Harnessing Social Media in Event Planning
Apr 19, 2010

Event management is progressing as quickly as technology itself is, with hosted software, portable devices, and Web 2.0 tools changing the way we organize, communicate, and execute events.


In this article we'd like to signal the importance of harnessing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for amplifying the conversations that are taking place before, during and after your event.


Events are essentially excuses to bring people together. The specific reasons can be as limitless as the different kinds of events themselves, but the essential reason is that bringing people together creates energy. It creates energy around a cause, a product, a company initiative, an idea. But all the websites and media in the world can't produce the same kind of energy as a live, in-person exchange with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other people brought together with a common purpose. A phone conversation usually has more effect than an email exchange, and an in-person meeting usually has more impact than a phone conversation.


In this respect social media can't compete with direct person-to-person exchanges, but they can amplify the energy that's generated. We can think of social media sites as ways of making the ripples reach even farther and last even longer than they would in an event without additional communication tools.


When thinking about your event, think of all the ways that you can harness social media—not just to spread the word about an event, but to deepen, inform and create more openings for the conversations that you want to generate in your event.


A great way of doing this is by creating openings at key moments of your event planning for social media users to participate.


  • Before your event you might want to take suggestions for session topics, or conduct polls on people's interest levels in potential themes or speakers, or offer prizes or free registrations as a way of getting the ball rolling and piquing people's interest and awareness about your event.
  • During your event you might want to create social media "zones" with Wi Fi and screens that enable people to see and/or participate in the conversations taking place around the event itself. Many people might send tweets or post comments on Facebook while they're attending. Many people who couldn't attend might want following the event on these feeds.
  • After you event consider surveying your attendees via Twitter or Facebook, driving user traffic to your website and asking for input on how it went. You might want to offer suggestions for follow-up conversations based on session panels, and even create forums or discussion groups on your website that social media users can follow.


When selecting an event management system, be sure to check whether you'll have the capabilities to link your event marketing and communications to social media. DW Event's hosted event management suite offers easy social media stickiness with our online event websites with a complete content management system (CMS) that is compatible with portable devices and automatically connects to your social media accounts.


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