I had high expectations for social media to spread the word about a unique event. And Facebook did not let me down. It provides an interesting lesson in how Facebook can be used for event promotion

Each year, the graduating class of Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College raises money for scholarships. None of the money raised will directly benefit this year’s class. It will all go towards defraying the cost of attendance for students in future years. That’s what makes it such a wonderful tradition, so my classmates and I are trying to raise a record amount this year.

As the class coordinator for online fundraising, I set up a simple donation page through FirstGiving. It’s easy, safe and secure. We planned to promote the site with a few email blasts to current Marketing College students and alumni. Then, my classmate Tubby Kubik had the brainstorm of creating an event that we could all invite people to. So, I set up a “virtual” event on Facebook and LinkedIn. We have declared June 20th to be Support STS Marketing College Day. We’re asking people to show their support for this great continuing education program by making a contribution of any amount on that day.

Momentum for the event began when I invited members of the Facebook group STS Class of 2011 to the event and asked them to invite their tourism colleagues. Then I asked friends in the graduating class one year ahead and one year behind me to do the same. Within a couple of days over 600 people had been invited. So far, a small percentage has indicated that they will “attend” even though it’s a virtual event. The important thing, however, is that within a couple of days more than 600 people knew about the event. Unless they choose to remove it from their events, they will see reminders whenever they log in to Facebook. That’s extraordinary reach for a message that began in a relatively small group with 71 members.

Note: If anyone reading this is involved in the tourism industry or works for a business that benefits heavily from tourism, feel free to share this blog on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and help us make Support STS Marketing College Day on January 20th a huge success. There is no need to be invited or reply to the Facebook event. Anyone can log on to the online giving page and make a secure donation.


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