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Today’s Brainzooming article comes from San Diego where I’m speaking to the Virtual Edge Summit (#VES12) this afternoon on using “Social Media Strategy to Drive Virtual Events.” This presentation combines two of my favorite strategy topics – events and social media strategy – with content covering how creating a meaningful social media strategy for an event starts when designing the entire event experience – whether virtual or face-to-face.

Since we have a lot to cover in the one-hour presentation at the Virtual Edge Summit, the links below which follow the presentation structure provide additional support information – whether from the Brainzooming website or other reference pieces.

While created for #VES12 attendees, the list is beneficial for anyone who is trying to get the benefits of incorporating social media as a part of an event strategy – whether that’s for a large organization, a small business, nonprofits, or even for your local church, school, or professional group.

Social Media Strategy Basics

Creating Fantastic Content Before, During, and After Your Event

Getting Your Event and Content Noticed

Social Media ROI

Other Resources

– Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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It is beneficial to save ideas you brainstormed but did not use since they may work for someone else or at a later time for you. Today’s post is a great example of this principle where you can save ideas to offer them to someone else later.

I chaired a global market research virtual event for the American Marketing Association in 2010. As part of our virtual event planning, we did a Brainzooming creativity session and brainstormed ideas to take best advantage of our virtual event opportunity. We brainstormed several hundred ideas, many of which were specific social media ideas for how to drive virtual event success.

Flash forward two years, and I will be speaking Monday afternoon at the Virtual Edge Institute 2012 conference on using social media ideas to drive virtual events by growing attendance and creating greater engagement.

Recently, I went back through our final Brainzooming report document from the 2010 American Marketing Association virtual event and identified out this list of 51 social media ideas to drive virtual events.

Many of the social media ideas could apply to any type of event or even other marketing programs. But since it does not make much sense to go through a list of 51 ideas during a presentation, the list is shared for you and all the attendees at the Monday Virtual Edge Institute session (4 pm PDT on Monday, January 9). Please feel free to borrow any of these ideas and adapt them to suit your organization’s purposes. And if you would like to follow along during Monday’s session, be sure to track the Twitter hashtag #VES12!

Attendance Building

1. Create a micro-site for the conference – drive members there via email campaigns

2. Create themed web badges for speakers/sponsors/exhibitors to put on their sites

3. Crowd source a “10 Ways to Sell Your Attendance to Your Boss” list

4. Offer a free association membership for life as a contest give-away

5. Do a weekly give away on social media channels leading up to the conference

6. Extend offers at special times of the day

7. Extend offers for the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

8. Offer a dramatic prize for the 500th registrant for the digital event

9. Sponsor a scholarship program for out of work attendees to participate

10. Provide an offer to digital event attendees to attend future in-person events at a reduced rate

11. Give previous attendees a discount for referrals, plus free attendance for the person who gets the most referrals over some target number

Interactivity

12. Actively build the Twitter following for the event’s Twitter account well in advance of the event

13. Develop a conference / event app

14. Host a monthly, industry-oriented Twitter chat leading up to or kicking off with the digital event

15. Create an event word cloud that evolves over the day

16. Crowd source a “What the future of the industry looks like” video or article

17. Crowd source nominations for annual awards via social networks

18. Crowd source the theme for the next digital event

19. Conduct a pre-event session on how to get more out of the conference through social media

20. Hold a webinar for attendees before the conference on maximizing the value of the digital event experience

21. Have a live viewing session for the digital event in high-density membership areas

22. Have an online interaction area for attendees and speakers

23. Invite industry professionals to share content for the event community website

24. Monitor the event Twitter feed and introduce people to each other

25. Produce the social media content at the event with a team approach

26. Offer an incentive for attendees to blog or live tweet about the conference

27. Provide exclusive digital interactions with speakers at the event

Networking

28. Allow attendees to post resumes and job opportunities in the virtual event

29. Create a buddy / mentoring system for senior and junior people in the industry to reach out to each other, network, and schedule time together at the event

30. Do a virtual speed-networking event

31. Pair people up with similar interests at the conference through a community matching approach

32. Provide different avatar backgrounds for attendees to indicate their interest areas, experience, event objectives, etc.

