A reader writes . . .
Hi Barbara - My name is Mark McGinnis and I'm not sure just how I got on your mailing list - but it was good timing for this...
My wife (Kim) and I are new to offering Seminars. I saw that you got 77 people signed up for your event. You promoted this just on Facebook? Have not tried that - is social media a good place to get localized attendees to register for events? We have noticed that about half of the people that do sign up for seminars - just don't show up. We are looking at new incentives and such but that is something you may want to keep in mind for your events as well.
I have a new Manifest Passive Income Seminar scheduled for Boulder Co - in early December. Please let me know any tips you have for gaining registrants (other than print mailings and Radio spots which we do). Social media sounds intriguing.
All the best,
Thanks for writing. By the way, you got on my list when you purchased How to fill seminar seats using the power of free publicity, an interview I did with Jenny Hamby, the seminar marketing pro. So, thanks for buying my ebook and for reading my newsletters! Visit Jenny’s blog SeminarSavvy to search for seminar marketing tips.
Yes, social media can be a good place to get localized attendees to register for events, especially when you start a group to build a following and then begin to promote your events.
The people who showed up for our event enjoy being social media activists. One participant invited a dozen friends; that’s the power of word of mouth. When your topic is compelling and valuable to your audience, they will spread the word for you. Setting up a Facebook event is relatively simple. Like most marketing and communications, the more strategic you are, the better your results. To get started with Facebook, check out this list of 100 Facebook marketing tools and read my article on how to use Facebook to market local events.
In thinking about the answer to your question, here are four steps to marketing seminars on social media sites.
Step One: Seek out the right social networks
Where do your clients congregate online?
Survey your clients to find out which social networks they use: LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, YouTube, flickr, ning. Ask about subgroups – join the groups they’re in and start your own. To meet the social media leaders in your community, search “[community] social media” and people and events will pop up. Colorado’s social media scene is very vibrant; you’ll learn a lot and make some valuable connections.
Step Two: Tune into conversations
What are they talking about? How do you and your seminars fit into what’s on their minds?
If you’re on twitter, you know the value of being able to communicate in 140 characters or less. Many seminars talk around the value and the actual product. The more people have to think about why they would attend, the less likely they will be to sign up. I think you have to be absolutely clear up front about what you’re promoting: coaching, information products, home study courses, workshops, affiliate programs, etc.
Step Three: Choose Your Social media tools
How much updating do you really want to do?
Participating in a social network requires being active and reaching out. Answering questions on LinkedIn a few times a week may be more your style than publishing a blog post every day. But, checking into Facebook and updating may turn out to be more fun and rewarding than you expect it will be. Think about time and why what you’re saying is relevant. Money is usually not an issue, but having images is. You can record and upload videos with a flip camera that costs less than $150. To add lift, send out a series of multimedia news releases before and after your seminar that include links to your social networking sites.
Step Four: Add Value
How do you and your seminars fit into their lives?
I’m not surprised that 50% of the the people who sign up for free seminars don’t show up. Why would they? They haven’t made a commitment to you – or to themselves. Charging a small token fee in exchange for information is one way to get them to commit in exchange for receiving something of value. You might get them to register on a site like Eventbrite – that way you capture their information and manage the registrations automatically.
Your turn: Where do you find about seminars? Does being able to see who else is going, like on Facebook, have any weight in your decision-making?
Image: Barbara Rozgonyi presenting Blogging for Business