Increasing Attendance with Social Media

Your special event is planned. Now, the critical question is – how do you  increase your attendance?

Everyone points to the benefits of social media to drive your attendance. Social media is a vehicleyou use to enact your strategy. You can increase the value of your special event by integrating social media into your marketing strategy.

But, before you develop your strategy, ask yourself these questions developed by Stacey Ruth, a marketing consultant with Atlanta-based Actio Marketing :

  1. Are your attendees active in any of the social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or blogs/forums)?
  2. Do you have an awareness problem, and are you trying to reach large number of attendees quickly (and perhaps inexpensively)?
  3. Do you have someone on your team with enough time on their hands to populate a social media site effectively? (That means building content that can be pushed out every day in most cases.)
  4. Do you have knowledge (or access to someone with knowledge) of best practices for the social media platform you want to apply? Social media is not an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. There is a definite approach to each social network that is uniquely effective — and any number of approaches that are equally ineffective!
  5. Would you like to build an extended life to your event and create a community around it? 

If you answered yes to more than one of the above questions, social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, is worth integrating into your event marketing strategy. However, don’t overlook the value of tried-and-true ‘social media’ platforms including Word Of Mouth marketing or WOMM.

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), is an unpaid form of oral or written promotion—in which satisfied “customers” or your organization’s ambassadors tell other people how much they like your nonprofit and invite them to participate in your event. Word-of-mouth is one of the most credible forms of advertising because people who don’t stand to gain personally by promoting something put their reputations on the line every time they make a recommendation, according to Entrepreneur.

Bottom line – know your audiences before you invest the time and energy as part of your event marketing strategy. Use your social media strategy as a way to involve your board and volunteers.

Any questions about specific social media vehicles to use for your event? Be sure and contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.

An additional gift – Meeting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg

Eizenstat Family welcome Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2nd from right) and Martin Ginsburg (2nd from left). Photo credit: Mary Mahon-Fardis

You’ve heard me talk about how much work goes into planning and executing events. This is a given. But, there are added gifts beyond knowing you are helping make a difference for your organization’s clients.

This blog started with lessons learned from Al Gore. I met and worked with Gore and his staff when he was in Atlanta for the 21stEizenstat Family Memorial Lecture.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of working with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when she was the featured speaker at the Eizenstat Lecture. What an honor.

A major donor appreciation dinner was held the night before the lecture. Accompanying Justice Ginsburg was her husband Martin Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer and professor in his own right.

Learning of Martin Ginsburg’s death earlier this morning brought back a flood of memories and a realization that I was in the company of not one, but two incredible people willing to share their time and knowledge.

That brief encounter from “strangers in the road” taught me more about humility and gave me a deep appreciation for their supportive relationship.

May your life be for a blessing Martin Ginsburg.

The Rule of One – Planning Al Gore Event

A Full House at the Eizenstat Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore. Photo Credit Chris Savas

A Full House at the Ahavath Achim Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore. Photo Credit Chris Savas

The key to a successful event is planning. One of the first steps is goal-setting.

Goals establish the scope of an event and help the event team set priorities and stay focused. They are the basis for benchmarking progress along the way.

Remember the Rule of One – You can only have one top priority. You need to be specific about what your number one priority is and what goals go along with that. You can have secondary or auxiliary goals as well, but only one main focus.” – Jeff Shuck, Event 360, Inc.

Non-profit events focus on raising money or awareness. Once you establish your primary goal, be sure it is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Metrics help you measure your outcomes. And, each goal has its own set. Possible money metrics include, total funds raised, ROI, or an increase in revenue from the last special event.

Raising awareness metrics include the number of new participants and/or volunteers, media impressions or increased name recognition.

Once the goal is set it should guide your budget, timeline, promotions and sponsorships.

The focus of  the Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore was to increase awareness.

Was the event successful? Absolutely!

“This year’s Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture raised the bar even higher for future AA events. We plan to reach those heights and beyond.”  – Ahavath Achim Synagogue President

I hope this post helps guide your focus and leads to success in your next special event.

Lessons from Al Gore

“If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go!”

Honorable Al Gore addresses 21st Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. Photo credit Chris Savas

Honorable Al Gore addresses 21st Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture. Photo credit Chris Savas

What sage advise from the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.

There is an old African proverb that says, “if you want to go quickly go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

We have to go far, quickly. – Al Gore

My next post describes the planning and execution of the 21st Annual Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring The Honorable Al Gore. More than 3000 people joined us for this extraordinary evening.

The success was the result of planning, planning & more planning to figure out which way we were going.

So, please join me so we can figure out how to go far, quickly — together.