33. Provide a means to network and pre-schedule meetings with suppliers or clients through a social media platform

Presentations / Content

34. Best rated / most popular breakout sessions (as identified through social media channels) are repeated in a general session

35. Crowd source a final recap presentation by soliciting ideas throughout the meeting via Twitter and other social networks

36. Crowd source session ideas from among social networks

37. Crowd source virtual event word of the day ideas from attendees

38. Host a global panel with Skype/video participation from all over the world

39. Do a session based on crowd sourcing a list of industry predictions that did/didn’t come true

40. Have attendees submit their own 1-2 minute videos that are compiled and shown

41. Have featured presenters doing a running commentary on social networks throughout the event

42. Host a virtual unconference – select a topic during the day of the digital event and discuss it live on Twitter or in an online chat room

43. Let attendees submit “new” content before the conference and the top 3 people get to present for 20 minutes

44. Create an online group to submit conference ideas

45. Post short teaser videos from presenters covering their topics

46. Solicit questions for presenters via social media

47. Win a video camera for the best ideas on how you will use it to create content for the event

Trade Show / Exhibitors

48. Allow exhibitors to put videos of best practices on a conference community site

49. Provide a coaching session for exhibitors on interactive and social media elements of the conference to maximize their business building experience

50. Solicit and provide e-opinions on suppliers

51. Video 2-minute pitches / interviews with exhibitors on the cool things they are doing. Show videos around presentations at general session & prompt attendees to visit the exhibitors

And what other social media ideas do you have?

What other social media ideas would you add to the list to driver virtual events? Please share them in the comments! If you’re at the Virtual Edge Institute (#VES12) in San Diego next week, please stop by and attend my Monday afternoon session!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Last Christmas, I did a spur of the moment post about Christmas gifts blog readers could give their favorite bloggers. This holiday, I thought I’d turn the tables and share a list of Christmas gifts bloggers can give blog readers. Stay tuned at the end though, for a special request you can help me with this holiday season!

8 Christmas Gifts for Blog Readers

1. Keep your posts tightly edited and brief – unless there are really compelling reasons for a longer blog post.

Everybody’s “crazy busy,” massive amounts of information are inundating us, and blog readers have to prioritize where they’re investing time and reading content. Give them a break and keep your content short: a few hundred words and less than 90 seconds in reading time.

2. Add variety to your blog posts.

How much do you enjoy reading the same thing over and over? Not so much? Neither do your readers. You want predictability in the types of blog posts you write, but if you’re writing identically structured posts daily, make adding variety to your blogging a priority in the coming year.

3. Write about your readers and let them know.

One way to strengthen your social media connections is writing about readers (and potential readers) to share what they’re doing. When you do it though, make sure you include links to the person’s social media presence and give them a heads up you’re featuring them in your blog post.

4. Share blog posts multiple times on multiple social media channels.

Many readers likely use Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks as substitutes for RSS feeds. If your new blog post doesn’t show up on social media channels, how will these readers know you’ve published fresh content? As interested blog readers, we want to make sure we’re updated when you have created new content.

5. Publish regularly and consistently.

Don’t make your blog readers guess when you’ll have something new to say. Make it clear what your publishing schedule is and stick to it. Consistent publishing creates consistent fans.

6. Don’t make someone do a rewrite when they share your social media content.

Use social media sharing plugins that allow you to customize and create a productive tweet or status update for blog readers. It’s a pain when the pre-populated tweet doesn’t include your Twitter name or a shortened-link to make it convenient to add hashtags, a comment, and share your social media content with others.

7. Make it easy to leave blog comments.

I hate when it takes longer to supply information to get a blog comment accepted than it does to write the original comment. And if the comment disappears because it can’t get authenticated . . . watch out! Install a reader-friendly commenting system and make life easier for everyone.

8. Approve comments quickly and carry on the conversation.

Nothing is more frustrating than leaving a blog comment then waiting DAYS before it is approved and appears on the website. One reason why that should also be frustrating for bloggers? Once my comment is published, I’ll share the whole post on Twitter. The longer you delay, the more likely you’ll miss out on potential new fans checking out your social media content.

Have a great holiday! – Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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15

I’ve written a variety of blog posts with blogging topic ideas with things to blog about when you’re out of ideas. When I see someone on Twitter expressing frustration with a writers’ block on their blog, I enjoy reaching out and sharing links with blogging topic ideas to get their creativity going again. Rather than continuing to cram multiple links in a single tweet about writers’ block, it seemed time to compile a big list of blogging topic ideas, especially for business bloggers.

