Just because you’re working hard on those social media resolutions doesn’t mean you’re not still doing cool things off the Web. You still have your meet ups, your local events, your community gatherings, your sponsorships and, of course, you’re still the resident browner baker for your school district. So why not get the best of both worlds by using the Web to help you promote not only what you’re doing online, but what you’re doing offline, as well?
Have a local event, training or meet up you want to spread the word about? Here are six ways to use the Internet to your advantage.
1. Talk Early To Generate Buzz
One of the most effective ways to promote an offline event on the Web is to start early and build that first touch of buzz. Maybe it’s a blog post announcing a conference you’ll be speaking at or it’s some early photos as you prepare for your company birthday party or photos of a product you currently have in development. By using social media outlets like your blog, Facebook, Tumblr, etc, to tease people about what’s coming down the pipeline you build awareness for what’s happening offline and create that initial excitement. It’s that first spark of interest that’s going to make someone want to tune in or show up in person to see what the commotion is all about.
2. Make It A Facebook Event
If it’s an offline event, why not make it a Facebook event? Small business owners can create Facebook events around product releases, community events, things happening in-store, and anything else. By doing so you give people a place to gather and talk about what’s going on. You’re able to share information with your audience, take advantage of targeted Facebook advertising, and it can be used to incent others to promote your event in their own networks. After the event, you can also send a call-to-action encouraging users to upload media (photos, videos) from the event that you can host on your Facebook page.
3. Blog About It
In the weeks leading up to your event make sure you dedicate some time to blogging about it. Announce the event, talk about what you’re doing to prepare, host some giveaways or special offers that will be taking place at the event, etc. Blogging about what you’re doing can help get the word out and it also gives people in your community something they can share to encourage their friends to come out, as well.
4. Turn it Into a #hashtag
A hashtag is a symbol used to group or mark related information on Twitter. Hashtags are often created by topic (#business) or by event (#blogworld) to help people find the information they’re after or to associate themselves with something that’s happening on a larger scale. For example, Affiliate Summit is an affiliate marketing conference that just took place in Las Vegas earlier this week. Attendees of the conference used the hashtag #asw12 to talk about what they learned, get information from sessions they weren’t at, or just to meet up at the networking events. Trying to get people talking about an event you’re creating or are part of? Assign it a hashtag and encourage people to use it when talking about the event. Twitter is a great way to connect with people online about your offline event, both before, after and during!
5. Allow People To Register Online
Just because the event is taking place offline doesn’t mean you can’t let people sign up and tell everyone they’re coming via online channels. Use a site like Eventbrite to create an online registration page that you can share, promote, and drive traffic to. Creating this page will also allow others to see who ELSE is attending and give you some social proof to drum up registrations.
6. Use Video
Video is another great way to spark buzz about your event. You can create a video of yourself talking about what’s coming up, film the preparations or even encourage attendees to upload videos talking about why they’re so excited about your event. This gives people something to share and produces a different type of content you can put on your site and show off to visitors.
There’s no shortage of ways small business owners can use the Web to promote offline events. And the earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to