How to Use Online Social Media Events to Improve Your Marketing

social media how toAre you providing online opportunities for your fans and customers to come together?

Would you like to make better connections with prospects?

Social media is a powerful tool for organizing and directing community activity.

And the cool part is it’s much easier to pull off than you might think.

social-media-keyboard

Use social media to connect with people. Image source: iStockPhoto.

In this article you’ll find four different kinds of events you can create on social media to connect you with prospects and help you build your brand.

#1: Schedule Focus Group Sessions Using Google Hangouts

Focus groups and customer feedback sessions are an important part of growing a successful business. In order to grow, you need to make sure that you’re satisfying your existing customers’ needs, as well as identifying opportunities to do more business with them.

You also need to find out what’s currently keeping potential customers from using your product or service. Focus groups help you identify ways to adjust your offering to capture a larger share of the market.

Google+ hangouts are a great way to coordinate customer feedback or focus group sessions with your target audience.

lake-nona-pools-hangout

Lake Nona Pools uses Google Hangouts to answer customer questions on a range of topics and get feedback on their services.

To schedule a focus group or customer feedback session using Google+ hangouts and social media events, first create a signup poll or some other way to capture the contact information from people who are interested in participating.

Set the dates and times for your hangout before you send this out and ask people to indicate which hangout they’d be able to attend.

Although hundreds of viewers can watch the hangout, only 10 active participants can interact with each other, so you’ll have to make sure you keep your numbers below that if you want to give everyone a voice.

Once you get the responses, figure out whom you want to invite to each session. Then create the events and send your guests an invitation to join the appropriate event. Just prior to the event, send a reminder so no one misses out!

Google+ hangouts are a useful tool to create focus groups and customer feedback sessions.

#2: Orchestrate Virtual Launches on Facebook

Use Facebook to create a virtual launch event to leverage the reach of your Facebook community.

Just because someone likes your page, there’s no guarantee they’ll see all of your status updates, thanks to of the filters Facebook applies to the news feed.

When you’re coordinating online activity for a virtual launch, Facebook events are great way to get around those filters and communicate with your audience about your event.

Remember, you don’t always need to host a live event to create a Facebook event. For example, many bands create an event for the launch of their new album, even if there’s no live show accompanying the launch.

facebook-event

Creating an event on Facebook.

Promoting something with a Facebook event lets you develop a more accessible audience and generate sustained interest for the event.

When you set up a Facebook event and people join, you can send mass messages to all of them at one time. Use these messages to stay in touch with your audience and create anticipation as you work up to the launch. The event also generates a reminder on each guest’s profile when the big day arrives.

Because Facebook doesn’t allow pages to send event invitations, be sure to let people know they’re welcome to spread the word and share the event with their friends!

Use Facebook events to stay connected and reach more fans during a virtual launch.

#3: Invite Customers to Product Webinars

You can use Google+ Hangouts to host your product webinars.

Hosting product demos or webinars about your products and services is a great way to generate leads for your business. When you use social media to promote your demo or webinar, you make it much easier for word to spread throughout groups of your target audience.

If you’re active on Facebook, Google+ or a niche network, be sure to use social media to invite your network to your webinars.

google+ hangout

Social Media Examiner held a Google+ Hangout to promote their event and shared this update on Google+.

These social media updates are easily sharable and allow your followers to spread the word to their own networks and groups. Humans tend to congregate in groups that share similar traits. When someone matches your target audience, chances are good that other people in his or her networks will too.

By using social media to invite the people in your social networks to your product demos and webinars, you’re likely to increase attendance and generate more leads. 

#4: Host In-person Networking Events

Leverage your social media networks to create networking events beneficial for your business.

In today’s marketplace, one of the most valuable assets is being able to connect people or companies with mutual interests where everyone benefits from the connection.

A great way to leverage this is to create a networking event for your industry on social media. Using social media events to organize gatherings for your particular industry puts you at the center of the exchange of information.

twitter-chat

Use Twitter chats as recurring events to stay at the center of your industry.

You’ll be the hub people think of when they have interesting news to share. As the host of a networking event, you’ll be well-connected and able to provide useful and valuable insights. Of course, you can capitalize on these opportunities and offer your own services or pass them along to someone else.

Networking events on social media allow you to build a larger network of peers, colleagues and customers.

Conclusion

Use these tactics to coordinate and promote events on your own social media platforms, create more connections, build stronger customer relations, extend the reach of your marketing and generate more leads.

What do you think? How do you use social media events to connect with prospects and build your brand? Share with us in the comments section below!

