Out with the Old
A decade ago, event organizers set up their various functions with a flurry of phone calls, emails, and mailings. Flyers were sent out and sign-up sheets were posted and all of us more or less managed to survive. Attendees communicated with their friends by meeting up, and with outsiders by phone, and any outside exposure came from traditional media coverage – television, newspaper, and radio.
Fast forward to the social media-driven soirees of today, and we’re playing in a whole different sandbox. While the formal part of these events are more or less the same, the experience both before and after and in and around them provide for a stark contrast.
Creating a Buzz
The lead in to any good event is no different than to a good vacation; there is a sense of anticipation that builds excitement. Today, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Foursquare and a host of others provide event planners the tools of their dreams to stoke interest in their functions, and they’re only adding more by the day. Whether you’re inviting friends to the event with Facebook or connecting with them after an introduction on LinkedIn, today’s strategies for connectivity allow people to network and arrive in ways never before possible.
Get them Involved
Once you’ve got your guest list, the trick to a fabulous function is getting people to act, move and mingle. By encouraging check-ins on Foursquare, attendees can find out where the excitement is happening. Or, if they’re looking for a bit of relaxation, they can see that others have checked in at the pool, or the pub next door. Attendees can get alerts for when activities begin, and they can see who is heading where. Everyone wants to be with people they know and aware of when their preferred activities begin. Social media has made this more convenient than ever before.
The Party goes Viral
Participation during events has been enhanced by social media in innumerable ways, but perhaps no more importantly than by today’s ability to take the inside of the party and share it. Whether you’ve made it to the party or not, you can now check in with your friends on Twitter to hear what’s happening. If you’d rather see, Photobucket and Instagram can offer you the sights you’d have had to wait weeks for in the past.
In a short amount of time, social media has given people power to connect in an unprecedented new way. Gone are the days of hurrying up and waiting, and here are the days of making events and functions work for you. An effective event planner will be able to utilize all of the tools at their disposal to create the opportunity for people to have the most interactive and exciting experience possible. It is human nature to want to be a part of things. If done the right way, your attendees will be more involved than ever before.
Matt Anton is a partner in the online marketing venture BacklinksVault, with business experience and keen insight into social media integration.