Getting Social with Your Meeting or Event by Kevin Kowalczyk

Thank you to my friend, Kevin, who recently wrote this article about social media. Kevin is a social media expert.

If you’re finally getting familiar with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare but feel clueless about how to use them for your meeting or event, here are some great examples.

1. Create a custom hash tag (#) on Twitter for your meeting so that attendees (and even non-attendees) can discuss before, during and after the event. This will encourage communication, attendance and energize your audience.

2. Take questions via social media during presentations. You can have a moderator read the questions to the speaker or allow them to pick and choose the questions or comments to discuss themselves. This can eliminate the awkward microphone runners. It was used effectively at the last Meetings Industry Council of Colorado (MIC) conference during one session where it even allowed people who weren’t physically at the conference to be involved and make comments to the audience.

3. Make it informational. Social media is not a place to hard-sell your services. Look at VISIT DENVER. They promote every imaginable event in the city and have made their Facebook page the place to go to find out what there is to do in the Denver. Be sure to think about what your audience is interested in and give them information about those topics.

4. Don’t forget about YouTube! The Denver Center for the Performing Art’s YouTube channel has video previews of their upcoming shows, announcements of events and even a monthly video series to generate excitement and help sell tickets. Why not create a video promoting your event or conference? It can even just be a slideshow of pictures from last year’s event with narration.

5. The Rocky Mountain Arts Association used Facebook to sell tickets for their annual gala. Post a Facebook only special with discounted ticket prices to encourage early ticket sales.

6. FourSquare.com probably has the quickest growing audience of all social media outlets. It allows you to “check in” to locations, give tips and see who else is at the same location. Why not use it to encourage your participants to visit multiple trade show booths at your conference and give away prizes to the attendees who visit the most booths?

7. Use Facebook to promote a new property or company. Look at Four Seasons Denver. They went from zero to 500 fans in three short months talking about the construction of the hotel and showing lots of pictures illustrating the progress.

8. It’s all about the pictures! A photo really is worth 1,000 words in the social media world. Be sure to include lots of photos of past events to give people a real idea of what to expect. To generate even more excitement, you can tweet pictures live from your event and tease those who couldn’t make it with photos of what they are missing.

9. Use social media to poll your audience before, during and after your meeting to get honest, real-time feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get feedback.

10. If you’re not already using a scheduling software to send your social media posts, start. There are sites like HootSuite or SocialOomph where you set up posts in advance and schedule exactly when you’d like them to be posted. They also allow you to go to one place to post on different social media sites at the same time.

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