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Alon Popilskis

Alon Popilskis is a consultant with Smart SEO Designs, an NYC based agency that provides search engine optimization (SEO) and reputation management services. You can follow him on Twitter @smartseodesigns. Other posts by »




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  • http://dainlewis.com/ Take Action Podcast

    Cool idea Alon. Google hangouts are becoming a more viable and cheap options to use as webinars to pitch a product or service. i like the idea of using Facebook to announce it.

  • http://dainlewis.com/ Take Action Podcast

    Cool idea Alon. Google hangouts are becoming a more viable and cheap options to use as webinars to pitch a product or service. i like the idea of using Facebook to announce it.

  • http://www.yoavezer.com/ Yoav

    Alon. That is pretty cool

    I’m wondering.. what is the benefit to the company or person that is holding the networking event?

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    In-person networking events are probably the most effective of the four. Nothing will ever beat a true personal touch, something we seem to forget about in today’s business world.

    The only problem with creating a hashtag generated for a specific event is the fact that other marketers tend to piggyback on them for their own promotional uses.

    Any thoughts on how to avoid that from happening?

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    In-person networking events are probably the most effective of the four. Nothing will ever beat a true personal touch, something we seem to forget about in today’s business world.

    The only problem with creating a hashtag generated for a specific event is the fact that other marketers tend to piggyback on them for their own promotional uses.

    Any thoughts on how to avoid that from happening?

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Wow, I made it into a screen grab for Social Media Examiner! Great post, Alon! Obviously, I’m a huge believer in Twitter chats. They are an easy way to build relationships naturally and gradually- both personally and professionally.

    I think in-person events go a long way too. Though we live in a digital-heavy workplace, there’s something about face-to-face interaction that will always have a powerful effect. I love bridging that gap between online and offline to really feel like you know someone!

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Wow, I made it into a screen grab for Social Media Examiner! Great post, Alon! Obviously, I’m a huge believer in Twitter chats. They are an easy way to build relationships naturally and gradually- both personally and professionally.

    I think in-person events go a long way too. Though we live in a digital-heavy workplace, there’s something about face-to-face interaction that will always have a powerful effect. I love bridging that gap between online and offline to really feel like you know someone!

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    I agree… nothing can quite replicate or beat a personal touch!

    I’m not sure that there’s really a way to prevent others from piggybacking on a hashtag but I don’t see it as a problem . You’ll typically run into one of two scenarios:

    1) Hashtag trolls who use your hashtag to promote their own services or brand without contributing anything of value or relevance. While annoying, there isn’t much to worry about as people typically will see this for the spam it is and it shouldn’t detract from you.

    2) For those that are offering relevant messages while promoting their own services off of your hashtag, so be it. By monitoring the conversation and engaging with participants, you’ll keep yourself at the epicenter.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    I agree… nothing can quite replicate or beat a personal touch!

    I’m not sure that there’s really a way to prevent others from piggybacking on a hashtag but I don’t see it as a problem . You’ll typically run into one of two scenarios:

    1) Hashtag trolls who use your hashtag to promote their own services or brand without contributing anything of value or relevance. While annoying, there isn’t much to worry about as people typically will see this for the spam it is and it shouldn’t detract from you.

    2) For those that are offering relevant messages while promoting their own services off of your hashtag, so be it. By monitoring the conversation and engaging with participants, you’ll keep yourself at the epicenter.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Thanks Dain. Google Hangouts continues to grow in popularity as it’s a quick and easy way to connect virtually with small-to-medium sized groups. Additionally, you can repurpose the webinar and turn it into a video testimonial/review, podcast, etc. to help further with promotions.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Thanks Sarah! Definitely agree with Twitter chats being an easy way to engage and build relationships with both potential and current customers.

    With that said, while the various tools in today’s digital marketplace are great for building relationships, growing brand presence and driving traffic (among other things), I still feel that nothing can beat an in-person event when possible.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Thanks Sarah! Definitely agree with Twitter chats being an easy way to engage and build relationships with both potential and current customers.

    With that said, while the various tools in today’s digital marketplace are great for building relationships, growing brand presence and driving traffic (among other things), I still feel that nothing can beat an in-person event when possible.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Hey Yoav, there are quite a few benefits for a company or person holding the networking event. Below are just a few:

    1) You can generate revenue by charging admission.

    2) You can establish yourself or your brand as a thought leader. Just look at the Social Media Marketing conference that SME is hosting – it brings some of the top minds together, which in turn helps to reinforce SME as an organization that helps to drive new ideas and collaboration in the social media space.

    3) Build and strengthen your community.

    4) Builds brand awareness as hosting an event gets people talking about your event. Additionally, speakers and attendees will most likely let their friends and followers know, which further helps with brand recognition.

