In this day and age most of us understand that apart from reality there is another life to be lived... online.
Some event organisers utilise social media expertly, using it as a platform or springboard to getting more participants registered & interested but also using it to build relationships with their users.
So we all fall victim to it & witness it everyday, but what exactly are the benefits of social media marketing to our events & how do we understand it's impact?
One of the key aspects of the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc is that the people who engage with your pages are genuinely interested in your event. You can use this to your advantage by promoting all the fantastic things your event offers. Let them know what the route is like, what your finishers tshirts or medals will look like, what grub they can expect at the finish etc etc
Once you build up the amount of people you engage with they will start
asking you general FAQ's about the event. As you answer these publicly,
other people will see the Q & A so they won't have to ask again -
saving you time on the more important parts of event organisation.
Should there be any announcement use this tool to get the word out
there. Word of mouth & referrals have the biggest impact on
increasing participation - give them something to talk about!
This is also your chance to personalise your event and make it more like the event is run by a human not by a bunch of robots :-) Don't be afraid to show a sense of humour, a smile goes a long way.
Build a Community:
You've built a great event & people are here because they know that too. This means you are all like-minded people. Everyone has / had a different experience on race day, so ask how it went for them. What was their favourite part, what would they improve, what was their time, did they travel from afar - There is so much you can ask to the get the conversation started. Get them interacting & mingling, creating a buzz & community feel about the event.
Probably the most important thing for the organiser is to make a buck when it's all over & done with until next year. From a RunIreland point of view, Facebook is our second highest source of referral traffic. Hopefully this means we're doing a good job on it :-) Site traffic is vital for all events & companies to survive. Whenever you add something to it make sure you're linking it from your social media channels. My motto is "if it's new, they'll click through". As I said people engage because they are interested, they want to hear what's happening.
From a merchandise point of view this is priceless. I have some clients who get hardly any engagement or interaction until they upload images of either finishers tshirts, medals, buy-able on the day goods etc. Show them what's on offer before they go to the event. Giving them visuals will instantly catch the eye and create excitement amongst your competitors.
So it's all well & good knowing the benefits of using social media, but how can we measure it's success?
Facebook has a very advanced tracking system in place now which they are developing & upgrading all the time. These "Insights" let us know what our users are clicking on, what age groups they are, where they're from, what's working & what's not. There is also multiple graphs and stats which show your actual growth & your reach. All very handy to keep of track of how you're performing.
One word - Hootsuite. I would highly advise all Twitter users to set up a Hootsuite account. This tool helps you schedule your tweets so you don't have to constantly be logging in to get your message out there. Like the Facebook Insights you can also clearly see what is "favourite-d" & "Re-Tweeted" by your users. There is a free version of Hootsuite & a premium version you can pay for. The free one does fine for me & has all the information I need to know how I'm doing:
Your Entry Form:
This is the big one - All events should have a "where did you hear about this event?" question on their form from a marketing perspective. Be sure to add "Social Media" as one of the possible answers. After all what we want to see is if our marketing efforts, including social media are converting potential participants into runners at the start line!
Thanks for your time in reading this, until next time.
Find us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/runireland
Follow us on Twitter - www.twitter.com/teamrunireland
Endurance Account Manager