Using Google+ to Brand an Event

Grace Hulse is a social media and digital marketing consultant in the Washington, D.C., area. Tomorrow, she will be on a panel, Social Media Metrics That Matter, at Expo’s Social Media Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In this interview, she drills down specifically into a program she produced using Google+ while she was social media manager for the Water Environment Federation.

Expo: For what program did you use Google+?

Grace Hulse: In October 2012, I was working on WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation’s annual technical tradeshow and conference. We came up with the idea of the One Thousand Photos for Water Project. We wanted to have user-generated content (UGC), so the idea was for attendees to take pictures throughout the conference and upload them to a Google+ album that could be shared.

Expo: Why Google+?

Hulse: Google+ enabled attendees to post photos in near-real time and see them almost immediately. I wanted to brand our event, and I felt it would be likely to have high rankings in search results because it was on the Google platform. Also, Google had just launched Google+ Events and they were considering our conference as a case study.

Expo: How did it work?

Hulse: Although the Federation’s main demographic is males in their 50s, it also has chapters at colleges and universities. We recruited volunteers to take pictures and it was mostly students, about 40 of them, who agreed to participate. Anyone with a Gmail account is automatically a member of Google+ and it’s easy to download the mobile app.

Expo: What were the results?

Hulse: I’m no longer with WEF, so I don’t have access to specifics, but the volunteers enjoyed it and our board was very happy because it was UGC rather than something pushed out from the Federation. Plus, we had a great database of photos we could use to market the event a year later.

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