Thought Leadership

Social Media for Event Planners

This concise paper outlines a strategy and provides specific details on how to leverage Social Media to plan and execute events. (And to fill seats.) Ideas are provided for planning, promoting, during, and post-event.


Social Media for Event Planners

Filling the seats and delivering value without wasting your time

By Randall M. Craig

Today’s conventional wisdom is that if you’re not Twittering, YouTubing, Facebooking, and LinkingIn your annual conference, you’ve missed the boat. While this is for the most part true, the excitement of using the new tools can get in the way of applying them productively. In this article, we review practical ways to use social media for your event – planning it, promoting it, delivering it and after it’s over.

Planning the Event

How are event themes, speakers and educational tracks determined at your association? Usually this is delegated to a committee composed of volunteers, staff and perhaps trusted advisors. If the committee chooses the right combination for the program, the perceived value of, and attendance at, the event rises. If the committee makes the wrong choice, your event is in trouble.

While it may seem risky to ask members directly, using social media tools to reach out to members and other potential attendees can generate buzz, collect data, and enhance affinity. People are more likely to attend if they have a say in setting the agenda. How to do this? Conduct an online survey on key issues in the industry, asking about preferred topics and soliciting speaker recommendations. Or start up discussions in a forum or blog. Blogs have the advantage that they are automatically syndicated across the Internet, spreading awareness even farther.

Your planning committee can consider the feedback when making its decisions. The information will validate great decisions — and help avoid bad ones.

Promoting the Event

One of the basic tenets of Web marketing is that instead of being broadcast from one point, a message should be designed so readers can pass it on. Consider these ideas…

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