Social Media Marketing Strategy by slw88893


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									                     Social Media Strategies for Event Organizers

Abstract: The marketing methods of yesteryear are losing their grip. In today‟s wired
world, if you want to reach the target demographic for your sporting event, you need to
include online social media in your marketing strategies. Social media allow you to
connect in a personal and individualized way with your audience. Social media
encourage two-way conversation and offer a limitless range of creative opportunities for
both gathering information and getting the word out about your event. When you‟re
creating your social media strategy, it helps to follow a step-by-step plan. It begins by
setting a handful of specific and manageable goals. Then you must get to know your
market. What are the online habits of your target audience? Once you know this, you
can choose your “weapons” – which social media will give you the best access to your
target group. After deciding whether you should build your own site or leverage an
existing one, develop a long-term commitment. As you implement your marketing plan,
look for ways to leverage technology to make your job easier. Finally, keep the Four C‟s
(Content, Context, Connection and Community) in mind.

                     Social Media Strategies for Event Organizers

       Just in case you‟ve been napping for the past twenty years: the world of marketing
has been undergoing a revolution. Only a few short decades ago, marketing was done
mainly through print, TV, direct mail, signs and displays, and door-to-door sales. In
today‟s wired, interconnected world, those traditional marketing methods are quickly
going the way of the slide-rule. Not only are they costly, but they fail to target your key

        TV advertising, for example, is like fishing with a massive drift net. You throw it
out to everyone, hoping to “catch” your desired audience somewhere within it. By
contrast, online fishing methods are more like using a rod and reel with a specially
designed lure. You decide exactly which fish you want to catch and you go after it with
targeted precision. Today‟s marketing is all about connecting, person to person.

       One of the key tools you can use to make that connection is social media sites.
That‟s why when Procter & Gamble wanted to promote its line of feminine products to
young women, it started According to Procter & Gamble, this site has
been four times more effective than traditional marketing, at a fraction the cost.
       Leveraging social media is a hugely powerful tool for five reasons:
       1. It allows you to target very specific demographics.
       2. It allows you to start a conversation instead of just displaying a product.
       3. It allows your target audience to contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
       4. It allows you to create a trusting bond with your audience.
       5. It allows you to share free content.
        What exactly do we mean by “social media”? Well, Wikipedia (itself a shining
example of the term) defines social media as “Internet- and mobile-based tools for
sharing and discussing information among human beings.” In essence, all that is required
to be considered a social medium is the online sharing of content by more than one
person. With this broad understanding in mind, here are some of the main types of social
media today:

        Blogs and Micro-Blogs. Blogs are an online method of publishing fresh news,
information and commentary. They are among the most popular social media
technologies. In many sports markets, blogs provide the only real-time news. Hence,
they are the first stop on the Internet every day for many athletic competitors. Some
examples of sports blogs are: (running),
(sailing), (curling) and (chess). Blogs provide a
valuable service to competitors who crave up-to-the-minute information about the sport
they love.

        Micro-blogs are a little more interactive than blogs and allow for two-way
conversations. Many companies are trying to leverage micro-blogs to build awareness,
promote products, and create communities. Compete-At, for example, produces several
micro-blogs on Twitter that provide the latest news and information to particular sports
markets. Check out:,,, and

         Social Network Sites (SNS). Social networks can be defined as online
communities of people connected by shared interests, needs or activities. Most social
networking sites provide concrete ways for users to interact and post content. Some have
wide appeal like Facebook ( and MySpace (, while some
focus on specific interests. SNS have become a dominant means of connecting to people
in the 21st Century. The keys to evaluating a particular SNS for your purposes are to look
at its size (more specifically, your target market’s size on the SNS) and its activity. Who
uses it and what do they do when they‟re on the site?

        Facebook is currently the largest SNS on the Internet, with over 125 Million users
and counting. Facebook, by its sheer size, is sure to cover a large portion of your target
market. However, there are also some very active specialty-sport SNS. A well-groomed
social network is a great way to both spread and gather news and information.

         Internet Forums. Forums are one of the oldest forms of social media on the
Internet and trace their roots back to the late „70s. Unlike blogs, forums are designed to
facilitate conversations on specific topics between multiple people. A few examples of
sports-driven forums are, NX Sports, Sport Talk, NFL Smackdown,

       Wikis. A wiki is a site that features user-provided and user-edited informational
content. To make your own wiki successful, you must be able to attract a large
community that will contribute content and editing. However your event might already
be listed on existing wikis. For example the Transpacific Yacht Race has a Wikipedia
entry at:

         How do you use sites like Wikipedia to promote your event? The key is to know
where your event is listed and to check the entry for accuracy. If it is not listed, try to get
it listed. The more links pointing back to your event, the better! This will not only send
you more visitors but will also improve your ranking in search engines such as Google
and Yahoo.