If you’re stuck thinking about what blogging topics you can write about when you’re out of ideas, take a look through these ideas. I attempted to make these blogging topic ideas general enough they would have wide applicability, irrespective of your industry or business blogging focus.

This list is a start. Expect it to grow over time, hopefully with your ideas!  – Mike Brown

Use the Crowd

1. Announce a meet-up for local social media friends where people can trade topic ideas.

2. Answer questions your customers or readers have asked you.

3. Ask a question of your readers to see what they think.

4. Ask readers what they’d like to read about (without any prompting on topics).

5. Ask the next 5 people you meet to answer the same question and write their responses in a blog post.

6. Ask your spouse or significant other what you could write about.

7. Contact a couple of readers, ask them a question, and report their perspectives.

8. Interview a customer about what their concerns and challenges are.

9. Look for blog titles on Twitter and then write your own version of a post to go with the title.

10. Solicit guest blog posts from readers.

11. Solicit guest blog posts from business partners.

12. Run an online survey for readers and report the results.

13. Throw out a question on Facebook or Google+ and let the responses shape a blog post.

14. Publish a list of potential topics for the next month and let readers decide what they’d like to read.

Share What You Know

15. Interview yourself on a topic.

16. Recap a past event.

17. Recap the results of a research report someone else published.

18. Report on a conference you attended.

19. Reveal background information on something you do to make your organization successful.

20. Share really cool work you or someone in your organization has done.

21. Share the results of some research your organization has done.

22. Summarize what you know about a topic.

23. Write about things that you know that others might not realize.

24. Write about what you do in your business to serve customers.

Teach Others

25. Expand your thinking on a previously published blog post to make it more teaching-oriented.

26. Take a new angle on a topic you’ve written about already.

27. Teach a new technique or tip you’ve been using.

28. Write about something you learned in the last week that you can share with readers.

29. Demonstrate a process your company uses that could be valuable to your audience.

30. Answer frequently asked questions that require demonstrations.

31. Feature experts in your business sharing their knowledge.

Create Lists

32. List what is more thrilling (or easy or exciting) for you right now than writing a blog.

33. Make a long list of ideas your readers could use.

34. Make a short list of steps readers can take to accomplish something.

35. Write anything that allows you to put a number in the title.

36. Add some additional items to a list you’ve already published.

37. List the types of customer problems you routinely solve.

38. List questions you’re getting in customer service.

39. Ask readers a question and report the answers in a list.

40. List the steps in a process readers could handle for themselves.

Share Opinions

41. Write what you think about a topic or a news story.

42. Disagree with a well-known blogger or social media celebrity.

43. Grab a relevant book off your bookshelf, open to a page, and write a response to one of the ideas.

44. Predict what you think will happen in the future.

45. React to opinions your business competitor or an industry figure is talking about.

46. Review a book or magazine article you’ve read recently.

47. Review a fantastic product or service you use in your organization.

48. Review something people are thinking about in your marketplace.

49. Share a half-baked idea to see if your readers can finish baking it for you.

50. Write a blog post that’s only 80% of the way done and allow readers to take a shot at finishing it.

51. Write about something completely obvious as if you’re the first person to ever think of it.

52. Write about something completely obvious in a way you haven’t written before.

53. Write about something you think will interest readers more than what you’ve been writing about recently.

Make It More Personal

54. Complain about a recent customer experience you’ve had.

55. Have your kid write or draw something.

56. Recount the story of a family pet who died.

57. Share an anecdote that happened in your organization.

58. Share random thoughts you’ve been trying to turn into complete blog posts.

59. Share your experiences with struggling to come up with ideas for blogging.

60. Talk about something you’re not good at doing.

61. Thank one of your customers who has been loyal to your business.

62. Use the first idea that comes into your mind and tie it to what your blog is about.

63. Write about the most interesting thing that happened to you today, yesterday, or this week.

64. Write about the story behind writing the most popular post you’ve ever written.

65. Write about what inspires you.

66. Write about what you do in your spare time that’s relevant and interesting.

67. Write about what you would have written about in an earlier period of your life – when you were in school, early career, etc.

