Carefully Crafted on November 12

Social Media for Events: A Case Study from the Columbus Marathon

Last week, I spoke at the Road Race Management conference, where I had the chance to meet 250+ race directors from all over the country. Nearly all of them said they’re using social media, but very few felt like they were maximizing the potential of these online communication channels. They’re not alone. Events rely on social media to drive registration, provide news and updates and maybe even recruit volunteers; however, that’s barely scratching the surface. Whether you’re managing a marathon, 5K or some other event (running or not!), time online needs to be time well spent. Before you can activate a network, first you have to build a strong community. When done right, social media can help event organizers accomplish a number of valuable goals. In this presentation, I explain how we help the Nationwide Children’s Columbus Marathon use social channels to:

  • Build a year-round community that can be activates leading up to the marathon
  • Provide real-time customer service to deliver a better experience to athletes and spectators
  • Extend partnerships with community organizations and sponsors
  • Gain valuable insights and feedback to help shape future events

In addition to explaining our approach to Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Pinterest, I also share some creative “stunts” that drive actual results, such as virtual scavenger hunts, UStream broadcasts and “tweet and go seek.” By sharing my slides, I hope you can learn from our efforts and “remix and sample” the concepts to strengthen your own event communication.


Like what you’re reading? Follow Heather on Twitter or subscribe to the blog.

Need help incorporating social media into your next event? Let’s talk. Email me: heather [at]


Empowered by:
Empowered by Geben Communication