Using Social Media to Promote Your Event: Step 2

Podcamp Hawaii logo t-shirt at our custom shop on SpreadshirtWe are planning a Podcamp Hawaii here. We are also using it as a demonstration project for how to plan a conference using the fabulous (and mostly free) tools of social media. You can read the Step 1 post here.

Set up a Logo Shop to Sell T-Shirts

  • Since our event is free, we decided to let people purchase their own t-shirts. This saves us from guessing how many and what sizes. It also lets anyone anywhere buy a t-shirt and help us promote the Podcamp Hawaii brand.
  • We used Spreadshirt, because it is a social web application. We can add our logo to many different designs, and users can even create their own items using the logos we have uploaded to the site.
  • We can click a button to also have our products and our logos listed in the public marketplace. Most likely, we will get a few more registrations from people who find us there.
  • Each product allows buyers to upload pics of them wearing the t-shirt they have bought too!
  • Spreadshirt allows us to create a customized shop featuring out own masthead and choice of products. There is even a t-shirt for the dogs.

Prepare Your Sponsorship Packages

  • Use the technique of “crowd-sourcing” to speed up the process. All past and upcoming podcamp events are listed on the official Podcamp Wiki. Visit several of them and look at both how they established their rates and who are the committed sponsors. If a company was successful at one podcamp, they will be very likely to want to sponsor the next event in the series.
  • Post the plans as a web page (good for search results and readability) and also as a PDF for a nice, printable version for download. Be sure to indicate on the link it is a PDF! (Web courtesy 101.)
  • Begin announcing them on Twitter and tap into your network to do the same. We are actually getting calls from companies who want to sponsor – without having approached them first!
  • Post the sponsor information on the host web site as soon as you have confirmation. We want to give instant gratification to those who are stepping up to support our event.

Use a Social Web Service to Collect Registrations

  • Online registration sites have been available for many years. Now though, you can find ones with social web features that extend your event beyond the confines of your own network.
  • We chose Eventbrite, because it allows us all the great traditional features of tracking registration counts but it also features our event (if we choose, and we do!) in their community.
  • It allows us to tag our event to help other people and search engines discover us.
  • It allows us to customize our page and add a custom header graphic.
  • It has one-click “share” options to other sites such as Digg and del.icio.us.
  • It generates and RSS feed of all events we create. This is really useful if you put on a new event each month, as people who like and use RSS can be notified in this way.

Create Badges for Others to Post on Their Sites

  • Many bloggers love badges as it’s a way of strengthening their personal brand. They get to associate themselves with other high profile events, as well as products and services.
  • Badges make it easy for those who love you to easily tell their connections about our event.
  • By making them ourselves, we control the brand of our event as it gets distributed out on the web.
  • Of course all of these inbound links from other high-ranking sites boost our search results very nicely too!

The important takeaway of this blog series is that you can use these tools for any type of conference. Even if you choose to just use one or two, you are already ahead of the game when it comes to traditional event planning. So please tell me, out of the many tools mentioned in these first two steps, which one)s) do you think you’ll incorporate into planning your next event? And if you’re still holding out, don’t worry, There’s more to come!

UPDATE: I changed the title of this post and the previous one to better reflect the content. Used to be “Planning a Web 2.0 Conference.”