The ultimate goal when organizing a corporate event is to ensure the people you want to attend will be there. With people leading increasingly busy lives together with likely competing events, it is crucial that you get your event on prospective attendees’ calendars as soon as possible. The traditional ‘save the date’ methods, including direct mail, newspaper and media have long been a successful way of drawing attention to events. While these can certainly be effective, these forms of marketing campaigns can be extremely expensive and are becoming less relevant as alternative methods come to the forefront. Some worthy alternatives in the form of social media outlets, which, together with being quicker and more cost efficient, are increasingly more effective in reaching audiences in today’s world.
With today’s increasingly changing ways of working and a greater reliance on electronic methods of communication, other ways to notify prospective attendees of upcoming events need to be explored.
The growing importance of social media in event marketing is reflected in recent survey results. Research on ‘The State of Event Marketing’ (Constant Content, 2012) showed that over three quarters of respondents regarded social media as either very important or somewhat important as part of their event promotion activities. Respondents, who were composed of 474 event marketers, were also questioned about the reasons for utilizing social media to get word out about the event. The ability to reach more people (66.12%), attracting new (and more) attendees to events (62.91%) and driving word of mouth about events (57.76%) was key goals that respondents were looking to achieve.
There are a variety of social media outlets that can assist in getting attendees to save the date for your event. This includes the business orientated LinkedIn which is an excellent way of connecting with people from a specific field together with spreading news of your corporate event. It is possible via LinkedIn to target potential event attendees by searching job titles and industries in order to ensure you attract the attention of people who would find the event particularly relevant.
With over 800million users worldwide (Facebook, 2012), Facebook remains the most popular of all social networks. Primarily used for personal social networking, Facebook can also be of great benefit to event marketers when used effectively in raising awareness of the dates of upcoming events. By setting up a dedicated page you can also provide additional information about the event and answer queries. The social element of Facebook has added benefits in that prospective attendees can network before, during and after the event by being able to see who else is attending.
Twitter is a particularly exciting way of raising awareness of your event; create a specific event-related Twitter account providing basic information together with regular interesting news updates. The use of an event hash tag and requesting people to re-tweet can result in significant numbers of people accessing your Twitter site. Reach greater volumes of people by encouraging them to spread the word through offering a special deal or giveaway to a lucky re-tweeter. Twitter uses increasingly utilize this outlet as a way of contacting companies with simple queries; encourage your followers to make use of this by posting questions about your event and being sure to respond to any posts quickly.
Email is another popular method by which prospective attendees can be notified of the event. The vast majority of potential event attendees now have their own business email address meaning you can notify them of upcoming events instantly through the click of a button. Through a small amount of research on companies’ websites, email addresses of key industry players can be found. Also, professional organizations maintain a list of their members’ emails, which can be accessed by relevant event organizers. The initial email can provide basic information on the event together with a link to the event website in order to find out more. The snowball effect of email event marketing should not be underestimated: be sure to include a request to forward the email on to others who may potentially be interested.
To fully take advantage of social media when marketing an event and issuing save the date reminders, event marketers should consider a fully integrated approach. The various social media outlets are invariably interlinked with for example what you tweet on twitter being seen on Facebook. By opting for this comprehensive strategy you will be able to notify audiences on all platforms of the event.
Furthermore using social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter means you are not restricted to one initial ‘save the date’ notification. Indeed, the use of social media in corporate event marketing means you can undertake a comprehensive and cost effective process of marketing resulting in numerous forms of saving the date. For example, regularly updating your event’s Facebook page with information regarding speakers and offers can ensure continued interest in the event.
The Use of Social Media Post-Event
Social media is clearly an increasingly valuable option when deciding on event save the date ideas. However, its value in corporate event marketing is not limited to the run up to an event; when used as an intrinsic part of event planning, the various social media outlets can continue to be of value even when the physical event has ended. Respondents to ‘The State of Event Marketing’ (Constant Content, 2012) highlighted the importance of getting feedback from event attendees (65%) and obtaining repeat event attendees (57.62%) as important goals that can be achieved through social media.
The growing influence of social media in everyday life presents many opportunities for save the date ideas that are far more creative and far-reaching than traditional methods. The only cost involved in using these methods is the time taken to set up and maintain the information. By taking advantage of outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, event marketers are able to reach increasing numbers of potential attendees in a far quicker and cost effective manner.