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Using Twitter for Your Event Marketing . . .

Last month I attended the International Council of Air Show's annual convention in Las Vegas. The convention is the air show industry's annual get together to share ideas and plan for the upcoming air show season. During the convention's marketing seminars there was significant discussion regarding social media. Seminar participants and presenters were jumping up and down expounding the marketing virtues of using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.


Here's my rub . . . when pressed, not one Twitter proponent in the could cite a bottom line result for all their efforts. Perhaps it's that I've been spending way too much time in the direct response world, or maybe I'm just getting jaded on all the social media hoopla . . .   But before you jump on the social media crazy train, take a moment to find out if social media is actually helping your event marketing efforts.

The Twitter Case Study
As a case study, here is my own Twitter experience.  WARNING: Shameless Self Promotion Ahead! Recently I broke the 1,000 Follower mark on Twitter. According to the UK Guardian, the average Twitter user has 126 followers. Source: Arthur, Charles, 29 June 2009, Guardian.co.uk. Since March of 2009, I spent about 10 minutes a day following people and posting updates and event marketing links to articles on my blog. A recent look at my Google Analytics account revealed that my all Twitter efforts drove a whopping 61 visitors to my web site. The only silver lining, if any, was that each visitor driven by a Twitter link spent over two and a half minutes on my site. Sorry Twitter Pundits . . . 30+ hours of effort for 61 visitors is a horrendous ROI. I'm not going to sit here and proclaim to be an Twitter Jedi Master, but I integrated expert advice and followed it consistently. I cringe to think what other people are getting in terms of their results.

You should know that I'm not an anti social media guy. Yet, I am staunchly against smart people wasting time and money on "amazing" Internet technology that doesn't add one cent to their bottom line or help to promote an event. People get so focused on the technology, they forget about the fundamentals. 150 years ago, P.T. Barnum figured out a simple model promote almost any event. Since then, we've found a million different ways to screw it up. Regardless of the technology, never abandon sound marketing fundamentals. Check out "The Danger of Too Much Event Marketing Technology" for more insight.

Adopt Your Twitter Event Marketing Efforts Very Cautiously
It's important to remember that Twitter is still being adopted by the masses. Yes, a ton of people are joining Twitter, but it tends to be fairly young demographic. I'd argue less than 10% of your potential target is using Twitter, probably less than 5% on a regular basis. The air show industry is a prime example of only a tiny segment of your total target market using Twitter. What are you doing to engage the rest of your target market?

Think Before You Jump
Before you even setup a Twitter account, ask yourself . . . "Is enough of my target marketing using Twitter to warrant my investment in time, money, and effort?" If you are investing your efforts in to Twitter, make sure it's delivering you positive and measurable results. Keep your Tweets interesting and relevant to your event or business goals. Always make sure to use Google Analytics to see if your efforts are making a positive impact on your marketing efforts.

I'm still willing to find ways to leverage social media to better promote events and businesses. But at the moment I'm unwilling to say that using Twitter to market your event is a worthwhile investment. If you have a suggestion or great examples of using Twitter, please leave a comment to this post. I'm always open to insight and suggestions.

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Andrew H

Hi Eugene,
Thanks for posting, I've enjoyed your blog. Apparently I should start following you on Twitter too. :-)

I think one of the mistakes often made when people approach social media is to treat it the same as other media (ie 1-way communications), and not realize it is a conversation that occurs in a broadcast fashion. Passed links, re-tweets & @replies are the currency of the realm on Twitter. And don't forget tweets with a URL can add SEO rank.

In fact, we've seen that Twitter can drive extremely valuable traffic to an event web site when used properly, both building buzz leading up to the event as well as during the event itself. While I'm not a huge Twitter user and certainly don't have 1,000+ followers, I do believe that Twitter + Events are a match made in heaven for two reasons:

1) You can build buzz and momentum before the event in a very public fashion. Some techniques to do this are puzzles, retweet contests & exclusive Twitter offers that reward participation.

2) During the event itself, Twitter (with good use of #hashtags) can be invaluable to keep a finger on the pulse of the crowd in a way that has previously not been possible. This works for music festivals, trade shows, conferences and sporting events.

Our detailed data on Twitter actually shows that while the volume may be less than Facebook, a Twitter user is 2-4x more valuable than a Facebook user in terms of driving new visitors to an event's web site. In all cases where social media involves a shared link (i.e. word-of-mouth referral with endorsement), conversions on tickets increase by *an order of magnitude*. After all, your fans are your best marketing channel.

Keep up the great work!

Andrew Hoag
CEO, inviteme.to

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