I recently ended my stint as Content and Social Media Chair of MIT Enterprise Forum here in DC and I got to play with the levers and strings of personally promoting online via social media and also trying to get everyone else on the Board to Tweet, Tumbl, and Facebook as well.
I thought about getting everyone to install HootSuite and to Live Tweet through a business social media platform but realized that everyone would hate it.
So, I chose Instagram as ground zero for Live Tweeting events because with just a little set-up, you can take just one filtered square photo with your smartphone using Instagram and you can automagically post to Facebook, Flicker, Tumblr, Twitter, and Swarm with one click — it just takes a little bold sharing of your organization’s Facebook, Flicker, Tumblr, Twitter, Swarm logins and passwords.
I’ll be honest, just getting a hold of each Board Member‘s Smartphone and installing Instagram, logging it in as MITEFDC, and then connecting each device with MITEF DC’s accounts on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Swarm, and then just making sure that everyone knew how to use Instagram.
Why use Instagram as a starting point?
Well, people hate text only, people love Instagram, but the folks on the MITEF DC Board were generally not Instagram users so setting them up to dedicate their phone’s Instagram app for use only during MITEF DC events is much easier than fooling around with multi-account settings on the Twitter app or anything else.
But what Instagram is really best at is getting people to take pictures of their events and getting them online immediately instead of what usually happens which is never ever seeing any photos as all because they generally never ever leave the data card wedged deep inside the big fancy digital SLR they bring to these events.
Live-tweeting is an essential method of bringing attention to an event, it’s an essential way of saying, “look what you’re missing, don’t you wish you should be here, right?“
Live-tweeting with pictures not only gives followers and fans an intimate insight into what’s going on now, now, now. Remember the Internet truism: pics or it didn’t happen.
Easier said than done, however. If you install it, will they come? But it doesn’t matter.
Really only a couple folks need to be in attendance and taking photos at any event — but make sure it is every event.
Because while it might be easier to #latergram and #latertweet, there is powerful network effect when a lot of people tweet about the same event in real-time, especially if you can come up with a short, catchy, #hashtag such as #mitevents or #mitefevent or by even adopting salient popular hashtags that already exist such as, in this case, #dcstartuplife #dcstartups #dctech #dcstartup.
But I really don’t mean to gum up the works.
As Social Media Chair, it was my job to care about hashtags and and all that; however, just getting the entire staff, board, and team snapping with their own phones, using their dedicated Instagram apps, and capturing their own moments.
Besides, not everyone can be at every event all the time, so redundancy and backups are essential, right?
I even took it one step further: I have an old iPhone 4 with Instagram installed and a cellular plan, dedicated only to being an MITEFDC device. If I know I couldn’t make an event, I might palm off the MITEFDC iPhone to someone else who can go, begging them to take some snaps of the event, of some mentoring experience, of the board members, attendees, and the mentors, to the best of their ability.
Remember again, pics or it didn’t happen.
To be honest, most events are intimate and ephemeral. Without photos, it really didn’t happen.
Without showing people through images, through words, through buzz, you’ll never set off anyone’s FOMO, their YOLO, and growth will be very difficult.
People want to know what they’re missing and if you control the message, you can control the perception as well.
I illustrated this post with photos I took of the last couple MITEFDC events I attended. You’ll notice that I keep it very intimate. You’ll notice that I am very careful with how I caption each photo to make them as appealing as possible, and as germane to what people need and are looking for as possible.
Use your filters, make everything look good, and feel free to crop and optimize each photo as best you can.
You need to make each photo look like you want to be there. But don’t let the night go by without that real-time, behind the scenes, inside the velvet rope experience.
Actually, MITEFDC charges for its events so the photos, the buzz, the excitement, the energy that you can share via social media is the difference between ka-ching and pass.
It actually comes down to these details, to these little shards of reality that turn your even from an robotic, textual, unknown event you might need to schlep a dozen miles in prime time commute traffic into something you’ll not want to miss with entry cash in hand ready to get the free mentoring and advice you both need and would actually cost you 1000x were you to not get it through your organization or via MIT Enterprise Forum.
Now it’s your turn! Go git ’em, El Tigre!