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Using Social Media for Event Marketing

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Twitter, Facebook, MySpace: These are just a few of the growing number of online social communities out there on the web. These are great places to make friends and keep in touch with old ones but there is also a growing consensus that social media sites have great marketing value that can be leveraged to advertise your event or business.

Just imagine...let's say you organise a marathon...there are thousands of online communities out there where people gather every day to discuss running tips, conditioning routines, the events they have completed and the events that they are thinking of registering for. This is exactly the audience you want to market your event to! The trick is to find a way make a presence for yourself in these groups and generate a following of your own.

Most of these sites do not offer conventional advertising opportunities for businesses. Let's face it, if you are going to talk with your friends and discuss your favorites hobbies, you do not want to be barraged with pop up windows and tile advertisements. Social media sites generally do not offer advertising space because they know they will lose visitors and the number of visitors they have is the number one indication of how popular they are, which in turn will recruit more users.

So here's the key to marketing your event to these groups of enthusiasts: become another member of the group! Simply immerse yourself in the group and interact with them. Share training tips, provide useful and valuable feedback to the topic of conversation in the forum, and post videos that would be of interest to community members. For all your postings, include the name of your event and link to your event website in your signature. The key is to advertise subtly. Rather than yell and shout about how great your event is, make some friends and then in the process post a few photos of your event from last year, talk about other events in the area and mention you have your own, offer some free merchandise with your event logo on it...before you know it, one person will tell another, then that person will tell someone else. All of the sudden, there is a buzz in the community and people are reaching out to you for more information about your event and where they can go to learn more.

While in theory this looks quite easy to do, it can be challenging to break into an established community and not come off as a spammer or strictly a salesperson. But if done right, social media marketing can be an extremely inexpensive and effective method deploying the best type of advertising: word of mouth.