68. Write something dramatically more or less outrageous than what you typically write.

69. Write something that allows you to name drop social media people who will share the post within their networks.

70. Write whatever is on your mind now and don’t self-censor it.

Repurpose Content

71. Combine smaller posts you’ve already written into a longer one.

72. Expand a comment you wrote on another blog into a full blog post.

73. Group a bunch of tweets you’ve made into a list or other blog post.

74. Organize (in new ways) relevant information that’s already been published.

75. Publish a list of links from your blog that make it easier to find everything on a particular topic.

76. Publish a presentation you’ve made on Slideshare and embed it in a blog post.

77. Re-edit and freshen something you’ve already written with new content.

78. Re-run the most popular post you’ve ever done.

79. Share an intriguing video that’s already done (by you or others) with a few comments to give your thoughts about it.

80. Start tweeting small thoughts and turn whatever comes out into a blog post.

81. Write up the points you cover in a slide from one of your Powerpoint presentations.

82. Embed a funny or on-target cartoon.

Use Video or Images

83. Have someone video you doing a brief commentary.

84. Video a demonstration relevant to your audience.

85. Video an interview with a work colleague or business partner.

86. Ask the next 5 people you meet to answer the same question on video and edit the responses into a video post.

87. Use all photos and very few words.

88. Feature photos of your organization members doing interesting things (btw, people standing in line posing for a picture isn’t interesting.)

89. Video a customer talking about their business.

90. Have two customers interview each other.

91. Video a day in the life of your customer service organization.

92. Shoot a short video sharing some real reasons why someone should Like your page you on Facebook.

Starting Over

93. Throw out every idea you have and start all over with new topics.

What topics would you add to the list?

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This innovative article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating an innovative 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Photo by: diesel | Source: photocase.com

10. The USB drive with all my proper blog post starting ideas was downstairs, and it was too much of a hassle to go down and get it.

9. Driving across Kansas doesn’t inspire nearly the same blog post creativity that flying does.

8. Too much time spent writing and not nearly enough time spent absorbing creative ideas recently.

7. I still owe Bob Fine an article about Google Fiber in Kansas City for The Social Media Monthly magazine.

6. I’m trying to get comfortable with not writing a blog post every day.

5. Suffering from a persistent case of creative apathy.

4. No one is demanding a post today (or on Thursday or Friday).

3. My focus right now is on not screwing up cooking Thanksgiving turkey for my mother-in-law.

2. After hearing Joe Pulizzi a few weeks ago, it’s clear we need to spend more time on the marketing side rather than the content creation side of “content marketing.”

1. I’ve temporarily run out of interesting lists. – Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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At last week’s “Creating Fantastic Blog Content” presentation and webinar, we discussed events as treasure troves of content creation. While I offered this comment as a “headline” during the presentations, we did not cover much about what specific content creation opportunities exist for event organizers.

To answer questions about what all these content creation opportunities might be at events, here is a starting list of twenty-five you can consider as possibilities when planning and conducting (or even attending) your next event, conference, or gathering:

  • Assemble live tweets into presentation recaps.
  • Create a Slideshare presentation filled with photos of great slides from conference presentations.
  • Video attendees at the event talking about why they decided to attend the conference.
  • Video attendees on what they are learning and the value they are getting from the conference.
  • Video attendees about why people not at the conference should attend next year.
  • Get all kinds of digital photos – presenters, content, party pics, etc.
  • Video exhibitors on what their companies can do for attendees.
  • Get presenters to share additional details, insights, or thoughts about their presentations.
  • Video two presenters talking with or interviewing one another.
  • Write articles from the content that you have captured on video.
  • Create lists of the best tweets from the event.
  • Invite attendees to write blog posts or share other content they have created.
  • Grab images from videos you have shot.
  • Turn photos and video snippets into a closing video for the event.
  • Have attendees answer polling questions and report the results.
  • Turn audio from video interviews into podcasts.
  • Create a presentation highlights Slideshare with three high impact slides from each presentation.
  • Have a question per day that you video attendees answering.
  • Recruit a social media team to generate content from more perspectives within the event.
  • Ask open-ended questions on the pre- and post-conference surveys about the issues, opportunities, and learning needs attendees see. Turn the results into articles.
  • Ask attendees what questions were not answered and answer these in future blog posts.
  • Invite presenters to submit blog posts or articles for the conference website.
  • Solicit attendees for guest blog posts they prepare after the conference and give a prize to everyone who creates content.
  • Organize small group dinners with industry leaders and video compelling conversation snippets at these gatherings.
  • Video industry experts and luminaries doing brief invitations (and by “invitations,” I mean “commercials”) suggesting your audience sign up for your blog emails and feeds.

