Organising events is a great way for SMEs to build awareness, connect with their target audiences and establish positioning within their industry.

But organising a great event – with mutual value for everyone involved – is not easy. Quite often basic principles are overlooked.

Here’s a practical little checklist to make sure that the event you organise is worth the effort of organising and attending it!

1. Make sure your presentations connect to the target audience needs

My first advice is to make your event as targeted as possible. If you are targeting MDs or CEOs, talk about your vision on the industry or new strategic opportunities for their business. But if you are inviting medium level executives, make sure your presentations help them with the problems they are facing every day.

2. Live up to the expectation

Don’t make big claims that you can’t deliver on. Quite often events are advertised with slogans such as ‘The secret of success in social media’ or ‘How to make your online strategy work’. When you make claims like that, make sure you deliver on them. If you don’t, no matter how well the event was organised, your audience will end up being disappointed.

3. Have your attendees promote the event for you through social media

Once you have established a list of attendees, make sure they can promote the event for you. Publish teaser content on your blog or in social media channels such as YouTube or Slideshare. Connect with your attendees on Twitter and Linkedin. Ask them to share the content with their network. And oh yes, make sure the content is valuable, not just marketing blurb!

4. Keep on publishing throughout the event

Also during the event, allow attendees to send updates and photos to their followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you give them the hashtag you have claimed for your event on forehand. And of course, make sure they have access to high speed internet throughout the entire event.

5. Take good aftercare

Now that you have your audience engaged, make sure you leverage that. Publish a presentation or a video with the biggest insights of the event. Reconnect with your attendees in social media. Invite them to share. Ask them what they thought of the event to make your next event even better.

So, in a nutshell:

Publish valuable content, connect with your audience in social media and engage them in a conversation.

Happy organising!

How to use a hashtagIf you’ve ever been on Twitter for more than 2 minutes, you probably know what a hashtag is.

Just in case you don’t: a hashtag is a word with a # symbol in front of it and it’s used to categorise and group conversations that are happening on micro blogging services such as Twitter.

Using hashtags can help your tweet get more attention, retweets and clicks and even help you build followers.

But there is a problem.

According to this research from social media management software provider Argyle Social many marketing professionals use hashtags ineffectively.

In the research they analysed more than 37,000 total tweets from 103 Twitter business accounts. They found out that some companies got much more clicks from their tweets containing hashtags than others.

Using hashtags: what doesn’t work?

Hashtags do not work when the words you use are too generic. Too broad. For example, the research shows that hashtags like #socialmedia, #business, #sales or #crm are too generic. People are not following these because there is too much ‘noise’ to filter out.

The same goes for hashtags like #superbowl or hashtags from large conferences like #adtech or #sxsw, because these hashtags fly by quicker than anyone can read.

Using hashtags: what does work?

Hashtags need to be relevant, targeted and occur naturally in the conversation. Think for instance of:

  • Moderately sized conferences and lectures: e.g. #iabceme, #MP2011
  • Causes: e.g. #haiti, #giveasmile
  • Highly engaged groups: e.g. #crisiscompit, #glutenfree, #oilspill
  • Create your own: e.g. #nerdbird, #blogchat

Key insight for marketers, PRs and business communicators when using hashtags

On the social web you need to get much more targeted than you were used to in mass communications. It’s not about reaching many people. It’s about reaching the people who really want to hear what you have to say and will share it with their peers.

To do that you have to think specifically about what exactly people are interested in. What are the most relevant hashtags about the topic you have to offer. Then create the right hashtag or combinations of hashtags, that will get the right message to the right audience.

Happy #hashtagging!

I recently came across a post on Hubspot called ‘9 Worst Ways to Use Twitter for Business’. The #1 Worst Way in this Hubspot blog post is ‘Be Overly Self-Promotional’. That’s a great insight. Most businesses are just so used to promoting their stuff that it’s not easy to switch their head-set to a more ‘social’ approach.

[Read more...]

RSS Heart Marketers using RSSAs a marketer, you have countless new ways to get news, industry information, keep an eye on your competition, listen to what your customers say, et al.

You can visit blog and news websites, you can use social bookmarking sites, such as Digg or Stumble Upon, or news aggregators such as Alltop or Popurls, take a dip in your Twitter stream or do a search in Google.

Personally I use a lot of these tools. But my favourite one is good old RSS. I love my RSS Reader.

[Read more...]