As daredevil tightrope walker Nik Wallenda gracefully completed his 450-foot passage across the Chicago River – 600-feet in the air – it was estimated that about 50,000 spectators gathered in downtown Chicago to watch the nail-biting event.
While crossing between two skyscrapers on a wire that is about the size of a nickel and picking up two world records doing it, is of course, an accomplishment in itself. What was really exciting, from social media marketing perspective, was the conversation online and the publicity surrounding the spectacle. It generated media coverage from around-the-world and dominated the conversation on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Offline events can inspire social media conversations.
Let’s take Nik Wallenda’s event and turn it into a lesson for business owners. While it is not recommend for just anyone to attempt daredevil acts, there are many opportunities for almost any type of business to create unique, value-based events to help promote their brand both offline and online.
The most important factor when planning any type of event is to consider the value proposition for your attendees. Ultimately, it is not about what your attendees can do for you but rather what you are providing for them. Think about it, you don’t want to go to networking event that is only in favor of one business, it has to have something in it for everyone. A good rule of thumb is simply ask, would this be something I would want to attend?
Events that almost any size and type of business could create:
- A meetup surrounding a topic of expertise
- An open house of a unique space or business (Doesn’t have to be your business)
- A networking event
- Product launch of a cool an innovative product
- Free webinar, Google Hangout on a specific topic, tactics or strategy
- A conference related to an industry or emerging trend
- A concert or other high-entertainment event
The events listed above provide a range based on size and cost. There is most likely at least one concept that your business could do right now and virtually spend no money to execute it. Meetups, webinars and networking events are often are low cost to create and you might even be able to leverage your existing employees to help as presenters or simply as organizers.
Please keep in mind, even the most creative events can flop without proper planning and promotion. If the event is not such a success on the first run, do it again and continue to think of ways to provide value for attendees that will make them want to attend.
Create ways encourage interaction with other attendees promote online sharing:
A great event is one that sparks ideas, provides knowledge or makes new connections either in-person or on social media. Facilitating an event, specially a meetup or a networking event comes with the responsibility of managing the conversation. When hosting an event, think about ways to connect attendees so they find that value.
Most importantly, create opportunities for users to want to share content on their own social media channels and encourage them to do so. If holding an in-person networking, conference or entertainment event, create a faux red carpet with a step-and-repeat banner and have someone available to take photos of attendees using their camera phone. These types of “crowd attractions” are a sure bet to be shared on social media networks and will help create buzz surrounding your event and brand.
In summary, events can be a great way to promote your brand online. Even just the practice of promoting the upcoming event gives opportunities for brand awareness and links to your website and social media profiles. For business owners who feel they have nothing to share on social networks, events provide content to promote through your company curated social media channels while also encouraging your guests to share content on their own profiles to extend the reach of your brand.
Any suggestions for events that you think are great for social media marketing?