Over the past several months there has been a significant increase in the number of social media-related events occurring nationwide. These events range from formal educational seminars and full-day events with multiple speakers to networking social events and tweetups over lunch or on a weeknight. If the target audience for your business is using social media, which is increasingly the case, it makes business sense for your company to start participating in these events through event sponsorship.
If you have been a blog reader of mine from the past, you’ll know that I am a co-founder of ConnectOC, a group of passionate professionals in Orange County, California who engage in social media for professional networking as well as their own businesses (by the way, that’s a picture of 10 of the 12 ConnectOC Organizing Committee Members you’re looking at that we took yesterday). Before our first event, I blogged about how businesses can attract new businesses through social media events. Our 2nd event is tomorrow, and we have grown to be sponsored by more than 60 companies donating goods, with all proceeds going to charity, worth more than $10,000.
Why would 60+ businesses want to sponsor an event like ConnectOC? Here are 5 good reasons why:
1) Promotion Through Social Media Drives Viral Word of Mouth
A good social media event will also promote itself, and its sponsors, through the different social networking websites. This means that your company name should be spread around a good number of tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn comments that will help gain visibility for your business. Because of the fact that participants in these events like to share information through social media, often the viewers of these tweets will end up spreading the word to their own network if they find the information valuable through ReTweets, Likes, and Shares. All of this means that, because these events promote themselves naturally through social media, your business will benefit by riding this viral word of mouth.
Here’s an example for the ConnectOC event for tomorrow night. Sanyo was nice enough to donate an HD video camera for our silent auction to raise money for charity. All it took was one tweet from our ConnectOC Twitter account to start a conversation that got ReTweeted by Sanyo and then other participants. The ConnectOC Twitter account only has a few hundred followers, but you can see through TweetReach how the conversation reached more than 3,500 people in 5 tweets:
2) Helps Promote Your Social Media Properties
Promotion for any social media event happens through websites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If done right, this promotion will include links to your Twitter account on tweets and Facebook Page when posted on Facebook. Notice how when ConnectOC promoted Sanyo, they used the exact Twitter handle for that Sanyo product. Now anyone who viewed the tweet will more than likely go to that Twitter URL to find out more about the product and hopefully start following the company for more information. If you’re set up in social media and looking to promote your properties to get more engagement, you are a prime candidate to sponsor these events.
3) Generates Conversations for Your Business to Engage In
Many people that read the tweets and Facebook posts engage with them through @Replys, ReTweets and Likes. If someone “Likes” a comment about your company’s product, why don’t you take it one step further and actually engage with that person? In this way, you can start trying to bring these new users into your community, adding to your fan base and ideally developing new business from them or their friends sometimes in the feature. Sponsoring social media events gives you the data points and opportunities to engage with your target audience.
4) Aligns Your Business with the Social Media Savvy
Let’s face it: Social media is the rage. Most businesses are still trying to figure out how to incorporate it into their corporate marketing strategies. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to align your business with those that already “get” it? These are usually the organizers of, and speakers and participants at, these events. Your signing up for event sponsorship of such an event gives you the ability to align yourself with the social media savvy, and in doing so, learn from and actually have a chance to potentially meet the thought leaders in your particular geographical location. This can lead to educational and networking opportunities that can help bring your company’s marketing and new media presence to the next level.
5) Gives Your Business the Chance to Network with Your Target Audience
This blog post began with the notion that your target audience is probably attending these new media events. Since social media was made for people, not businesses, why don’t you now attend the event and network with your target audience? Meet those who tweeted about your product or who liked your Facebook post about your event sponsorship. Take pictures and videos that you can now share through social media and “tag” those fans that are pictured in front of our sign or holding your product. In doing so, you, and indirectly your business, will become the (social media) talk of the town.
Now you can understand why I always include a recommendation for my social media strategy consulting clients to get involved in these events through event sponsorship as a logical and cost-effective promotional tool.
Where do you go from here? If you are in Southern California and need help finding event sponsorship opportunities, please contact me. Globally, you should check out your local chapter of the Social Media Club, who are striving to become the professional industry association for all those involved in new media. I am also proud to be on the leadership team of the Social Media Club of Orange County.
Does your business have positive social media event sponsorship experiences? More reasons you have for companies to sign on and sponsor these events? Please chime in!