    5) It allows you or your business to act as an information hub as people will often come to you first with opportunities related to your field which in turn will allow you to capitalize as you can offer your own services if you want before passing the information along to someone else.

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Organizing events, whether virtually or in person, can really give a great boost in promoting your brand. Since these strategies you’ve mentioned are much more personal, they can really level up your social media engagement. Awesome post Alon!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Organizing events, whether virtually or in person, can really give a great boost in promoting your brand. Since these strategies you’ve mentioned are much more personal, they can really level up your social media engagement. Awesome post Alon!

  • http://www.eBizROI.com Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Great post Alon. Google+ hangouts are great and can be used to support panel discussions, broadcast on air, then recorded to become a content marketing asset.

    We used a Facebook event this past fall to successfully promote a local Oktoberfest event and had the highest attendance (10,000) in the four years of the event.

    I had to chuckle at the irony in #3. Using a Google+ hangout on air supporting a discussion on Facebook marketing :)

  • http://www.eBizROI.com Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Great post Alon. Google+ hangouts are great and can be used to support panel discussions, broadcast on air, then recorded to become a content marketing asset.

    We used a Facebook event this past fall to successfully promote a local Oktoberfest event and had the highest attendance (10,000) in the four years of the event.

    I had to chuckle at the irony in #3. Using a Google+ hangout on air supporting a discussion on Facebook marketing :)

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Thank you – completely agree that organizing events can really benefit a brand in so many ways. As I mentioned in a comment above events can really help with growing brand recognition and building trust.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Thanks Rick, glad you enjoyed the article. Congratulations on your success with using Facebook to promote your previous event! It’s amazing how social when used properly can really help to drive traffic online and/or offline.

    As you mentioned recorded Google Hangout sessions should be considered a content marketing asset as the session can be repurposed for generating new content whether it’s a blog post, a podcast, etc.

  • shaun76

    Very nice surprise to see a Google alert for my pool company that was triggered by one of my favorite sites. I’m happy Google+ is getting a little more exposure these days…it’s been an incredible tool for my business.

  • shaun76

    Very nice surprise to see a Google alert for my pool company that was triggered by one of my favorite sites. I’m happy Google+ is getting a little more exposure these days…it’s been an incredible tool for my business.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Yea looks like G+ is approaching the tipping point as more and more people and businesses seem to be embracing it.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Yea looks like G+ is approaching the tipping point as more and more people and businesses seem to be embracing it.

  • Tamar Weiss

    Hi Alon,

    These are some great ideas that work well for B2B. Could anyone share with me when they were able to gauge that they had a strong enough social media presence to make these events successful?

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    I really like #1 because not only is your best prospect a current customer, but once you have enough customers or even better advocates: “your job is no longer to go find more customers for your product, but to go find more products for your customers.”

  • Akash Agarwal

    Great tips. I definitely apply these events to do social media. Thanks for sharing such useful social media tips. It’s a great article for me.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Hi Tamar,

    I think it varies case-by-case. I think it’s important to define what would make an event successful – is it the amount of people that show-up (virtually or physically), the number of qualified leads that you generate, etc. The answer may even vary depending on the event – having 10 people sign-up for your webinar may be considered a success, while having that same amount show up to an in-person event may not.

    Once you’ve outlined your goals for your event, then you need to gauge your social media presence which can be difficult. There’s a great article on this site http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-tools-that-help-measure-your-social-media-influence/ that discusses several tools that measure your social media influence. (You can also check out a post I wrote http://smartseodesigns.com/the-6-elements-of-a-strong-digital-brand/ on developing a strong digital brand). By getting an idea of how often your followers share, comment and otherwise engage with your posts/stories as well as analyzing the traffic to your website you can sort of get an idea as to whether you’ll be able to make your event successful as you define it.

    One thing that I would suggest is that you give your followers enough notice… at least a few weeks and that you use all your properties to promote (social media, your website, newsletter, etc.). The more avenues that you use, the better chance of success.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Agreed. A focus group session is a good way of engaging with current customers and turning then into brand advocates who shape the stories that spread about your brand online.

  • http://www.smartseodesigns.com/ Alon Popilskis

    Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.

  • james joe

    social media marketing is one of the power tool to improve your business..

  • Tamar Weiss

    Thanks Alon! Appreciate the links, I’ll look at them and try to gauge it. :P

  • Pingback: How to Use Online Social Media Events to Improve Your Marketing | The Startup Strategy

  • Jayanta Dey

    Wow… Very good post. I think Social media is a
    two-way conversation to facilitate continuing dialogue, and communication with
    an intended audience. You discuss very well about social media. This article
    will help us to know more about social media.









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