Leveraging social media for special events


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Social media has quickly become an essential tool for nonprofit communications and promotion. At this month’s program you will learn how to effectively promote your special event through social media to get the word out, get more supporters in attendance and obtain more sponsorship dollars through higher visibility for event sponsors. Amber Recker from Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana will share her secrets for leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Eventbrite and other social platforms to create great promotion for special events.

Amber Recker has been in Marketing for 6 years, working specifically with social media for two. When she joined Cancer Services in 2010, she implemented a social media plan to mesh with the agency's marketing strategy. Within weeks, she launched a blog, an e-newsletter, a Facebook page and established an engaging Twitter presence. Since then, she has paved the way for other non-profit organizations to embrace social media by hosting a monthly luncheon addressing important social media topics. She also manages social media content on Facebook and Twitter for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, Bust A Move hosted by the Fort Wayne Derby Girls, Fort Wayne Derby Girls, Rotary Fort Wayne, Women United, fiveonfive magazine and Contagious Community.

Currently, she serves as VP of Communications for YLNI and Vice President of Anthony Wayne Rotary. She is a member of Women United and a steering committee member for the YWCA’s Circle of Women.

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  • a.     It won’t help you drive traffic to your events unless you’ve already cultivated a strong social media following. What I will cover today won’t work for you if you haven’t. If you tweet a message and have no followers, it’s a waste of time. c.      And it does eat up time and resources despite the lure of it being “free.” One of the biggest myths about social media is that it’s free. Sure, it costs you nothing to start a Facebook page, or YouTube channel, or a LinkedIn profile, but starting a presence isn’t as important as maintaining it and committing to making it sustainable. Doing that work will either take time — yours or someone else’s at your company — or money if you choose to hire it out. Like anything else you’ve invested in to grow your business, the results are generally contingent upon what you put into it. If you’re only willing to spend $0, guess what kind of return you should expect? There’s good news in this, however: Understanding that social media comes with a cost will motivate you to make better decisions. The next time someone tells you what you “have to” do, you’ll know you’ll only “have to” if it makes sense for your business. For small businesses, the key is to strike a balance between embracing the opportunities that come with social media and avoiding the temptation to waste time and resources on the wrong things. Focus on what’s right for your audience and what’s likely to truly provide the best return on your investment, and you’ll be in a much better position to make the right decisions. 1-       It must be a part of your overall Marketing plan a.       How can you get where you want to go if you don’t know where that is? b.       Who are you trying to reach? What message you are trying to convey? Is social media right for you? For example, do you know your constituents? Are they on social channels? If you are trying to cultivate new constituents, what messaging will you use to reach and engage them? 1-       Develop social media plan slowly a.       You don’t have to take on everything at once. April 2010- launched our plan. First with Facebook and Twitter. Cultivating a fan base- engaging, being informative, positioning ourselves as a resource for the community (that is what we are in “real life” so that is what we are in the social media world). After gaining ground there, 6 months later, we launched a blog and use our sm channels to amplify that message and send traffic to our blog. 6 months after that, developed an e-newsletter that further amplifies our message. Recently launched a google+ page and a Tumblr blog, but haven’t spent much time cultivating them- they reach different audiences. a.       If you try to be all things to all people, you won’t be anything to anyone. And when it comes to sm, you can’t do it all. It’s important, then, to decide what you want to be known for, among whom, and which tools are most likely to connect you with the right audience. Facebook, for example, might work for some businesses, but it’s certainly not right for everyone. And even if you decide to start a Facebook page, it’s vital to send a consistent, differentiated message. The key to success is giving your audience something they can’t get anywhere else, and communicating in a place where you’re most likely to reach the right people. Once you know where you need to be and what you need to say, estimate how much time you’ll devote to the effort. That will help you decide whether you’re using your time effectively.
  • 1-      Watch and learn- sm sites are easy to use, but developing sm strategies for your business is significantly more difficult. The best way to learn is to watch others, especially companies like yours, in your community and industry. Great case studies are available on the web and you can save a lot of effort by reading about what’s worked for others- and what hasn’t- before you begin. 2-      Participate where your presence is advantageous and/or mandatory- don’t just participate anywhere and everywhere (Facebook isn’t for everyone, nor is LinkedIn) 3-      Use tools for consolidation, tracking and alerts (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck are two common one that provide stats and multi account/user capabilities) 4-      Be informative- consumer expect more than entertainment when connecting with a brand online- be a resource. Teach them things about the demographic you serve. I share new cancer studies and findings. 5-      Listen first, promote less- Don’t be a “me” monster sending out 1 sided messages.
  • 1-      Participate, Engage- don’t push. Again, avoid being a me monster- talk with people. SM is just another form of communication- the same rules apply. Have a conversation. Answer questions. 2-      Focus on delivering value, not taking- again, forwarding useful information, retweeting other orgs (for instance, Fort Wayne comm. of nonprofits often share resources and best practices to make community better as a whole- so will RT blood drive info etc) 3-      Be authentic- which means be yourself. 4-      Be a resource to the community (my org= cancer resource) 5-      Measure results- which we will get into a bit later in the presentation. 6-      Have a crisis plan—what happens if someone miss-tweets? What happens if your brand comes under attack online?
  • Ex: Livestrong- gets its audience involved, serves as a resource, focuses on people, really use it to create a community.           You Tube- Why I am volunteering videos           Blog- Personal stories submitted           Flickr- photo stream, submitted photos           Facebook- always asking questions- asking for people to interact, not just a billboard           Delicious- book marking site, to promote blogs and others Ex: California State Parks Foundation- used social media for fundraising, funding cuts in 2009 threaten to close CA state parks.           Launched multi channel effort “Save Our Parks” campaign: Direct mail, telemarketing, email and social networking           Facebook Community increased from 500 to 33,000 in 2 weeks (now 65,429)           Campaign earned $950K, $300K online, 46% of which came from new supporters           Gives audience clear direction, well integrated with larger marketing communication efforts, frequent posts (which beget continuous interaction), leveraged existing relationships to build new ones.           Primarily used Facebook and Twitter to bring their issue to the forefront- daily updates to website and sm channels with latest news, created an Action Center on site. Used Facebook to promote awareness, discussion, and to attract new activist members. Included “find us on Facebook” messaging on every email, all over site, and in direct mail campaign. Ex: Tacoma Rescue Mission           Understand the power of video           Make social media a priority           Integrated social media effort           Make it about people           Integrated with fundraising efforts
  • So now, let’s say you’ve spent time thinking about how your social media will fit into your overall marketing plans and you’ve cultivated a nice constituency base there- growing all the time. Now you can use it to amplify your event messaging. Here are some tools I’ve used to help: Eventbrite- allows you to create, promote, manage and sell tickets. It’s free. Track respondents, email respondents, share via social media. Collect payment. Customize and brand the page. Social sharing built in. Facebook- though you can’t collect money via facebook events, this is a great way to promote free events, especially if your following is strong on this network. Most people are on facebook (stat here) . Though, I find that a “yes” on Facebook isn’t quite as definite as a “yes” on eventbrite. Brown Paper Tickets- another free site that allows you to create an account and collect money. Both Eventbrite and Brownpaper tickets promote events- so people visiting those sites will see your event if it’s “near” them.
  • From management screen, you can see how many tickets have been sold, how much has been collect, publish to facebook, create a form to add to your own website, create links to the event to post via social media and email, create a button for your event to publish on your website… there are also event reports you can run: like attendee summary, sales by ticket type (if more than one), attendee geography – all exportable to excel or pdf. Email attendees, create check in sheet for day of event.
  • Once you’ve set up the event – you can use your social media channels to promote it. Schedule tweets to send the message several times per week. Post it to facebook. Write a story about the event and link to it from your blog. Include details in your next e-newsletter.
  • Leveraging social media for special events

