February 2, 2011

Using Twitter & LinkedIn to promote your event

Crowdsourcing panel
The audience at the Crowdsourcing panel at SXSW 2010 (photo by JD Lasica)

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause and community organizations, foundations, NGOs, businesses, brands, government agencies, conference organizers, educators. Second of two parts. See part 1: 5 ways to use social media to build a crowd for your event.

Guest post by Tamara Mendelsohn
Director of Marketing, Eventbrite

Social media is becoming an indispensable means of promoting any event these days. Think about what are the best channels to reach your target audience: blog, Twitter, Facebook or something else.

In part 1 we covered five guiding principles on promoting events, from choosing the proper platform and defining success metrics to inviting friends and stakeholders. Below are five more tips that will make your event a success.

Use Twitter to generate buzz and allow your attendees to connect

6Create an event hashtag and promote it. Encouraging dialogue with Twitter hashtags is an excellent way to build buzz around an event. However, it’s important to step in and designate what the event hashtag will be as early in the process as possible (if you don’t, others will do it for you and there will most likely end up being multiple ones, diluting the effect). Then publicize the hashtag in advance across all channels — put it on your registration page, website, and use it in every single one of your Twitter posts.

One conference gave away free tickets to the event through a random drawing from all people who tweeted with their hashtag

Once at the event, plan to promote it repeatedly: in signage, in printed programs, and from the stage. Your goal is to get every tweet about your event to contain your hashtag. The hashtag will aggregate all Twitter conversation around the event and help attendees connect and spread the word. Some events run contests — for example, asking trivia questions on Twitter related to the event topic, and requesting that all responses contain the Twitter hashtag — to get traction for the hashtag early on. TechCrunch50 did a random drawing from all people who tweeted with their hashtag and gave away free tickets to their event.

Engage your attendees with a profile on Twitter

7Create a Twitter profile. Because Twitter is automatically more public than Facebook (you don’t have to be friends with people for them to see your tweets), using a personal profile to promote your event on Twitter is totally acceptable (as opposed to Facebook where you might not want to do that if you reserve your Facebook profile for more personal communication). In fact, attendees might like to see the face behind the event and connect directly with you as the organizer, and Twitter is perfect for this.

However, for larger or frequently recurring events, creating a dedicated Twitter profile is a great way to engage attendees if you have reason to engage with them year-round. Whether it’s your name or the event name in the profile, use it much like the Facebook fan page: to share event information as it unfolds as well as engage with attendees. Continue reading