7 tools for combining social media and event marketing

Recently, there has been much discussion by me and other marketing folks about the importance of content within a social media campaign.

I can’t help but think of events as the ultimate in content with social media. After all, what is more social than actually meeting face to face? Interactive is where its at. That’s why events and social media continue to grow despite a lagging economy. Over and over again, I see missed opportunities for extending the reach of events utilizing social media. If more people were thinking about events AS content they’d really be maximizing both marketing avenues. Here’s a couple of ways to view your event as content:

Flickr. A blogger’s dream photo site. Picassa gets all the attention, but Flickr is really the social media answer.  Make it easy for your blog and others to be part of your Flickr stream by letting them know what tags to utilize. But did you know you can add a Flickr tab to your Facebook page? This allows those who didn’t get to attend the event to see photos in your Flickr stream.

Facebook. Everyone knows to put the event on their page and utilize it as an RSVP tool. But using Facebook to engage and invite participation for the event takes some, eh-hem, engagement. Asking attendees and participants to host discussions or engage one another via Facebook is a great start to any event.

Hashtags. Identifying and utilizing hashtags throughout an event allows an ongoing conversation during and post-event. Particularly for on-going events, this can be a powerful tool for engagement. Encourage your attendees during the event to Tweet about it by making sure they know the #hashtag.

Twitpics. And other similar applications make it easy to upload photos to your Twitter stream while people are at an event. A great way to get attendees to do this is to feature tweets with your #hashtag and photos at a gathering location throughout the event.

Blogs. You’re probably aware that blogs are a powerful social marketing tool – but do you use them for your events as well? If your exhibiting or hosting events, blogs are your best friend. They invite opportunities for speakers and attendees alike to engage (on YOUR site) before and after the event. What opportunities can you offer sponsors via your blogs? What about your speakers?

WordPress in particular has lots of plug-ins to maximize community around your events. I could (and probably should) write an entire other post on plug-ins for events.

LinkedIn. If your using LinkedIn (and really, who isn’t?), you’ve probably already noticed the ability to “host” an event. But using LinkedIn groups has the potential to offer attendees ongoing engagement in a professional atmosphere. I’d love to see more B2B events (in particular) offer off-line conversations that can help shape future events, and review past ones.

Scribd. Encouraging speakers to post their Powerpoints on Scribd is a great way for your speakers to get more visibility and also for your event to receive more interest. Most of us know that a powerpoint doesn’t tell the WHOLE story and thus may create opportunities for engagement outside of the actual event.  Combining this with your Facebook Page and Twitter is an outstanding way to engage. Featuring a session for review using Scribd invites discussion – and if that discussion is hosted by the speaker, all the better.

Those are just a couple of tools for combining your events and social media. Events: the ultimate in social media content.