Is your event worth sharing?

Runners in the marathon and half-marathon distance of Riga Marathon 2012

Runners in the marathon and half-marathon distance of Riga Marathon 2012

Events these days are typical moments to go all out on social media, or rather social technology. Whether it is a film festival or a marathon, using social technologies can create an enormous buzz around your event. This, of course, might contribute to making it successful this time, but the impact might be even better visible the next time around.

As an example, let’s take the Nordea Riga Marathon that was held last weekend. Of course, there was a special twitter account, a Facebook page, presence on Draugiem. But there was more. Important locations for the event (the Expo in hotel Latvia, the start and finish line) where added to Foursquare. Then, there was the opportunity for people to follow their favorite runners (often friends or spouses) and send them a personal message which would be displayed on screens along the route.

Using all these moment that people want to share, to enable people to share does not only ensure a lot of exposure of your event, but it will also make people feel more connected to it. The participants, but also their friends. This connectedness will give you a good start for making the event even bigger and better next time. The organisation of the Nordea Riga Marathon really understands this, and they even have opportunity to make more use of the technology that is already in use. The RFID chips, or bibs, used in the runners numbers for time measurement, can easily be connected to Foursquare and Facebook for automatic check-ins at start and finish. And how about automated check-ins at locations of interest along the route, such as the Vansu bridge or Riga’s Old Town, combined with the check-points for time measurement.

What is important when using social technology for event marketing, is to find those moments that people want to share, enable them to share these (with their permission, of course), see what technology you are already using and how you can put turn that into social sharing technology, and last but not least: ensuring that you collect data about all this social activity, so that you can use that to measure the impact this has on your event. Maybe this makes it easier to find sponsors, maybe there will be more people signing up next year, maybe you can sell more merchandising. But if you don’t measure, you will never know. Without this kind of information, it will be hard to decide where to focus your resources. And don’t forget: you are not only aiming to promote the current edition of the event, but also future editions.

This post is an expansion of my monthly contribution to the newsletter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia.

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