In a world where Facebook has a population greater than all but two countries, it only makes sense to harness the powers of social media when organizing large scale events. From start to finish, implementing a social media strategy can take your next event to a greater level of engagement and excitement. Whether for an annual corporate meeting or a national conference, choosing to apply online campaigns can make the difference between having an event people attend and having an event people actually want to attend.
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During the planning phase of your event, identify key “evangelists” or key leaders in online groups relating to your company and event theme. Recruit these leaders to spread the word about your event and generate an early buzz ahead of time. Once the word is out, allow potential attendees to submit questions for speakers or suggest panel members they would like to see. As an event planner, the hardest part of the job is often anticipating what people will be most interested in. By getting attendee input ahead of time, you know exactly what they want to see, hear and do. Establishing early on that crowd participation is important to you, it is much more likely that audience members will be willing to get involved during the actual event.
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When the meeting or conference rolls around, establish a unique Twitter hashtag (i.e. #Our2011Conference) that people can use to track the event and add comments. By monitoring tweets coming in from attendees, you will also have a play-by-play of how operations are running, including whether a conference room is too cold or a speaker hasn’t shown up. Addressing simple concerns as they happen can make a world of difference for attendees, and can prevent harsh criticisms on post-event comment cards. Take simple steps like making sure all conference spaces have wifi access so your audience isn’t wandering around hallways looking for a signal.
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To maximize your reach, use podcasting, live blogging and Youtube video distribution to share information with people not able to attend. Assign social media roles to conference organizers ahead of time and generate as much content online as possible while retaining a high level of quality. This content will expand your audience beyond just those physically present to anyone globally interested in your event. After a physical meeting has ended, attendees will appreciate being able to find information they missed the first time through or re-watch a relevant speaker’s presentation.
In order to drive home your new social media integration, include a speaker with a technological twist in the conference itinerary.
Social Media and E-Marketing expert Jason Baer has worked with clients from Nike to Senator John McCain to implement online strategies. By skipping the technobabble and focusing on measurable results, Baer inspires audiences to take a step in the right social media direction.
Influential thought leader Charlene Li has been consulted on Web 2.0 issues by CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Li now specializes in helping companies to understand and thrive in a new economy driven by social media techniques.
Social media veteran Chris Brogan covers topics from second circle technology to online video to Internet platforms and more. His 16 years of telecommunication experience allow him to take on e-commerce issues relevant to any corporate audience.
In a fast-paced world, Terry Brock prides himself on staying ahead of current marketplace trends. When he’s not delivering technologically-driven presentations around the globe, he’s attending trade shows to study up on the next big thing.