        Photo and Video Sharing. These sites provide ways for users to share,
comment on, and display photos and videos. There are many photo sharing sites such as
Flickr (, Zoomr (, Photobucket (, and
SmugMug ( to name just a few. There are also sites designed to share and
stream video such as Vimeo (, Revver (, and, of course, the
phenomenally successful YouTube (

       Not only can you use these sites to share event images and videos, but you
can leverage them for resource-intensive activities like streaming video. You can
embed content from these sites within your own site without incurring hosting and
bandwidth costs.

       The world of social media offers limitless creative opportunities for connecting
with people who love your sport. If you are not using social media as a crucial part of
your marketing strategy, then you are scheduling yourself for extinction. Join the 21st

Creating a Social Media Strategy
        Social media are a vital resource for promoting your events in the 21st Century.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Wikipedia provide endless opportunities to
connect, one-to-one, with thousands - even millions - of raving fans of your sport. As
you think about how to leverage this mind-boggling new resource, though, it‟s easy to
become overwhelmed. So when you‟re creating your social media strategy, follow a
simple step-by-step plan.

        Step 1: Set your goals. Clearly state your goals and constantly check them
against your marketing intentions and your concrete results. Write goals down and be
specific. Don‟t have too many goals but focus on what is important and keep an eye
toward diversity. It is always better to have a few goals and meet them than to go after
pie in the sky. Your goals might include, for example, reconnecting with a certain
percentage of your previous event competitors, increasing your network size and
generating a certain amount of new content every day/week/month. Whatever your
specific goals, remember that your plan is going to take time and don‟t have unrealistic
expectations. Rome wasn‟t built in a blah, blah...

       Step 2: Know your market. Try to understand the online habits and preferences
of your event competitors, spectators and sponsors. Get to know their “social
technographic profiles.” Do the research. Talk to people, surf the net. Identify the
demographics of your target group(s) and then identify the social media they‟re most
likely using and how they‟re using them.

        Step 3: Pick your weapons. Choose the online tools that best match your goals
and targets. Don‟t put all your eggs in one basket but, rather, have a mix of technologies
and sites. The idea is to diversify, not duplicate. You‟ll probably want to use a strategic
mix of Social Network Sites (SNS), Forums and Blogs. Pick a general SNS like
Facebook and then a couple of sport-/event-specific forums and blogs. This strategy
gives you a mix of coverage to optimize results.

       When using the SNS, accept invitations and build up your friends lists. Use the
Status Updates to your full advantage. Post often, but not to the point of annoyance.
Create fan pages. Join Groups and contribute to discussions, but also start your own

        On the forums, become active. Post often and, more importantly, supply answers
and insightful comments. Keep these insights positive and helpful, not negative or self-
serving. Consider making a donation to the site (usually less than $50). This shows your
support of the community and instantly raises your standing. Lastly, consider advertising
on the site. This can be a very cost-effective platform.

        As for blogs, know that starting your own blog is a major commitment and
growth can be slow. In most cases you are better off finding blogs that your target
audience is already following and see if you can get involved. Consider contacting the
blogger. Most bloggers are always looking for content and ideas, so help them out. Give
them exclusives. Let them know what you are doing that is unique. Feed them press
releases, news items. Make them feel special.

        Step 4: Build or borrow? After working the first three steps, you‟ll come to a
point where you really need to decide whether you want to build your own (forum, SNS,
blog…) or leverage an existing site. In most cases it will be more efficient to find a blog,
SNS or forum that already covers your target audience and use it to meet your goals. If
there‟s really nothing out there for you, or if you see a great opportunity to be a pioneer,
then you might want to build your own. But remember, growth can be a slow process.

         Step 5: Think long-term. As with any marketing or branding effort, this is a
long-term strategy. Give it time to develop. Social media is like a bank in which you
make deposits one penny at a time. So to buy that shiny new bicycle (or other r
         eward) you‟ll have to stick with your strategy over the long haul. The good news
is that as your “principal” grows, it generates interest, increasing the total value over
         Step 6: Look for ways to leverage technology. Because you want to cover
several different social media, look for tools that will help you reduce your effort. Work
smarter, not harder. There are innumerable tools and solutions available to help you
streamline your workload. For example, allows you to simultaneously post to
Facebook, Plaxo, Twitter and other accounts. Tweetlater allows you to queue up
“tweets” (Twitter posts) and automatically post them on a staggered schedule. Those are
just a couple of examples. Remember, too, that you don‟t have to create all of your
content. You can “borrow” content from other sites, as long as you give them credit and
post links to the source. And finally:

       Step 7: Remember the 4 Cs. Whatever web tools you choose, create your posts,
uploads and site improvements with the following criteria in mind:

   1. Content – Does this post (content, upload, feature, etc.) add value to the target

   2. Context – How does this post relate to the “world” of the target community?

   3. Connection – How does this post build connections between you and the target

   4. Community – How does this post help to build a sense of connection among
      members of the target community?

Following this seven-step plan will help you navigate the vast, but rewarding ocean of
social media and get the best return on your marketing investment.
eting investment.

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