    1. 1. Presented by Amber Recker Director of Marketing & Development Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana
    2. 2. Connect with Me! <ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook: facebook.com/amrecker </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/arecker </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm @UWACWomenU @ylni @fiveonfive @gingerkitchen
    3. 3. Fundamentals of Social Media <ul><li>Remember: It isn’t for everyone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a magic solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Won’t help you if you don’t cultivate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does require human resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Must be part of your overall Marketing Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Develop your Social Media plan slowly </li></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    4. 4. Up & Running- Now What? <ul><li>Watch and learn </li></ul><ul><li>Participate where and when your presence is advantageous </li></ul><ul><li>Use tools for consolidation, tracking & alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Be informative </li></ul><ul><li>Listen first, promote less </li></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    5. 5. Up & Running- Now What? <ul><li>Participate and Engage </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on delivering value </li></ul><ul><li>Be authentic </li></ul><ul><li>Be a resource </li></ul><ul><li>Measure results </li></ul><ul><li>Have a crisis plan </li></ul><ul><li>Have fun </li></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    6. 6. Examples <ul><li>Nationally: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Livestrong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>California State Parks Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tacoma Rescue Mission </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Locally: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NeighborLinkFW </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cancer Services </li></ul></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    7. 7. Special Event Tools <ul><li>Eventbrite </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Brown Paper Tickets </li></ul><ul><li>E-vites </li></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    8. 8. Eventbrite.com AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    9. 9. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    10. 10. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    11. 11. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    12. 12. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    13. 13. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    14. 14. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    15. 15. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    16. 16. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    17. 17. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    18. 18. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    19. 19. AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm
    20. 20. Now What? <ul><li>Promote, promote, promote! </li></ul><ul><li>Using Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Using Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Using your blog and e-newsletter </li></ul>AFPNEIN Presentation 1/19/12 Connect with me: @amrecker @cancersvcsni @contagiouscomm