Monday, July 27, 2009

Social Media & Event Marketing Part IV: Video, Pictures, Presentations

There are a myriad of other Social Media platforms that can be used in the course of Event Marketing; previous posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were a look at the larger Social Media sites driven by community. There are also portals which provide plenty of opportunity to make your Event Marketing initiatives to viral – and which should be used to work hand-in-hand with the above sites – to build a well-rounded environment to attract and convert prospect and retain and engage attendees, enhancing your overall Event Marketing initiatives:

Blogging: There are a variety of options in this area, including WordPress and Blogger. There are enough articles debating the merit of using each one, but from what I have read & understand, WordPress is suggested for corporate blogs. (I originally signed onto the Blogger and have not had issue to switch.) There is, of course, also the option of a proprietary blog, pending your internal resources.

Presentation sharing: the SlideShare portal affords the opportunity to upload and share a variety of documents – PowerPoint, OpenOffice and Apple Keynote presentations, Microsoft Office Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, iWork pages and PDFs. While you of course do not want to give away an entire presentation's worth of content prior to an event, much like a pre-event Webinar (see below) this is an avenue by which to show off the great content you are providing attendees through summarized presentations. You can also set up SlideShare to share documents with a proprietary set of individuals, for example to be used for onsite or post-event sharing. This is also a great opportunity to share presentations for sponsorship marketing initiatives.

Photo and Videos: Flickr and YouTube have exploded in popularity for photo and video sharing (Flickr handles both). Onsite pictures and videos of networking, keynotes/presentations, etc. certainly fall into the “a picture is worth a thousand words” category in communicating the feel and value of an event. As video is dynamic, it can (and has) been used in a couple of ways – both as a produced video creating buzz about an event, as seen for in TED event clip, and providing content, as the Gartner video demonstrates. In either scenario, brevity is important, keeping the viewer engaged and showing the depth and breadth of the event with either tactic is the goal. And of course ... do wind up with a call to action!

The real key to success to all of this is planning and execution: integrating the above, plus the previously discussed channels, into an overall Event Marketing communications strategy and stream. Specifically, you need to ensure there are plans and people in place to link and integrate video, blogs and pictures from your event Facebook and LinkedIn pages, that team members are tweeting about these, and that these links are prominent on the Event Web site. As well, links and call-outs should be included in your traditional direct marketing channels when utilized (email and direct mail), encouraging prospects to engage and follow wherever possible. This also provides the benefit of these communications shifting form a straight push for event attendance to promoting the Social Media option as this becomes part of the marketing mix.

And as previously discussed, a secondary element will be leveraging the communities built post-event – scheduling and executing regular discussions, blogs, notes, etc. – to ensure the attendee (and prospects) are, in fact, part of an ongoing and thriving network, not individuals on a promotional cycle spoken to in the context of a campaign. In short, work to utilize Social Media as the unique tool set leverage your Event Marketing prowess.

Good luck!


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