Archives for posts with tag: how-to

Not long ago, groups planning a festival or other large event had few effective ways to spread the word. And even fewer cost-effective ones.

Social media, and Twitter in particular, have changed that.

Based on work I just finished for a client that involved marketing, public relations and outreach for a major event, this post summarizes 10 steps any group can use to promote an event with Twitter.

These 10 steps lay out some solid basics for Twitterers unaccustomed to these tactics. And they would also make a good check list for those more familiar with using Twitter and related tools on the social web to influence and draw attention.

You need at least 3-4 weeks before the event, if possible.

Step 1. Prepare

In this phase, scout for the partners and people connected to the event who have the most influence online. Good indicators are the numbers of engaged and active followers they have on Twitter, as well as their scores from Kred or Klout. (I’m a fan. But both have detractors — however, that’s another post. )

The point is, you need to swiftly identify the folks to pull into the social campaign who will have the biggest impact as they promote the event on Twitter and through apps that work well with Twitter. Once those people are identified, contact them and make sure they are involved in planning the event promotion from the start.

Step 2. Pick a hash tag

This is not as easy as it might seem. The hash tag for the event is important because it will let you monitor Tweets about it and let fans and participants follow the Twitter conversations about the event.

The hash tag must:

  • be short
  • be easy to use/type
  • make sense

And the hash tag must not:

  • be used yet (check by searching options on Twitter)
  • be an acronym that is, or could be construed to be, profane (checking an urban dictionary is a good idea)

My suggestion isn’t just to monitor the Tweets using the hash tag, but also to track Tweets with the name of the group or event. When responding to those Tweets, you can add the hash tag for the event to spread awareness of it. Tweetdeck is handy for monitoring those mentions, as it allows several searches to be set up in columns right next to each other.

3. Start to Tweet

Now that you’ve got your most influential partners on board and a great, effective hashtag to use in all Tweets and mentions, you’re ready to start Tweeting. This could happen about two weeks before the event. Using a tool that lets you schedule Tweets is helpful. I really like Bufferapp and Hootsuite.

4. Create conversations

Automation can be helpful — you don’t want to swamp followers with Tweets at one time. But don’t rely only on that. Engage and interact with those who Tweet about the event or share the Tweets that you and your partners send. Create catchy Tweets that refer to the event’s highlights. Mention some of the influencers, and the event hash tag, of course. This encourages responses, sharing and interaction.

5. Keep it interesting

Sending out the same Tweet (or very similar versions) will bore followers, at first, and then annoy them. Mix it up. Send out some Tweets that offer a countdown to the day. Send others that tease highlights. Send others with a map or other interesting info. Send some with a question, like “What are you doing on ____?” (fill in the date of the event) and link back to a website with all of the details.

6. Use tools to drive more influence

The technology and apps that exist now to turbocharge the effectiveness of Twitter and enable smooth, frequent sharing are amazing. Twylah is a fabulous tool for amplifying Tweets and dressing them up so they are curated and presented in a magazine style. Scoop.it is also a great site for creating a customized magazine of links and Tweets. As traditional media cover the event, links to those articles could be added through Scoop.it. Make sure to mention the Twitter handles of partners, in addition to the event hash tag, when posting to encourage sharing.

7. Use art

As you send out a mix of Tweets, include art, such as the event’s graphic or logo. A pretty easy way to create art to Tweet is to make a tag cloud of words that characterize the event, using the logo for the shape of the cloud. Here is an example I did for this client’s event. Maps, guides to transportation (or street closures, if relevant) or the lineup of bands or other highlights can also work well.

8. Build promotion to a peak

The wonderful site Storify, which makes stories from Tweets and other social posts, is often used after an event to summarize it. However, it can also be used very effectively just before the event. Here’s the one I made the day before this client’s event. With Storify, you can gather the promotional Tweets that have been sent about the event. It can concentrate the excitement. And the Storify story can be easily shared, which also ramps up the social sharing. So make sure you mention others who can ReTweet.

9. Monitor and stoke engagement

On the day of the event, keep monitoring the hash tag associated with it and the names of the group hosting the event as well the name of the event. Respond to Twitterers who are talking about the event. Keep the conversation going by asking those folks to Tweet about their favorite aspect of the event. Then share those. Monitoring also alerts you to trouble spots. Are lines too long? Are the bathrooms unkempt? People will often Tweet about that. Deal with any complaints, proactively. You can acknowledge and respond through Twitter.

10. Afterwards, take stock

Assess what worked and what to improve upon for next time. Hashtracking is a great site for providing information about impressions on Twitter that specific hash tags received. For the 24 hours surrounding Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day on June 9, there were more than 128,000 impressions of #GordonSquare!

I’d love to hear the ways you’ve used Twitter to promote an event.

This post breaks down the steps for promoting an event on Twitter, making them easier to digest. But if you’re new to Tweeting, it might still feel overwhelming. If so, pull in someone more seasoned in social media to help.  You can find me on Twitter here.

