So you've have a web and social media presence, your business is well known and you're thinking of expanding your presence. A great way to further your company profile (and provides you with an invaluable way of networking) is to attend, or better yet, organise some events.
To do this properly, however, requires you to do some advanced preparation, especially if you're the one organising. Thankfully, networking and meeting new people is easier than ever and the pressure of organising and promoting an event has lessened thanks to a number of free and paid options available. Whatever you're creating an event or just attending, here are a list of things you should consider.
1) What To Consider When Organising An Event
2) Organising Through Social Media
3) Event Apps and Tools
5) Live Streaming
6) Case Studies
7) Finding Relevant Events
What To Consider When Organising An Event
While there are a hundred and one things to consider when you're organising an event, some things are more important than others. Here are the main things you will need to think about when you're planning an event.
What Is Your Event?
An obvious one to start off with, but this will determine how you will organise it. What exactly is the event for? Is it a once-off or will it happen every week? Are you promoting a new product or company milestone, or are you setting up a talk, speaking event or conference? If you're organising an event, you'll already have an idea as to the type of people you want attending.
Another thing to take into consideration is how complex this event is going to be. Is it a one-hour event or will it take up an entire day? You also need to take into consideration whether the event is free or whether you will charge a fee for attending. If you're thinking of the latter, then you need an online tool which will keep track of this and those who are attending too. The more you try to cram in, the longer a time-frame you will need to put it together so make sure you do your planning well in advance.
Finally, something that mightn't be as important, but worth noting is whether you want to put those attending into a database for future reference? It might be important if you're going to notify previous attendees about new events or news related to it.
Who Are You Inviting
Once you've that sorted that out, you need to reach your target audience and let them know what's happening. Your demographic should be relatively clear so start with those you know and then reach out to others through social media, email and general marketing.
Are you offering incentives?
This only applies if you're running a paid event. If you want people to sign up, are you providing discounts or an early bird offer? If they are numerous small events, are you offering deals that encourage people to sign up to more than one event. Think about what you're offering and build deals around it, it can help entice more people to sign up.
Timing & Venue
They say timing is everything and if you're organising something, you should research similar events to see when they're happening. If you organise your talk the same time a major conference is happening, then your event may lose out. Also, where you're holding it is important too since the venue must be able to hold the required number of people.
Organising Through Social Media
One of the easiest places to start organising events is through the different social media channels available to you. The majority of sites have their own events page for organising said events, but each one has their own pros and cons. Remember that creating an event isn't limited to just physical events, you can create events that highlight a company milestone like moving office or launching a new site.
The most popular social media site makes it easy to create events. The fact that you're connected to your friends means inviting numerous people is easy to do. Also, you can open the event up so that other people can invite themselves to it.
While you can create an event, you can't send out invites to fans of that page. You can only send invites to friends of your profile to that event. Also, it won't show up on their events page so unless your fans are regularly engaging with your page, a lot of promotion is required.
LinkedIn's obvious advantage is that it's great for targeting professionals, you can target people by industry and profession so that you only invite those who are relevant to your event. When an event is created, it suggests users who you might be interested in networking with.
Due to the nature of LinkedIn, users aren't as active when compared to other sites. Also, it mightn't be the best place to plug your event if it's casual.
With events only released a few months ago, any invites will appear in Google Calendar which you can sync up. The events page also gives users the opportunity to check their calendar to see if an event clashes. Will receive notifications through email when event is happening. Themed covers makes the events page more vibrant and it's great for holding video events since there are hangout and live on-air video.
Doesn't have the same influence compared to Facebook or LinkedIn. Another thing worth noting is that when you create a hangout event, one will be created the time the event is happening so if you've invited a large number of people, everyone will try to join. Best way to avoid this is to limit the number of people invited to these events.
Event Apps & Tools
If you're organising something a little more complex, then there are numerous tools out there that will help you get everything in order.
Cost: Free, 2.5% service fee + â‚¬0.75 per ticket
The most popular tool for organising events, Eventbrite allows anyone to create their own event. With an easy to complete events page, the site gives a range of aways to process payment with Paypal, Visa, Mastercard to make the process from viewing to purchasing seamless. There is also the ability to track attendance through its analytics, letting you see how well ticket and registration sales are going, and gives mobile users the chance to use their smartphone as the ticket.
