10
2009

Christine Whittemore: Integrating Social Into Traditional: 10 Tips For A Remarkable Blogger Event

So, you want to hold a blogger event; something truly social, but perhaps with a corporate sponsorship angle. How would you go about it?

Here’s what I wouldn’t do….

• Issue a fancy flash-based invitation
• Hold a flashy event that focuses more on event sponsors than on the invited bloggers
• Dispense with nametags
• Skip having sponsors tell their story, or if they do have it be in such a manner that nothing can be heard
• Offer extravagant giveaways from the sponsors that, although nice, aren’t relevant to the winning bloggers
• Forget about follow up to find out what worked, what didn’t and further establish a relationship

Do I sound like a marketing heretic? Far from it, I’m a practical marketer who loves how social improves traditional interactions and makes for comfortable and meaningful conversation on- and offline.

You see the tools of social media make possible physical meetings – i.e., meetups where bloggers get together in person and tweetups being meetups organized via Twitter – that capture true magic compared to traditional ones, with more dimension and layers of meaning and a great deal more conversation.

The magic has to do with ‘knowing’ many of the people ahead of time even though you’ve never met them. Why? because you’ve interacted with them online. So, when you do get together in person, it’s as if you were interacting with an old friend. The interaction and conversation have more meaning and substance and the usual get to know awkward chitchat is banished!

The heresy to me is to hold an offline event, invite bloggers, describe it as social when even as a traditional event it fails.

Here, then, are 10 tips on what definitely to do to enhance the sense of social, truly improve on the traditional and offer meaning that benefits all parties:

Start by interacting with bloggers on their sites and then sending them a personalized email invitation.

• Next, issue a more formal group invitation via a Facebook event, e-Vite, Meetup or another relatively low-tech, simple medium that offers transparency. Bloggers like to know who’s been invited and who’s attending.

Share with invitees bio and company information on the event sponsors. Include links to relevant information. If possible, show personality. Remember that the event is about people interacting with people and not with faceless/nameless corporate entities.

Share information about other attending bloggers, including their sites. Adopt the mindset that you are facilitating relationships and paving the way for meaningful conversation between attendees and with the event sponsors and organizers.

At the event, offer nametags. Consider color coding or offering additional information on the nametags to help establish relationships [e.g., Twitter handle, blog name, home town]. Make sure that sponsors and event organizers can be clearly recognized. Mind you, the more details, the easier it is to engage in conversation. Details represent ice breakers.

Set up tables for each sponsor where each can meet, greet, and interact with invited bloggers. Be ready to facilitate interaction among everyone seated at the table. From there, sponsors can tell their story, hear the story of their guests, describe products, ask who wants more information, gather names and then follow up afterwards. If you want to share your product for review or giveaway, this is your opportunity to do so with those for whom the offer is relevant.

• After the event, invite feedback and ask how to improve the event. Offer to make sponsors available for further interaction.

Continue the relationship post-event; consider these participants the first members of your community and treat them respectfully.

Invite them to participate in another event, and to invite others who might be interested.

What would you add to the list?

Interestingly, these ten tips don’t require that an organization be fully immersed in social media. Rather, they require an understanding of true hospitality. They reflect a practical, common-sense, respectful and thorough approach to welcoming people into your fold for meaningful two-way conversation.

Because, in the big scheme of things, isn’t that the type of event that would bring the greatest benefit to all parties?

 Christine Whittemore: Integrating Social Into Traditional: 10 Tips For A Remarkable Blogger Event

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Via : Christine Whittemore: Integrating Social Into Traditional: 10 Tips For A Remarkable Blogger Event

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