Continued from “Review: The Calgary Women’s Show (Part 2 of 3)“
Note: These are my own thoughts and ideas on how social media was executed based on my experience live tweeting the event and the limited knowledge I had about the event before attending. This post is meant as a discussion item only and to provide thought for others looking to leverage social media tools for their event.
Digging a little deeper… what improvements can be made?
A successful social media campaign is a two part process… especially if your intention is to drive traffic to your website. A solid outline of your expectations is needed prior to embarking upon any campaign to give you some clear direction as to where it is you want to go. With clear direction, the uses of the tools, the placement of ‘sharing’ buttons, and the networks to engage all become more obvious. Once you have established these fundamentals, then it’s time to dive in. Except diving in doesn’t just mean starting a Facebook group and hoping for the best. It means taking a long, hard look at your current mix and seeing where social media efforts can support what you’re already doing. It also means evaluating your website. If your website isn’t up to snuff to begin with, the chances of a successful campaign decrease significantly.
I see some gaps and areas of improvement for the Calgary Women’s Show to use social media and the web as they are today. The first disconnect is that they are trying to create community and do something viral at the same time. Which, to me, are two completely different goals. If you’re trying to create buzz, you don’t care as much about getting people to become fans of your Facebook page or follow your Twitter account as you do about how many people were driven to your Facebook page, how many people retweeted information about the event or used the event hashtag and how this impacted attendance, awareness and ticket sales.
It’s also a difference of short term vs. long term strategy. In the short term, you want buzz, you want viral. In the long term, you want to build a community of fans and followers who will then share your information with their networks. You can use buzz to build up community of course, but that requires thinking about how the buzz will sustain the community in the long term. How can you keep that momentum going? That’s something you should have at least thought a lot about before you start creating buzz.
Short Term: Improving the ‘buzz’ component for the Calgary Women’s Show
Below are suggestions for improvements I think could be made to enhance the buzz at the next show.
- Add sharing buttons to the website. There is no way to ‘tell a friend’ about the Calgary Women’s Show on http://www.calgarywomensshow.com. Go to addthis.com or sharethis.com. Adding these buttons is simple and a great way to let people who are already on your site tell their networks about it (and they’re free and give you some statistics about what’s being shared and where).
- When someone purchases a ticket, give them the option to tell friends they’re attending. It’s the same principal as the one above, just at a different point (tip: using amiando.com for your event coordination and ticket selling has a lot of these features already built in).
- Make the hashtag more apparent so people can tag it if they’re writing blog posts or tweets about the event.
- Encourage users to share their thoughts on Twitter by doing a draw for anyone who has a tweet using the correct event hashtag.
- Send out a Twitter promo code, and give anyone who heard about the event on Twitter a 10% discount or a special gift or something at the door.
- Put the information about the show front and center. When I looked at the front page I had no idea who was speaking, who was exhibiting, what to expect, etc. Chances are if people are hearing about the Calgary Women’s Show through online methods, they’re going to want to find out what’s going on, when it is… and fast. Right now, I think they’d follow my lead – look at the front page… not see any links… and leave. So some fine tuning on layout, site architecture, etc. may be something to look at before driving a lot of traffic.
Long Term: Building a Sustainable Community
- Show attendees and other target audiences (in 140 characters or less) the benefit of joining your fan page or following you on Twitter. What is it that they’re going to get out of it? Where’s the value?
- Educate attendees on gaining more value from the Calgary Women’s Show at other times of the year. Set up a booth near the front to give people ‘free social media training’. I bet many of them still don’t know what Twitter is or how they can use it. Tell them. And show them that Facebook isn’t just for their sons and daughters. Find the value they could get from it, and then tell them about it. And continue to engage them from now until the next show.
- Give them access to the exhibitors in case they want to go back and find them, whether they sign into a special section of the website using their Twitter ID or their Facebook account or they get to use a special promo code for future purchases with exhibitors, give them the added bang for their buck for keeping up with The Calgary Women’s Show outside of show time. And add links to the websites of all exhibitors on the website.
- Encourage exhibitors to start using social media as well. If the show is using it, and many of the exhibitors are too, it will enhance the community.
Can you think of anything else that would increase the success of using social media for such an event? Have you seen it used successfully elsewhere? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to drop me a comment below.