It wasn’t that long ago that businesses, organizations, or individuals wishing to host promotional events had to rely on phone calls and paper invitations (sent through the aptly named “snail mail”) to secure a crowd of friends, patrons, clients, or partners (current or potential). This could mean weeks of planning and follow up just to nail down every individual on the guest list (which is necessary in order to plan for seating, food, and so on). These days, things have gotten a lot easier thanks to social media, which allows users to simply send out Evites to everyone on a list and check back periodically for responses (or to send out reminders). But there are also tons of ways to promote an event using social media in order to garner outside interest and potentially increase participation. Here are a few you’ll definitely want to try.
Social networking is the first and best avenue of disseminating information. By posting a message on a Facebook wall, sending out a tweet, or using some other form of social networking, you can easily grab the attention of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of followers. And if they forward the information to their contact lists, the potential to reach new people is practically limitless. So if you’re looking to promote some kind of event, whether for business, personal, or philanthropic reasons, this is certainly the place to start. But you shouldn’t stop there.
You also need to consider blogs and forums as a means of promotion. If you host your own blog, there’s no reason you shouldn’t promote your event on it. Of course, you’re really only likely to reach the same old readers who already support you anyway if you post on your own blog and call it a day. So why not approach related blogs about promoting your event as well? You can go to city pages, industry blogs, and even the on-site blog for the venue that is hosting the event to see about posting flyers or articles highlighting your shindig. Or you could offer them content in exchange for a link back to the event page. There are several ways to go about getting the exposure you crave. And don’t hesitate to post information on any forums you frequent; your colleagues and friends will likely be interested in your event and they may even help to promote it.
Finally, you can think about using online ads for promotion, although you may have to cough up some dough to do it. If you use an ad-sharing service, simply provide them with a custom advertisement for your event. Or if you already pay for online ads, you could easily do the same. However, you might also send an email blast to your contact list, pony up for ads via online TV and radio feeds, or even save a little cash by launching a viral video campaign. With click-through, you may actually be able to see some of the results of these types of advertising.
Whether you’re hosting an event with corporate entertainment in mind, you’re trying to raise money for charity, or you’re simply hyping a block party, the ways in which you can use social media as a means of promotion are only limited by your own imagination. Of course, you still have to plan a party with food and entertainment, but the hors d’oeuvres and acrobats can wait; first you need to get people in the door, and social media is a great way to do it.