Online social networking is a way for friends and family to stay connected over the internet. Earlier, before the Internet became the all pervasive tool, people joined groups wherein the members were bound together by some common interest or characteristic. The idea was to physically meet other people like yourself and broaden your community. Now, the same principle works in the online model, except that it has become much faster and simpler. Now you join a social networking website and invite people you know – family, friends and colleague to join. New members who join, in turn, invite their family, friends and colleague to join, who in turn invite their family, friends and colleague to join, so on and so forth. This creates an extremely interconnected network and in a very short time you have created a community. In the community, you may not know everyone but a text or a link you post, may reach a stranger living 3000 miles away from you.
For businesses, lead generation and improved conversion rates are two of the largest reasons to use social networking to promote your event. By adding social networking to your marketing mix, you can augment your registration numbers. Moreover, posting a link on your networking page is a painless, inexpensive and quick process.
I recently went on a pub-crawl, which was unique, entertaining and a great opportunity to meet new people. This crawl was open for everyone from tourist to locals. The company organizing the crawl did not do much in terms of publicity. They did not create a TV or radio ad nor did they have post an ad or an article in a newspaper or magazine. Despite this lack of publicity, they reach the maximum event limit within days. What the company did do – it posted a short note announcing the crawl on its website and every employee posted a comment or a tweet with a link leading back to the website on his or her social networking account. For example, websites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, LinkedIn were used.
Now wait a minute! Before the skeptics amongst you scoff that only friends and family attended; which would make it a family reunion not an event; let me clarify. Yes, I'm sure that some of the participants were family and friends of organizers, but most of the attendees were people who stumbled onto the link. People who were friends of friends of friends who saw the tweet and also community members' 'fans' who had previously attended an event hosted by the organizer.
Moral of the story, social networking can help generate qualified leads for events. What have you to lose?
So here are a couple of Social Networking marketing strategies that you can employ to increase attendee numbers at your event:
Increase awareness by posting event details on your social networking account: Social networking websites have enormous user databases, for example, Facebook has 101 million users. By posting details about your event on your account, you can increase awareness about your event. If you can add an event link to your post or tweet, you can also direct traffic (interested individuals) to your website. Moreover, the traffic generated will be more relevant than what you would get through typical advertising.
Post event details on multiple social networking accounts: People sign up for networking accounts, the same way they select TVs. Style, usability, attitude and brand come into play. To create awareness among different personality types, you need to post details, comment or tweet about your event on multiple social networking websites. Remember to start commenting and tweeting early to achieve maximum exposure.
LinkedIn and Facebook even have special "Event" sections, wherein everyone connected to you is notified and others outside your group see them when they use key word searches.
To conclude, adding social networking to your marketing mix can translate into real benefits for you and your company. It enables you to build your brand, generate buzz for your event, direct traffic to your website and increase attendance numbers.
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Sandra P White