Events Past vs. Present Day Event Social Engagement

I’m really excited about Event Camp on February 6th.  I’ll be traveling into NYC and speaking at the Roger Smith Hotel to discuss best practice Engagement Strategy for events (from planning your event to measuring participation/engagement).  As a quick aside, I’ve been walking down memory lane this past week, as my agency cleans out our offices and move to new office space.  As I was packing up some binders, I noticed one in particular that stood out. It was called, “PR/Marketing Event Checklist.”  This was a binder used by PR and Marketing managers at my agency more than 10 years ago.  This was their bible when they were getting ready for an event (from press conferences and tradeshows, to movie screenings and client parties).  It was really funny to take a look at how we planned and promoted events and what we put on the check list back in early 2000.

Here are a few things off the a very large event “To Do” but it gives you a sense of what needed to be list accomplished back in 2000:

  • Develop event micro site
  • Send out a “Save the Date” via email
  • Develop e-vites / RSVP date
  • Distribution of save the date and invitation to approved list
  • Follow-up by telephone to secure attendance
  • Develop launch promotion simultaneously with invitation
    • E-blasts
    • Newsletter e-mailing
    • Event postcard
    • Update promo page on site
  • Media alert with event details
  • News release prior to event and post event release to capture the key highlights of the launch/photo opportunities
  • Develop media package
  • Small gifts for event attendees
  • Reminder e-mail one week prior
  • Prepare Presentation/Signs/Visuals
  • Photographer to take event photos
  • Follow up survey for event participants

There were other “To Dos” on the list but this pretty much captured my agency’s thinking back in 2000.  This list would look significantly different for a 2010 event.  Today, you would see much more social media thinking in your event planning and community building to engage your event participants, long before the program takes place (not to mention afterward too).  What would today’s checklist look like?  Here are a few things I’d put on the list. Feel free to add more!

Social Engagement Event Checklist

  • Set up a Ning site and invite people to create up profiles and participate.
  • Use for invitations and RSVPs
  • Create videos about the event and share them on YouTube (also embed them into your blog, Facebook, etc.) and with conference speakers and bloggers who may be interested in attending.
  • Use a Social Media Release (SMR) to let everyone know the details about the event and to give a glimpse into some of the topics, speakers, etc. and then share it in your social communities.
  • Set up live streaming for the event (
  • Develop an event badge or widget for download.
  • Encourage participants to ask the speakers questions prior to the event to get the discussion going and to see what interests the audience for better participation the day of the program.
  • Ask your speakers to blog about the event and to discuss their topics (to give participants and potential guests an idea of what the session will encompass).
  • Ask speakers or special guests to share event updates within their social networks.
  • Create Twitter hashtags around the event and get the discussion going before the day of the event.  Hashtags should be used during and after the program too.
  • Designate a member of the event committee to tweet during the conference using the hashtag.
  • Take pictures (twitpics) and tweet them out during the event for people to share.
  • Set up an event group or fan page on Facebook to share information photos and video from the event.

This list looks very different than our list from 2000.  Ten years ago we weren’t thinking about the importance of community and participation, and how true engagement and building a community around events leads to success.  What types of strategy do you put in place to capture your audience and to keep them interested and coming back for more events?  I’ll be discussing this on February 6th.  Hope to see you at Event Camp (or at least virtually there)!