With almost 150 million total users, rapidly growing social networking sites Facebook and LinkedIn offer new tools that help meeting planners spread the word about trade shows and events. LinkedIn (events.linkedin.com) will roll out a new free application this month that lets planners create a page for an event that not only lists the who, what and when, but lets users tag themselves as “going” or “interested.” When someone signs up, “their professional connections are informed and can investigate the event for themselves,” explains Allen Blue, the site’s co-founder and vice president of product strategy. The beauty of the application is that as more people add an event to their page, the more visible it becomes, effectively generating its own viral marketing campaign.
Eventually, LinkedIn will have enhanced listings that event organizers can pay for (the site is free to join). “We’re also working on building professional events communities, which we hope will allow event planners to establish lasting relationships with their attendees,” says Blue.
The Trade Show News Network’s eventFriend application on Facebook (tsnneventfriend.com) had a soft launch this past September; within a month, almost 12,000 trade shows and events were listed in the application’s searchable database. Organizers can create an event listing for free and add specific information for both exhibitors and attendees, while Facebook users can add the event to their profiles, view who also is attending and post comments on the event page’s discussion forum.