For the past two years, everywhere you turn there is someone talking about social media and how they can be applied to business. Companies jump into the social media world every day, leveraging tools like Facebook, Twitter, Quora, YouTube, FourSquare, Gowalla, Vimeo, etc.
While it’s good to see companies taking that big leap forward, building online communities and strengthening relationships with their customers, few events are embracing social media and the tremendous power they offer. As I talk to event owners and directors, it’s clear to me that the vast majority understands that social media are incredibly important, but they aren’t sure where to start.
I always suggest starting in two places: Facebook and Twitter. While it’d be easy to write a book on both platforms and how they can best be used to grow event registration numbers, here are three simple tips to get you started when building your Twitter community:
1. Don’t Advertise – Have you ever been around someone who only talks of themselves, never asks you questions, never lets you get your opinions in? It’s annoying, right? Well it feels exactly the same when you are following someone on Twitter who only promotes his or her product or event.
Social media platforms are important for marketing your event, but they should be used to connect with consumers, build a relationship with them, then inform them about your event and what it can offer them. A good rule of thumb is that for every 10-15 posts you make on Twitter, post one regarding your event.
Don’t advertise; rather educate, inform and entertain.
2. Start Conversations – While many might think the most powerful tool on the web is Facebook or Google, I firmly believe that Twitter search is the most powerful. The search bar at the top of your Twitter page allows you to search for any term(s) you might deem important to your event. If you put on a running race in Chicago, you can search “Chicago running” or “run Chicago” and a list of people that are talking about Chicago running will come up.
When you use the search function, you are given the opportunity to reach out and start conversations with people. Answer questions people have that are relevant to your industry. Ask people that have similar interests their thoughts on certain matters.
Begin conversations, join conversations and develop relationships with those that might find interest in your event.
3. Share Content – If you ever wondered what people use Twitter for, it might be easy to assume that users just post random thoughts on their lives. However, Twitter is the biggest content sharing tool on the web, meaning people use it to consume information. If you have a blog, if you find good articles that pertain to your event’s industry, or bits of information that can be helpful to your customer, share them with your community.
The more information you share, the more you become the go-to source for information.
Like anything worth doing well, it takes time and commitment to build a Twitter following. However, the more you invest, the more you’ll get out of it. This past year, an event group I work with, the Chicago Trail Series, started embracing Twitter. Through a little bit of research, it was determined that 12% of our registrants found out about us through Twitter, and we engaged with all of them at some point before the event (answered their questions, had conversations with them, etc.).
The power of Twitter is increasing daily, but most events are still missing the enormous opportunity that is lying in front of them. Embrace Twitter, engage your current and potential customers and build a community that you’re proud of.