The future of Event Planning and Social Media

It is amazing how social media has changed the way we live, how we do business and how companies plan their marketing strategies to approach customers in the past few years. While I found Foursquare quite a new and interesting concept, an untapped resource that could be a big trend in the future, I couldn’t agree more with the potential benefits and amazing effects that Social media channels like LinkedIn, My Space, Facebook or Twitter can bring if marketers, especially event planners, PR people know how to exploit the resources to the fullest.

Facebook and Twitter in the Event Planning world – Beyond the sites

Facebook and Twitter are no longer just the sites for friends keeping in touch with each other, posting daily status or for people to update on their celebrities’ latest gossips.

In today’s marketing world in general and event planning or PR in particular, these two social media are valuable and helpful resources are the greatest tools to promote events, attract public attention and interested or potential target market if marketers know how to make the most use of them.

They have the power of spreading words of mouth, posting, sharing and tagging pictures online, which can create the buzz, spreading the information before the events, acting as a moderator during the events and measuring the success and attendees’ feedback after the events. That indirectly helps to build stronger and wider brand awareness by engaging customers with the brands and companies. Many companies have tracked the number of Tweets or Facebook status updates after their events as a mean of measurement for their marketing performance.

Events that are promoted via online social tools and under any similar channel should be planned carefully. If you are considering using social media like Facebook to promote an event, I think the following issues should be considered to get the best results:

  • Organising and inviting: Plan the locations, agendas, the key people that help to make the party, event alive. For example, setting up a Facebook event including all the information about location, time to send to your guest lists. You can project the number of attendees by tracking the numbers of people that confirm their attendance or using a RSVP features.
  • Promotion and distribution: it is important to have as many distribution channels available as possible so that your potential guests or attendees are able to easily find you on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and for business events, LinkedIn is an important channel. I personally think Twitter and Facebook should be primary promotional tools as they are built for spreading messages.
  • Optimize the event for social media sharing: on the event day, it is even more important to make sure that every guest is happy and positive feedback about the event, whether it is a new product launch or a party for VIP members… and that you have optimised your event to create additional buzz. Have high-speed wireless available – this allows people to tweet and converse more easily. Promote following the event’s Twitter account for event updates. For people who cannot attend the event, consider setting up a live stream. Live video services. You don’t have to stream everything – just the good stuff or upload videos to YouTube afterwards.

Youtube or Skype can have the potential as a live broadcasting tool when virtual attendees can experience the event atmosphere online; participate in the activities through an interactive communicating phone application or technologies at the same time of the actual events.

  • Post-event social media communication: it is when everyone leaves the event that the real outcomes show. There’s still more to do to make sure the event leaves a lasting impression, especially if your objective is to build brand awareness and you intend to have future events or an annual one. Regular communication with all the attendees is vital. The web page where users can add their social media contact information is critical at this point, as are the emails you probably have access to. Sending out thank you notes, updates, and information is a wise follow ups. Be sure to promote friending or following your social media accounts. And then, pictures of the events should be uploaded to the Flickr account, videos should be posted on YouTube, information is updated on Facebook, Twitter to generated the largest media attraction.

Good communication is central to the success of any gathering. Even if it’s just a one-time event, keeping in contact with everyone who attended could result in invaluable contacts or lifelong relationships with your customers.

I think modern social media and technologies will be utilised by most marketers and companies, PR, event planners in the future and it will definitely continue to be a growing trend that changes completely the way we live and interact.

LH.

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