Do you run events for your small business? Trending by Beatrice Whelan is the handbook you need.
This year has been the first in five years that I’ve not been involved in running an event. For almost five years I was involved in the KLCK bloggers network, for three Blog Awards Ireland and last year, we ran a small event for food bloggers in Dublin.
Beatrice Whelan was a co-conspirator in two of these projects so when she asked me to contribute to her book on Social Media for events I was excited to do so.
‘Trending – The Complete Guide To Social Media For Events’* was published in July and Beatrice sent me a copy as a thank-you for my contribution.
Social media, digital marketing and events go hand in hand. In most cases your social media plan is going to be a crucial part of your event success. It can help you sell tickets, add value to sponsors and builds buzz on the day.
I’ve always relied heavily on digital marketing for event promotion but at times my approach has been somewhat haphazard. That’s where Beatrice’s book comes in.
If you read nothing else in this book read the first two chapters. It will help you focus on your event promotion and getting your message out to the right people. Beatrice dives straight into strategy. She talks about the importance of research, takes us through creating our values proposition and choosing the right channels for promotion.
The second chapter is on measurement. This is something so many businesses fail at. We talk anecdotally about our successes but unless we’re measuring we don’t know what is working, we don’t see what is important. Knowing the answers to these questions can save us time and energy in the future.
It’s very easy to just measure sales, and of course ticket sales and sponsors are important. However ‘brand awareness’ shouldn’t be a dirty word. We need to nurture our audiences rather than seeing them as a single use community. Build a loyal following now and they will not just attend your first event but shout about it to others.
“Short term sales are not more important than medium term brand sentiment and affinity.”
Event content strategy should fall into three segments. ‘Before’, ‘During’ and ‘After. if you listened to my recent podcast recording with Beatrice she talks you through these segments in detail.
Each phase varies as the context in which people interact with your event changes. Someone reading a blog post sitting at their desk before an event has very different needs to someone keeping up with the Twitter stream during your event.
The benefit to the event organiser also changes at each stage. Before the event we need to sell tickets. During the event we want to ensure that we create an online buzz that will attract new people to our brand. Afterwards we want to keep the momentum going so that people will want to attend our next event.
The War Room
As a small event organiser I couldn’t help but get excited about the idea of a war-room. A place occupied by key marketing stakeholders during an event. It’s tasked with monitoring, engaging and creating content. It was a war-room that was responsible for the still famous ‘Dunking in the dark’ tweet from Oreo during the Super Bowl in 2015.
For smaller events this usually consists of one person, maybe two, a couple of iPhones and a camera. I’d love to get inside one of these corporate war-rooms and see how content gets created and monitored in real time.
Social media channels
The rest of the book takes you step by step through the social media channels you may want to use for your event. Beatrice shares her own experiences from events she’s run and suggests other creative ideas that you can use as part of your content schedule.
I contributed to the section on social media advertising. I’m in good company, other experts sharing their knowledge include Michael Stelzner from Social Meida Examiner, Ian Cleary from RazorSocial and Chealsea Hunersen from Hubspot.
The subtitle for the book is ‘The Complete Guide To Social Media For Events’ and this is exactly what it is. This isn’t a one time read, it’s a reference book that you should have on your shelf and refer to everytime you start planning an event, big or small. Pick up your copy from Amazon*.
Win a copy
Beatrice has very kindly given me a copy of the book to giveaway. Details in the Facebook post below
*Affiliate link – I get a small cut of sales if you buy after clicking this link