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Extending Your Audience Through Social Media

William Thomson of Gallus Events attended our last Masterclass about social media and its use within the events industry. Here is his view on the medium:

I attended an excellent QEII Masterclass recently and it was interesting to hear the mixed views and different experiences of those event organisers gathered in the room. There’s nothing better than being in a conference room packed with delegates, split approx. 50/50 in terms of their ultimate belief in the power of Social Media. When it comes to using Social Media in your events I was once a sceptic. But no more and hopefully what’s below will explain why.

I love sceptics, the non-believers, those who think and try before they leap: the world would be a rather messy, haphazard place without them. But to the same extent the world we live in would be rather boring if it wasn’t full of people who see something positive and useful in EVERY new development.

Where Social Media fits in the marketing mix

As an event marketer it’s clear to me that for most of my clients (especially in the association and not for profit world) the majority of their bookings are directly generated from their member / customer / stakeholder database. They are still emailing that list, hopefully targeting as they go, and this tactic is still filling the majority of their places. They are placing adverts in the relevant journals and taking banner space on line. So in summary most event businesses are doing very much what they’ve been doing for the last ten years. The point I’d like to emphasise is that they shouldn’t stop doing any of this. Keep the faith and keep up the good traditional marketing work. But crucially you have to find time for Social Media in your marketing mix.

Why Social Media has to be part of your mix

Social Media has to be integrated into your approach for marketing your events and here are 10 reasons why:

1. There are already many stories of a significant amount of people booking on to events via Social Media

2. Social Media allows you to communicate with an interested audience who may be outside your database

3. Some of those engaged in Social Media may not be visiting websites or reading the journal you advertise in

4. It allows you to benefit from the ‘peer’ effect. If someone you know and trust is attending that is a strong motive in any buying decision

5. Social Media allows your messages to have an incredible reach at a very low cost – crucial in raising attendance

6. Most Social Media is searchable and in real time. Social Media leads are HOT

7. A smart use of Social Media can add value to your speakers and delegates by for example pointing out pre reading and further information

8. Social Media can add value to your sponsors and exhibitors by allowing them to communicate with the audience involved in your event

9. Using Social Media at your event can demonstrate to a large community the value of attending (and crucially why they should attend F2F) next year

10. Social Media enables you to easily ‘use’ other stakeholders in marketing your event

As you will agree not only are all of the above crucial to extending your event attendance but all of them come at the cost of time rather than money and with more strain on marketing budgets that is exceptionally welcome.

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