Here is one additional suggestion about all this content you create at your event: Do not make the mistake of running all of it during or immediately after the event. Space the conference content out, perhaps over even several months.

While it is tempting to upload 50 pictures to a Facebook album because it is easy to do all at once, distribute the content over time so you do not inundate your audience. There is the added benefit of filling out your editorial calendar with less time-sensitive content. When you are under the gun to publish on a regular editorial calendar, being able to pull out a video or blog post from your event last quarter can be a huge relief!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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We are closing in on four years of the Brainzooming blog, with more than 300,000 words written. Coupled with original business-oriented guest posts on various websites, two other personal blogs with nearly 560 other posts, and 25,000-plus tweets along the way, that is a lot of social media content.

It’s content I would never have thought was possible to create in the four years BEFORE I started Brainzooming.

I will be sharing some lessons learned in creating all that social media content in two social media presentations this week. Today, it’s a live presentation in Kansas City and a business blogging webinar Friday, October 28 you can all attend (Click on the link to get to the sign up. It is for an association, but it is open to non-members. The sign-up is a bit cumbersome, but I would love to have you join the business blogging webinar!) Our objective is to help attendees do a better job of creating fantastic social media content.

In updating my social media content strategy material for these two social media presentations, I uncovered a variety of blogging lessons never shared here. While these social media content lessons are oriented toward bloggers, for those of you not blogging, each lesson includes a special spin for how it applies to you as well:

  • The order you write a post doesn’t have to be its final order. The original end might be the beginning. Or vice versa. Play with rearranging a list post for the best flow after it’s written. (If you don’t blog: No matter what you’re creating, if you hit a dead end, start working on a different part. Things don’t have to be created in the same way they’re presented.)
  • Similarly, when writing a list blog post, do not get stuck thinking you have to start with the list’s topic. You can start with scrap bullet points and figure out the connections among them. From there, create a list topic encompassing all the items which originally looked disconnected. (If you don’t blog: This concept applies to any set of items or ideas. Find a creative, strategic connection among whatever you have.)
  • Don’t use pronouns if you can insert the actual word or phrase you are referencing. This will help with a stronger keyword-based post. (If you don’t blog: If you’re not writing for online currently, take advantage of it to learn basics on search engine optimization and keywords, because you WILL be writing for online publishing some day.)
  • You can benefit from printing what you’re writing and reading a hard copy. (If you don’t blog: Same thing applies. You’ll see what you’re writing differently on a page than on-screen.)
  • Run your post through the grammar checker in Microsoft Word to gain a sense of the grade level, reading ease, and prominence of passive sentences in your writing. I’ve discovered people don’t know about this buried feature. Turn it on by clicking the Windows logo in the upper left of Word and select “Word Options.” Click proofing and under “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word,” check “Show readability statistics.” Now whenever you run the grammar checker, you’ll get the real story on your writing. (If you don’t blog: We all benefit from coldly analytical perspective on our writing.)
  • Because of the grammar checker, write in Word then paste copy into your blogging platform. If you do modify things after they are in the blogging platform, paste your post back into Word to double check typos you might have introduced. (If you don’t blog: Don’t be too beholden to applications you typically use. Explore other applications which might help you better convey messages.)
  • A blog is never done – you can tinker forever. If you are inclined to tinker, make rules for yourself so you’ll leave a post alone at some point. (If you don’t blog: Knowing when to close down options and when allow them to remain open is critical in managing any project.)
  • If you use WordPress, take advantage of  the editorial calendar and SEO Scribe plugins. They make a difference in effectiveness, efficiency, and insights about your blogging. (If you don’t blog: Go get some grounding in WordPress. WordPress is the content management system behind some big websites, so it’s not just for blogs.)
  • If you’re guest posting for another blog, create your own brief persona for who you’re writing to on the blog, even if the blog owner doesn’t provide one. (If you don’t blog: The idea of thinking about and describing your target audience member is beneficial no matter what the writing application.)  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

 

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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