Cost: Starts from $799
Another popular choice, EventMobi lets you create an event app which can be used over a range of platforms. Since it's an app, it can work offline too, allowing attendees to access event information without the need for an internet signal. Combined with easy to understand analytics, personalised schedules, ad space and audience response, EventMobi is a very useful choice if you have the budget to use it.
Cost: Free, â‚¬0.99 per attendee + 5.9% of the attendance fee
Used by the likes of Le Web, Nokia, TechCrunch and TEDx, Amiando supports 25 different currencies and automates the shipping of tickets, confirmations and bills. Alongside an advanced analytics, it allows you to customise the contents of all reports and export it to other devices. The fact that it's been used by over 80,000 different companies and groups shows just how trusted it is.
Although speakers can be one of the main reasons for actually attending an event there is a huge amount of networking that you can do with your fellow attendees. This can be challenge for those among us who are not very forward or good at introducing ourselves to others, but luckily there are a bunch of really good options out there to help things along.
Check Out The Attendee List
Not all conferences will publish an attendee list, but those who do (Check out the Dublin Web Summit here for a really good example
) offer a great additional service. While 90% of the people on the list will probably be time-wasters - in regards to your own business - you'll be able to identify the crucial 10% who you need to get talking to in advance. Once you know who is going and who you would like to speak with, it would be a good idea to use one of the techniques or tools below to get talking to them. Engage In Advance Via Social Media
Given that you will probably have booked your ticket for an event in advance, you'll have plenty of time to start engaging with speakers and attendees ahead of the actual event. This really is a case of putting some hard work in ahead of meeting the people you want to engage with. As you'll know, it is always easier to introduce yourself to somebody you have a relationship with even if that only boils down to a couple of tweets or a Facebook message in advance.
One good trick might be to send a Linkedin message saying something along the lines of "I see you are attending X event which I will also be attending. I'd love to hook up and talk about Y." Most people will accept and you have a warm intro before you even go to the event.
Use The LinkedIn Mobile App At Events
Knowing as much about people before you meet them is absolutely key in the era of digital media so make sure to make good use of LinkedIn's new and improved mobile apps. It might feel like you are a bit of a stalker, but if you have singled out a speaker or somebody at the event that you want to talk to, pick up their LinkedIn profile on your smartphone or tablet and see where they have worked in the past, where they studied and any special interests. That will help you strike up a bond and put you straight on to the front foot.
Events are always expensive to attend and if you don't have a large company paying for you, or you're simply broke, one great alternative is to stream the videos of all the keynote speeches. While this won't help you with the networking side of events as you need to be there physically, it is a cheaper alternative and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own office. You can also look back at some of the videos from previous conferences here.
One of the biggest conferences in the year is Le Web and its Youtube channel is a great source of videos from previous conferences.
Techcrunch hold its conferences a few times a year in San Fransisco, New York and China and it always has the best speakers around. You can see the full list of videos here on YouTube and keep an eye open for live stream at event time.
The Web Summit is based right here in Dublin and even though it is only three years old, it is fast becoming one of the best tech conferences in the world. You can check out its live stream channel here.
There is loads of information out there from people who have run lots of events in the past and who share their experiences. No matter how big or small you plan to make your event you'll be able to learn something from this great list of resources.
- How to use LinkedIn events to promote your event.
- Ten tips for promoting your event using Linkedin Events.
- Seven tips to promote your event with social media.
- Top ten iPad apps for event managers.
- Social Media Examiner provides five ways to use Google+ to organise events.
- Mari Smith provides six ways to effectively promote events on Facebook.
Finding Relevant Events
One of the biggest challenges can often be finding the right events to attend. You'll often that you only notice that there is a brilliant event on the day it is actually happening or after the event has happened. You can use some of the following tools to make sure you never miss another event.
- Use this list if you are in Europe because all the best ones are on it.
- Check out the "Upcoming tech events" section on Techmeme (found by scrolling down).
- Follow the event guides from all the blogs. This is a good example from TNW.
- Follow this tag over on ReadWriteWeb for a monthly update on events.
- There are some awesome lists over on Quora that get regularly updated and curated. Follow ones like this.
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