In mid-September, I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Bernadette Boas’ new book, “Shedding the Corporate Bitch.” You can read the blog I wrote about her book here.
During the party at Tongue & Groove Forever in Atlanta, my role was to give the party a decidedly more social spin to it. Fortunately, I was able to use many tips from my husband Adam, who had run the social aspects of the CNN Heroes Show in 2010. So here’s the top 6 tips to make your event more social:
1. Choose Your Hashtag
Prior to your event, decide upon the hashtag to use during your event. My husband used #CNNHeroes, and we used #bitchparty. Start publicizing the hashtag to your social networks, tell people about it in your email campaigns, and possibly even include it in the original invitation. Especially on the day of the event, publicize this hashtag multiple times to let people know about it.
Best practice: To avoid diluting your efforts, only choose ONE hashtag and stick with it!
2. Set Up a Social Suite
During the CNN Heroes show, celebrities were escorted to a “social suite” with 5 computers, where they could log onto their social networks and post or tweet about the event. At the book launch party, we had two computers set up, and one staff member (myself) who was there to encourage people to post. I even helped one woman tweet for the first time ever!
We focused on Twitter during the book launch party, since at the time, there wasn’t an easy way to track posts on Facebook. That’s all changed, now that Facebook has installed “Sharing insights” and you can easily track who has shared your content. You could create a post on your client’s Facebook page, encourage people to “Like” your client’s page, and then “Share” the post with their friends. It’s important to have a way to capture Facebook users since not everybody uses Twitter.
We also set up a Tweetchat for the hashtag #bitchparty. Tongue & Groove had multiple TV screens which broadcast the Tweetchat in real time. Therefore, as people tweeted using that hashtag, they were able to see their posts on the big screen immediately and they loved it! Here’s one of my favorite tweets of the night:
Best practice: Log into Tweetchat as your client so people can see your client’s custom graphics.
3. Walk Around the Party With an iPad
During the party, we had a staff member walk around and offer to let people tweet or post on Facebook from an iPad. Not everybody will take advantage of the “social suite”, but will find it difficult to refuse somebody who walks up and offers the use of an iPad. This was also done at the CNN Heroes show.
Best practice: The person carrying the iPad should know how to use it, and using somebody young and attractive who is assertive and persuasive is a plus!
4. Run Contests that Involve Tweets
During Bernadette’s party, we gave out small stickers to people each time they tweeted, to be applied to their business card. At the end of the night, we collected the business cards and whomever had the most stickers won a prize. You could also encourage tweets and use of the hashtag by asking trivia questions during the party, and asking people to post their responses on Twitter using your hashtag. The winner of these prizes can chosen at random.
Best practice: Plan out the trivia questions and ask the announcer or DJ at your event to ask the trivia questions at scheduled times.
5. Don’t Forget to Respond!
Of course, somebody needs to monitor and respond during the event! I followed Tweetchat on a netbook during Bernadette’s party and responded to people’s tweets, or RT’d them. This rewards people with a bit of “love” for participating in your social event, and also further spreads the use of your hashtag. I commented on happenings during the event, such as people who attended and received prizes during the party. Partygoers loved seeing their own tweets on the big screen and seeing RTs too!
Best practice: The best way to respond is through Tweetchat, since you are able to respond as the client (or guest of honor). Again, this gives your client more publicity and social currency.
6. Use Video
Although we didn’t do this during our event, we could have set up a Live Streaming feed of Bernadette’s comments, using Ustream. An app which can be used to live stream your event right onto your Facebook page is Milyoni.
Best practice: While you have the live streaming video, you might try to show other parts of the event, including your screens with Tweetchat.
So there you have it… let me know of other ways to make your party more social!