Social Networking. It's part of our everyday conversation. Facebook, Blogs, RSS Feeds, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn are names I'm sure you've heard. There are, of course, many others, but today we'll focusing on Facebook and Twitter.
I still recommend each auction have it's own website. Having a dedicated URL for your event is so easy now, it's practically negligent to not have an established online presence. It is still the best way to market your auction and keep supporters up to date with your organization. This should be a priority for every organization.
Facebook - With 500 Million users Facebook is impossible to ignore, and it can be a great compliment to your primary URL. It's a dead simple way to touch base with core supporters and is a natural for easy promotion of your Charity Auction. Setting up a "Page" is quick and easy and can be updated by even the most technologically challenged users. Post photos, Event updates, allow supporters to discuss your event, accept donations and drive traffic to your primary website as well. Did I mention it's FREE!
Twitter is a different animal all together. There are many uses for it, and it's evolving everyday as users find creative ways to implement the platform into event planning. Here are the two most common ways my clients are finding it helpful:
1. Create a free Twitter Account for your Organization - Start by encouraging supporters to "Follow" you. Then use it to "tweet" about the Event. With only 140 characters allowed for each message, you will want to link back to your Facebook or Primary website. It's quick and easy once you get the hang of it. You can even link your Twitter account to your Facebook page, so that when you Tweet something, it's automatically posted to your Facebook Page.
2. Use a HashTag for your Auction. A HashTag (i.e; #charityauctions) is way for interested parties to find and track a particular group or ongoing discussion. By creating a hashtag for your auction, you are asking other Twitter users, when discussing your event, posting photos or providing links that are related to your Charity Auction, they can use this hash-tag as a way to find it in the Twitterverse. Users just include the hash-tag in their messages and it's automatically grouped together with matching hashtags. If someone searches for your event, all comments will be sorted into that category.
Not all hashtags are available...it's first come, first served. Just put out a few announcements at the event "Hey folks, for those using Twitter, we are using the hash-tag #StMikesAuction tonight". Maybe throw it up on the screen throughout the night. Twitter users will know exactly what you are talking about.
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