An event — be it a networking gathering, open house, fundraiser, or class — is by nature a social affair. People attend to connect, interact, and share with their peers. People join social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect, interact, and share information with their peers. Sound familiar?

Given their similar natures, it makes perfect sense to use social media to help make your event an even more social experience. After all, if your goal is to get as many people as possible interested in your business or organization, then social media can help spread the word beyond your core base of customers, members, donors, and volunteers, to people who aren’t even in attendance.

As the busy holiday event season gets underway, here are 4 ways to make your events more social:

1. Use a hashtag: Creating a hashtag (such as #HolidayFun11) and encouraging your attendees to use it will help to foster discussion, and will allow your attendees to meet each other more easily. And as a bonus, hashtags will allow you as the event host to monitor the buzz more easily because you can follow the hashtag feed.

2. Encourage people to use a check-in app: When your attendees check-in using an app like Foursquare, they’ll know which of their friends are also in attendance. They can also share tips and photos with others in their network. Be sure to create a “Place” so attendees have somewhere to check in to. To encourage check-ins (and the sharing of them), you can also create a special offer at your event on Foursquare (a free beverage or tshirt, for example).

3. Promote your social presence: Do attendees know how to find you on social media? Be sure to post signs with your Twitter handle, Facebook Page, LinkedIn profile, and any other social media presences you have. Then encourage attendees to post from their smartphones that they’re at the event, and to “tag” you in their posts.

4. Share photos and updates in real time: Thanks to smartphones and other devices, you don’t need to bring a camera with you to document your event. Snap quick pictures of your attendees and post them to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or another site. Or, forget the photos and just share an update about what’s happening (for example, “Blaise Charest just took the stage! Wish you were here.”)

Want more ideas? Join us for a special free webinar this Thursday, co-hosted with HubSpot. Click here to register. To share your thoughts with us about how social media helps make your events more effective, post a comment below.