Event Marketers Turn to Social Media

constantcontact-effectiveness-event-marketing-channels-feb-2012.jpg77% of event marketers are using social media to promote and market events, and another 14% are planning to do next year, while roughly three-quarters who use social media believe it to be effective, according to results from a Constant Contact survey of its customers, released in February 2012. Respondents ranked social media ahead of print (69%) in terms of effectiveness, but behind other channels such as email (91%), phone (86%), and online event marketing/management tools (85%). Overall, almost 4 in 5 event marketers said that social media is either somewhat or extremely important to them as a marketing tool.

Strategies Not Yet Fully Formed

Data from “The State of Event Marketing” indicates that 59% of event marketers want help in creating or refining a social media marketing strategy. 46% say they have an initial social media plan, and a further one-third say they do not yet have one, but plan to create one. Only 1 in 10 report having a thorough and refined strategy.

Social Media Goals Are Widespread

Event marketers are using social media to assist their efforts in a number of areas. 56% said they use the channel to educate and inform others about their events, while 40% use it to drive word-of-mouth. 39% are using social media to get repeat attendees, and 35% to get more attendees.

Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds want to use social media to get feedback about their event or to reach more people, while slightly more than 3 in 5 are hoping to use the channel to stay connected with past attendees.

Facebook Top Social Media Tool

Among those using social media to market their events, Facebook (89%) is by far the most popular tool, ahead of Twitter (66%), and LinkedIn (54%). 42% have a blog, matched by the proportion who have created and posted event marketing videos to YouTube.

61% use their social networks in the days prior to the event, while about half use them 4 weeks before the event. Roughly half believe they have some idea which social networks their audience engages with.

Lead Gen Top Event Goal

Meanwhile, according to [download page] a survey released in January 2012 by BtoB magazine and Marketo, lead generation is the top event program goal, cited by 83% of B2B marketers heaviliy invested in events. Other goals include customer engagement (72%), brand building (72%), product education and training (57%), driving demand (46%), and customer upsell (32%).

About the Data: The Constant Contact results are based on a survey administered in October 2011 to small businesses and nonprofits using Constant Contact’s event marketing product. Of the 474 respondents, 48% were non-profit, 26% were B2C, and 26% were B2B, of up to 50 employees. All of them had a role in overseeing or managing events and their promotion for their respective organizations and held an average of 16 events a year.

The BtoB and Marketo survey was conducted in June 2011, and resulted in 309 completed responses from B2B marketers who allocated an average of 20% of their budgets to events. The respondents averaged about 28 events per year each, with a slight edge (16 to 12, on average) given to the number of live events versus virtual events.