As we’ve worked with more and more events over the last couple of years, we’ve come to realize the importance of building lasting relationships that provide promotional value to everyone involved. Don’t get me wrong, everything we do is about building lasting and valuable relationships through social media with people who can help spread the word. But we’ve taken that a step further with our event clients by building cross-promotional partnerships on their behalf – what we call Social Media Partnerships.
What are Social Media Partnerships and how can they be valuable to your event? They provide a way for you to team up with a company or organization to create mutually-beneficial social media marketing opportunities. Many events (like conferences and trade shows) have sponsors and media partners who help promote the event to their audiences in a variety of ways – such as banners, offers and promotions, and coverage. By adding a Social Media Partnership level, you can create additional opportunities for promotion of your event through social media channels – not just Twitter or Facebook, but via groups, blogs, forums, newsletters and online communities. There’s incredible potential in Social Media Partnerships to reach hundreds or even thousands of prospective attendees through partner networks.
What to look for in a Social Media Partner:
- Relevance: Look for blogs, online communities, or associations with the most potential to reach your audience. Conduct research for those discussing or championing topics covered at your event.
- Reach: Vet prospective partners based on how many of the right people they’re reaching. Find out how many newsletter subscribers, blog readers, group members and social network followers they have (Twitter, Facebook, etc).
- Opportunity: Identify as many different opportunities a partner can offer to promote your event. Can they write a blog post, tweet, post to their Facebook page, or run a banner? How about including a mention in their next newsletter or podcast?
How can you leverage Social Media Partnerships for your event?
A Social Media Partnership is about building a mutually-beneficial relationship with the partnering company or organization, while getting as much promotional value as possible from the partnership. We work with our event clients to put together an agreement that outlines exactly what both sides will be providing and receiving. If you already have a trade and barter agreement for other marketing and media partnerships, it will provide a good template for a Social Media Partnership agreement. The main difference, however, will be the inclusion of social media promotion and exposure.
Here are a few strategies you can use:
- Co-branding opportunities: Offer logo exposure on your event website and in onsite printed materials (such as show programs and signage) as a Social Media Partner, while your Partner runs a banner or logo on their website. A high-profile, credible Partner will lend brand equity to your event and raise its profile through their endorsement. You can also give your Partners exposure through your Facebook page, or even by adding their videos to your event’s YouTube playlist.
- Exclusive offers and discounts: Remember, a Partnership will need to provide value to the Partner and to their readers or members. For instance, you could give them an exclusive discount code to offer their communities online.
- Contests and promotions: Provide a free pass to your event for your Partner to give away through a contest on their website or via Twitter. Here’s a great example of a giveaway held on CodeBetter, an online community for web developers and programmers. Through a partnership with our client, Visual Studio Live!, they gave away a pass to attend a conference and even chipped in money for travel expenses!
- Social capital: Leverage your Partner’s social networks by asking for tweets, posts on their Facebook page, or through their LinkedIn group (if they have one). Provide them with tweets and trackable links they can use (like a campaign tracking URL to your website shortened through a service like Bitly).
- Email communications: Ask for a mention for your event in your Partner’s next newsletter before the event, or even for a dedicated promotional email sent to their list (where you agree to provide them with the HTML content).
- Coverage: Provide your Partner with a press pass to attend your event and cover it for their blog or publication. This will result in even more exposure both during and after your event!
- Onsite advertising opportunities: If it’s appropriate for your Partner and space is available, offer a small booth space to them so they can get in front of your attendees. Another option may be to provide them space in the press room for their marketing materials.
Do you currently leverage social media relationships for event partnerships? If so, how? Tell us how it’s working for you!