This past weekend there was a lot going on here in Lancaster. It was First Friday, followed by the annual Fall ArtWalk. Then there was the annual Harvest Breakfast at Lancaster Central Market and Family Day at Water Street Ministries (client). Throw in a few fundraising walks and runs in the downtown area, and the city was really buzzing.
I was aware of these events for some time, mostly because of how they were promoted online, with Facebook being the primary source of promotion. I even shared the information about a few of these, and saw quite a few individuals and businesses promoting them in the weeks leading up to them.
But once the events began, I noticed a distinct dropoff in online promotion by some of the sponsoring organizations, and I think that’s a mistake. While thousands of people were downtown participating in these events, many of them were checking in on Facebook and Foursquare, tweeting, and posting pictures on various platforms via Instagram. There was a lot of chatter across social networks, but most of it was by individuals, not the businesses and organizations themselves.
Small businesses and nonprofits can’t drop the ball once an event begins. Social media affords us the opportunity to post pictures and updates on what is happening during an event. Many of the events of this past weekend were free and lasted for hours, and could have benefited from more in-event publicity. It’s great that individual users were talking about the events, but we need to tap into that, encourage it, and re-purpose that user generated content.
Make sure people can check in to your event, not just your location, on both Facebook and Foursquare. Have signage that encourages check-ins and posting of photos. If you see people taking pictures, walk up to them and encourage them to post them to your business page. As others see your event online, it might encourage them to make a last minute decision to attend, and if it’s part of a nonprofit fundraiser, it might encourage others to give.
And once an event is over, don’t forget to go back and talk it up. Post pictures. Post videos. Tag individuals. Let your customers and fans know how it went. Let those who didn’t attend see what they missed.
Promotion is not just something you do prior to the event. Use your social platforms, and those of your fans, to promote events while they’re in progress, and even after the fact. It will help you build your audience and your brand as you move forward.
How have you promoted events while they are happening and once they’ve been completed?
- Generosity is More than Money: A Guide to Social Sharing (inklingmedia.net)
- Four Steps to Turning Your Small Business and Nonprofit Fans Into a Street Team (inklingmedia.net)
- Foursquare Encourages Action With Promoted Updates (v3im.com)
- Tips for Creating a Profitable Trade Show Experience (spinsucks.com)
- Small Business and Social Media: You Have Goals, Don’t You? (inklingmedia.net)