We often write about how social media helps you sell more tickets to your events. But that can sometimes sound abstract—where’s the proof? Here’s a testimonial from Adam Franklin, Marketing Manager of Australian web strategy firm Bluewire Media, known for its free Web Strategy Planning Template. Adam describes how a Twitter strategy resulted in a huge boost in event attendance.

Bluewire Media ran an event called “The Truth About Social Media for Business” and given the topic, you’d naturally hope we used social media to promote the event, right? So we were the guinea pigs in our own experiment to see how effective Twitter would be for us. Could it really deliver…?

Our experiment

We sent an email invite out to our 1,000+ email subscribers and included a retweet (RT) button using TweetMeme’s free tool. The retweet button was also included on the registration page on our website. And of course we tweeted it to our 521 followers. Plus Eventbrite‘s functionality allows you to share an event on Twitter.

But how did we reach an extra 20,000 people?

What made the RT button so effective was that everyone who RT’d could win a free ticket to the event. This simple incentive led to 43 retweets and collectively these 43 people had over 20,000 followers. That’s 40 times more than Bluewire’s 521 followers. Not a bad start!

Did many tickets get sold?

On the night, I asked the 60 people in the room, how many were ‘newbies’ to Bluewire—that is, people who weren’t clients, email subscribers, Facebook fans or Twitter followers. A whopping 25% of the room had their hand up. And these 15 people were all guests paying $45 a ticket.

Having the RT button and the free ticket incentive worked a treat.

Catering for the tweeters

To help the tweeters in the audience get the most out of the event, we set up a #Bluewire hashtag and encouraged guests to use it when they tweeted. Attendees were also encouraged to direct questions and comments to speakers via Twitter using this hashtag. There was also a bottle of wine on offer for the ‘best tweet’ of the night as decided by the MC!

Not only did this increase the fun and interaction on the night, but the tweets that guests posted would’ve also been seen by their followers via their live Twitter streams! So people who weren’t even in the room knew what was going on at the event.

After the event

The next day, photos were posted to the Facebook page and guests were tagged. Plus videos were posted to YouTube and the presentation to Slideshare. Naturally we tweeted these links too. And the speakers’ Twitter handles were posted so guests could connect.

Did we get any business?

13 prospects requested an initial consultation after the event and two have become clients! If you give it a try, I bet you’ll get similar results. Good luck.