When I started my consulting practice more than two years ago, my immersion into social media was, maybe, knee-deep. I wouldn’t have called it that at the time. I had joined LinkedIn in 2003, Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2009.

Still, the social web has exploded since then. And so has my insight — although the thing about social media is that it’s easy to feel as if you’re always playing catch up because it’s changing so quickly.

Anyway, about a year ago, I decided to redo my website. I wanted to make it more interactive, to highlight my blog better and to enable posts to be shared easily. It needed a big upgrade with respect to its social presence and capabilities.

The journey has been bumpy and difficult. And it’s not over, yet. But it sure has taught me a lot!

5 lessons I learned by redoing my website . . .

(that I wish I’d known beforehand!)

1. Make sure your programmer and designer listen, well, to what you want and can convert those ideas into action

I definitely should’ve spent more time interviewing former clients of the first designer I hired to make sure his skills and approach would translate into a partnership. He ended up designing the site he wanted. Not the one I wanted. And then kept trying to talk me into it, and told me that others he showed it to had liked it. Ugh. To the team redoing your website, you are the important audience. The project should feel like it completely meets your specs and communicates what you want it to.

2. Check their Twitter feeds and blogs

Find out: Do they communicate on a somewhat similar plane as you? Do they share as frequently as you want your posts Tweeted, Buffered and Pinned? Do they know the kind of tools and plug-ins that are on the cutting edge? Just because a designer or programmer is talented doesn’t mean he or she is going to really understand the way you’re going to use the site and need it to work. If your potential designer/programmer’s social presence clashes with yours, RUN. Tweets with expletives? A dead giveaway (and now I know.)

3. Study up so you know what you want

If I am going to have my house painted, I don’t need to know the best techniques. If I am going to get my taxes done, I am not going to brush up on the latest  regulations. But social is different. Week to week, things change. Tools come on the scene that make things better, easier, prettier. Trends shift in warp speed. This is not the area to outsource completely to a designer or programmer — even a good one. You’ve got to know the tools you want to be able to guide the process and site development so you end up with something close to what you envision. I’m not talking about being a dictator. But I am suggesting you have to a partner if you want to love the final product.

4. Know when to give up

I stayed with my first designer (who brought in a programmer I didn’t know — another big mistake) way too long. I knew he wasn’t getting what I wanted, or more precisely, wasn’t listening to what I wanted. I knew this wasn’t going to be the partnership I needed as tweaks to the site would crop up. I began dreading meetings and phone calls, which were not returned very promptly. I got to the point where I had paid for 3/4 of the job. And still hated it. Why didn’t I just leave earlier? That is my advice to you, if things are sliding steeply down hill… just start over. And get an escape clause in the contract that doesn’t leave you paying for work that didn’t meet your specs. I got out of the last payment, but not before it got ugly, which was unfortunate.

5. People skills matter as much as designing/programming skills

This is social media, for goodness sakes. The person or team you pick to redo your website needs to not just display professional social media skills. They have to display professional social skills, period. This project you are embarking upon is intensely personal, very important to your business, a reflection of you and responsible for driving customers and clients to act and buy. You need someone who totally gets that and can translate it into a site that works for you. And to get that, you need someone dedicated to working with you.

So, my website redesign odyssey is, finally, almost done.

I am thrilled with my new team, Yurich Creative. They did my new logo. They found fonts I love. They made awesome design suggestions. And they took my requests for plug-ins I wanted and the sharing capability I pictured. They didn’t know every tool, but were open to discovering and incorporating things into the design.

Their suggestions clearly showed that my descriptions of how I wanted the site to look and work resonated with them. It was wonderful! Ahhh.

I wish I could’ve made this progress without learning these 5 hard lessons. Some of them might look silly, in hindsight. But I learned. And I think that’s why this go-round went so much more smoothly.

And, hey, all of those hassles did provide a great idea for a blog post. Feel free to share it. I want others to learn from my mishaps, as well. And I would love to hear about your bloopers and triumphs with your own website redo. What lessons would you add to this list?

Blogging is hard work. And getting the tone of voice just right is part of that struggle. Without the right voice, readers won’t stick with you to take in your great content.

Here’s the challenge: You want to be authoritative, but not a know-it-all. You want to be upbeat, but not saccharine. You want to be specific, but not clinical. You want to be informative, but not scientific. You want to be clear, but not patronizing. And you want to show a sense of humor without sliding into a standup routine.

Here’s my trick: try writing as if you’re talking to a specific audience. Picture who you are delivering the information to. Make it visual. And make it personal.

Then craft your content. And do it with the tone you’d use in one of these seven situations…

1. to cheer on a friend,

2. to bargain for a deal,

3. to guide your kids,

4. to pick yourself up after a bad day,

5. to laugh a little at yourself,

6. to mentor a student, or

7. to help a stranger.

See if that doesn’t make it easier next time you need to post. I’d be interested to hear how this worked for you. Here’s more about writing for a specific audience with some examples.