read more. Then add the link in the body of the update. It is free to tag the update post as ‘featured’ so it stays at the top of your Facebook Page posts and spans the two columns.
7. Facebook allows advertisers to re-market to people who have visited specific non-Facebook Pages using Facebook Exchange, also known as FBX ad targeting. This means you can show event ads to Facebook users who visited your Event Page but did not purchase. This can be a very economical way to re-target possible prospects.
8. Make sure your Facebook posts link to somewhere that has the sign up links.
9. Create a post in Google+ with the event logo or photo add a lot of the details and link to the sign up form. Post the update to circles that are made up of people who are in the right demographic or locale for your event.
10.Create a Google+ event. One feature of these events is that when you invite people, Google+ will automatically populate their Google calendar with the event, which will ask them whether they will be attending or not.
Monitor Your Social Media Channels:
- Keep a close watch on your social media channels. Be sure to thank people for sharing your information.
- Create a twitter stream of tweets that are using the event hashtag so that you can follow what people are saying about your event. Retweet their tweets and jump in and interact with them.
During The Event:
1. Create a sign up form, which also states that the attendees will be added to the mailing list.
2. Bring your business cards.
3. On the event schedule post all Social Media Follow buttons and include the event #hashtag.
4. Add the Twitter handles to the participant name badges.
5. Tell people how to find out more about you and your organization.
6. Create some posts or tweets about the event or speakers and schedule them to go out during the event.
7. Assign people to live tweet and post about the event.
8. Ask people in your audience to post their questions through Twitter.
9. Have a photographer and or videographer and take photos of the attendees as well as the speakers.
After The Event:
- Post the photos and or videos on your Facebook page and tag as many people as possible.
- Write a blog post with some highlights and photos and share it to Twitter and Google+.
- Send out Thank you letters to volunteers and people who helped share the information.
- Hold a wrap up meeting to look at the results and take notes on what worked and what did not and ideas that you have for the next event.
- If you are doing a presentation you can post your slides onto Slideshare, or upload your videos to YouTube.
Have you put on an event and used any of these tools or others? Let us know how that went.