Create A Buzz After Your Next Event

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From organizations hosting networking happy hours to start-ups throwing launch parties, promotional events seem to be happening everywhere. I’ve attended a few recently, and couldn’t help but think about how much work picking a venue, assembling a guest list, and reserving a date & time went into these things. I realized that the work doesn’t stop there; to have a successful promotional event, you have to make sure your organization, company, or project is actually being promoted (and not just handing out free drinks). So how do you do it?

If your budget allows, hand out some swag.

People love free stuff. At this year’s Social Media Day Philly event, one company was giving out lip balms. Needless to say, I took one (okay, a few). The lip balm is in my work bag, and I use it every day. What do I see each time I take it out? The company’s name and URL on the side, printed in bright colors. If other people are around me, they see it too. Placing your logo on the side of an everyday object like lip balm (or a pen) allows you to get exposure in a variety of settings. It also invites people to find out, “What is that company?” by doing some of their own investigating.

Be creative with guest nametags.

I love the new trend of writing your Twitter handle on your nametag beneath your name. Why? Attendees will think it’s great for networking, but it’s really great for you as a brand or business, too. It’s hard to get people to sign up for email updates, but being able to glance across the room and make note of guests’ social media accounts makes following up super easy. If you interact with someone, let them know they can follow your Twitter account and shoot you any questions or ideas. You can also send a simple tweet mentioning some of the most engaging guests, and thanking them for attending.

Offer your own Foursquare special.

You know how venues offer deals to loyal customers who frequently check in on Foursquare? Create your own for guests! Work with your budget and find out what special prize or deal you can offer the first 25, 50, 100 people who check into your event (be sure you actually create it on Foursquare). Don’t be hesitant to embrace geo-powered social networking; I receive “pings” from my Foursquare friends in the area, and if I see something interesting, I’ll ask them about it. If an attendee checks into your promotional event, they’re basically announcing it to a network of people who might never have known about it otherwise. That “word of mouth” stuff is big.

Make them “Like” you.

Whether you want to use your own camera, or bribe a poor college art student to do it for you, taking pictures at your event is crucial for maximizing visibility. Posting them on your website is great, but creating a Facebook album and letting guests tag themselves is even better. With a little researching, you can create a landing pad on your Facebook page that requires users to “Like” it before they view it. If people know they appear on the other side, they’ll do it. Plus, you can easily insert photos into a blog post, or submit them to local press.

Say something.

I know, I know… you don’t like public speaking. Unfortunately, if you want your event to be memorable, you’ll have to get over it. Ever wonder why so many “corporate” Twitter accounts use a face instead of their logo? Research shows that people have more positive feelings towards brands who do it because they seem more personable. It’ll hold true for your event, too. It doesn’t matter that XYZ Company threw an awesome happy hour if nobody knows what XYZ is, or who works there. Get in front of the room, and introduce yourself. Say a little about your company, the reason for hosting the event, and then include something personal. Maybe you have a great company memory, or a funny work story. Get personal. It’s how company & brand relationships are built and maintained.

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