February 10th, 2012 By Jack Morton
I’ve worked with dozens of clients who have asked the question “How do I incorporate Social Media into my event?” At face value, this seems like a simple question, with a simple answer. Many would default to – here’s how to build your presence on Facebook, or Linkedin, or Twitter. I believe the best answer to this question is… another question. “What are your objectives for the event?” or “Why do you want to add social media?” When you distill all the answers down, you get to the heart of the matter. “We want to build a community around our event.”
Community. A powerful word indeed. This of course begs the question, “How do you build a community?” or “How long does it take to build a community?” Building a true community is a complex exercise, and takes a long time. When I think of the most effective communities I belong to, the process takes years and is always evolving. Given that the average event is just a few days, how can we possibly think that we can build a community simply by attaching some arbitrary social media sites or content to an event and create a community in such a short amount of time? An event is a point in time, communities (and relationships) are longer term.
This tells me that the logic behind the question is flawed. What we should really be asking is, “How can you make your event relevant to the communities that matter most to your company?” or “How can you participate in the ongoing social conversation most effectively?” It’s not about how you can incorporate social media into your event at all. It’s about how you can incorporate your event into social media.