By now you know that you should be using social media to promote your events, enrich people’s experience during an event, and extend the impact of your work long after the last guest has gone home. But you also know that means more than creating a Facebook fan page.

The world of social media is overwhelming, and not all apps or technologies will be a good fit for your audience. The key is to think about your guests and what social media platforms they connect with most — then concentrate your efforts on those channels. I’m of the opinion that it’s better to do one or two things well than to produce a watered-down social media campaign or element that engages no one.

The truth is that everyone — including me — is still figuring out the most effective (and the most fun) ways to use social media as part of events and to build brands.

Here’s a collection of ideas on how to incorporate social media before, during, and after your events. Have you executed, seen, or experienced an innovative and effective use of social media at an event? Let me know!

1) The Face place. Yes, you should be on Facebook. A contest (rewarding those who “Like” your company or cause) can be helpful to build an audience, but don’t just let the page sit there once it’s over. Put someone in charge of keeping your page fresh and up to date. Engage the people who connect with your organization there, and provide them with useful, interesting or fun information — not just boring content or spam.

2) Tweet it up. Your organization or company is probably already on Twitter. Create a hashtag specifically for your event, and do it early. Include it on any promotional materials you create, and get key leaders, guests or influencers to Tweet it to create awareness of your event. Obviously, you can use your hashtag to build buzz for your event, but it’s also a great way to communicate any late-breaking news to guests and staff should it occur.

3) Tweet it up, part II. People will be talking and Tweeting about your event — using that hashtag you created! — as it’s happening. Showcase the conversation with a Twitter wall using software such as Hashcaster, which not only displays Tweets in real time, but also takes into account the popularity of Tweets and their authors’ followings when creating a customized display.

4) Create great photo ops for Instagram. You know this next idea is true from experience: you do it too. People love to take great pictures and add filters with Instagram — of amazing things, yes, but even more so, of themselves doing fun and cool things. If you provide the fantastic Kodak moment, your guests will create the buzz for you by showcasing photos on their feeds and across other social media.

5) Broadcast your event online. Will your event feature a compelling speaker? A performance? Consider broadcasting it live online through a service like Livestream or Ustream.

6) Go to the videotape. Not up for a live broadcast of your event or want to maintain an element of exclusivity to your planned entertainment? Try taping your event and offering up an edited version or highlights sizzle reel on YouTube to create awareness of your company or organization as well as interest in your next event.

More to follow next week…