This concise paper outlines a strategy and provides specific details on how to leverage Digital - including Social Media - to plan and execute events. (And to fill seats.) Ideas are provided for planning, promoting, during, and post-event. Note: If you are interested in our white paper on using presentation technology (such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, etc), please reach out to us directly. This paper focuses on the planning/execution/marketing.
While there is some truth to the statement, too often these tools are used opportunistically, with little return on the effort. This is even more true today when so many meetings are delivered virtually. Yet, what is the alternative? Hint: it's not to avoid using the tools, but rather to use them strategically, with specific intent through the stages of plan, promotion, during, and post-event.
How are event themes, speakers and educational tracks determined at your association? Usually this is delegated to a committee composed of volunteers, staff and perhaps trusted advisors. If the committee chooses the right combination for the program, the perceived value of the event, and the attendance, the event rises. If the committee makes the wrong choice, your event is in trouble.
While it may seem risky to ask members directly, using social media tools to reach out to members and other potential attendees can generate buzz, collect data, and enhance affinity. People are more likely to attend if they have a say in setting the agenda. How to do this? Conduct an online survey on key issues in the industry, asking about preferred topics and soliciting speaker recommendations. Or solicit feedback in a zoom focus group. Or start up discussions in a forum or blog. Blogs have the advantage that they are automatically syndicated across the Internet, spreading awareness even farther. Your planning committee can consider the feedback when making its decisions. The data can validate great decisions — and help avoid bad ones.
One of the basic tenets of digital marketing is that instead of being broadcast from one point, a message should be designed so readers can pass it on. Consider these ideas:
A word about the online registration process: The user interface for the process is too often designed by programmers, not marketers. While making it easy to transact is the primary goal, the opportunity to build in social media functionality — tell-a-friend, up-selling, cross-selling, access to “private” content and discussion groups — should not be overlooked. The most powerful promoter for your event is someone who has just made a purchase. Why not generate a testimonial just after a transaction by asking why the registrant decided to attend the event.
Digital (and Social media) can play five important roles during a conference:
Their methodologies have depth and are effective. We get exceptional value for every dollar spent.
We're pretty deep into it, but in an hour and half I learned six or seven things that I just didn't know before.
I learned 7 or 8 killer ideas that I need to put into action right away.