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Social Media Effective Tool for Event Marketers


Though small organizations still rely heavily on traditional marketing channels to promote their events, social media is also an important outreach tool: 77% of event marketers who work for a small business or nonprofit say they use social media to promote their events, and another 14% say they plan to do so in the next year, according to a survey from Constant Contact

Among the 77% of event marketers surveyed who use social media (advertise or engage on social platforms) to promote their events, 73.8% say the channel is extremely effective (23.3%) or somewhat effective (50.5%).

Even so, email and conversations via telephone are ranked highest in effectiveness (extremely or somewhat) among the event marketers who use those tactics to promote events, followed by websites, direct mail, and public relations:  

  • Email: 91.2%
  • Telephone: 86.1%
  • Websites: 77.0%
  • Direct mail: 76.7%
  • Public relations: 74.7%


Only one-half of event marketers rate blogging as extremely effective (4.2%) or somewhat effective (51.0) for promoting events. 

Overall, event marketers appear to view social media marketing as a complementary tool to more traditional tactics.

Below, additional findings from The State of Event Marketing, a report based on a poll of 474 event marketers from small organizations (50 employees or fewer), conducted by Constant Contact.

More than three-quarters of marketers say social media is very important (38%) or somewhat important (41%) to events-promotion efforts.

When in the Event Life Cycle Do Marketers Promote?

Event marketers who use social media were asked to rank their level of social media activity (lightest to heaviest) leading up to a planned event.

Most (60.3%) marketers cite the days just prior to an event as their heaviest social media marketing phase, 26.7% cite one month before the event, and 14.9% cite one to two months prior to the event.

Most Popular Channels: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Facebook is the most popular channel for event promotion: Among those who use social media to promote their events, 88.8% say they use Facebook, followed by Twitter (66.0%) and LinkedIn (53.8%).


Reliance on Twitter and LinkedIn appears to be growing, however: 8% of event marketers plan to start using Facebook to promote events within the next year, while 13% plan to use Twitter and 20% plan to use LinkedIn. 

Goals of Promoting via Social Media

The top reason event marketers are currently using social media is to educate and inform prospects about upcoming events (55.9%), followed by driving word of mouth (40.3%), attracting event attendees (38.7%), and growing email lists (38.2%).


However, event marketers' goals for future social media use are loftier: 66.1% want to use social media to reach more people, 65.0% would like to gather feedback from past event attendees, 62.9% would like to attract more event attendees, and 61.9% would like to remain engaged with past event attendees.

Other key findings:  

  • 30.3% of event marketers use social media monitoring tools; among them 83% use Google alerts, 35% use Hootsuite, 29% use NutshellMail, and 28% use Tweetdeck.
  • 46% of event marketers say they have at least an initial plan for their social media marketing efforts, 10% report having a thorough and refined social media strategy, 34% say they are beginning to think about creating a plan, and 9% say they "should probably start thinking about a plan."
  • Among the event marketers not yet using social media to promote their events, 54% cite "not knowing how" as their top reason and 39% say social media is too time consuming. 

About the survey: The Constant Contact-sponsored survey was fielded in October 2011 to small businesses (50 or fewer employees) that use Constant Contact's event marketing product. Results include responses from 474 marketers across a range of B2B (26%), B2C (26%), and nonprofit (48%) organizations.

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  • by Ken Schmitt Tue Feb 28, 2012 via web

    As the owner of a boutique recruiting and career coaching firm it is imperative that I use all channels for marketing my firm's events. We have found that the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and most importantly LinkedIn have helped increase visibility and attendance and follow up for each workshop and networking event. I am able to reach a wide range of contacts and connections quite easily and it has allowed many clients to attend professional events that have increased their knowledge base and their own networks.
    Ken C. Schmitt

  • by Sam Moss Wed Feb 29, 2012 via web

    Event planning can be huge and the social media marketing involved can be a big as you allow it to be. For most people that scope is more than they can handle which is why I recommend They are experienced in large scale launches and promotions through SocioViral marketing and they really can spread the word.

  • by Jennifer Geisler Thu Mar 22, 2012 via web

    Great article! I completely agree that social media is a great and effective tool for event marketers. Social media is a cost-effective tool in general, as supported by its wide-spread adoption. As a Marketing Director at Cisco, I have found that integrating social/digital media with fundamental aspects of a business, such as conferences and events, yields a great outcome for the user and the business. By streaming live video of the conference/event through a large social media site such as Facebook, I am able to create an interactive community in which users can discuss the latest trending topics and conference themes. This increased participation engages the user before, during and after an event. Social media has eliminated the chance that the event is a "one hit wonder," because it keeps the user thinking even after the event is over. This is the type of return a marketing department would like to see when integrating social/digital media with a conference or event. Thanks again for the informative article, I hope to see more businesses integrate digital and social media into fundamental aspects of their business!

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