Promote Events Through Social Media – Part Three

Guest Post By:
Marina Antestenis, Marketing Manager
Active Network | Events

Did you know that social media can extend the buzz of your event, even after it’s over?  Make sure to capitalize on the momentum generated through social channels to help promote future events.

Blog Content
There are several things you can blog about once an event is over. Choose to include a “wrap up” that features key highlights or post survey findings or poll results taken during the event. Other posts may include videos or presentations, links to downloadable documents and photos, and other related materials.

Leverage YouTube
Consider recording videos at your event (presentations, interviews with customers or attendees, etc.) and post them to your YouTube channel or share them through your social channels. While professional quality video is an excellent resource, don’t forget that a Flip camera or smart phone can provide great footage that can be leveraged for social content and sales materials.

Thank Attendees
You can (and should) post one thank you to all your social channels, but you may also want to send a personal tweet – a direct message or response (@) – to people who’ve engaged with your event on Twitter. This adds another level of personalization.

Engagement Lists
Promote your next event by making a list of all your followers on social channels. It will be important to do this during or immediately after an event for best results. By sending these people personal invites through the channels in which you were already engaged, with help promote any future events you may hold.

Measure Success and Plan for the Next Event
We mentioned conducting surveys or polls during events to get quick responses and feedback from attendees Consider doing a final wrap up survey  to ask attendees for more detailed feedback on panels, venue, speakers, topics, and other facets of the event.

We’d love to hear from you!  – How has the use of social media after an event helped your future events?

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Posted: April 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Social Media | Tags: , | No Comments »

Promote Events Through Social Media – Part Two

Guest Post By:
Marina Antestenis, Marketing Manager
Active Network | Events

Earlier this week, we shared ideas on how to leverage social media to promote your event beforehand. Today, through social media,  we will focus on what you can do during the event to  garner more attention from peers of attendees and others, in the industry.

Encourage Social Media Connections at the Event
Encourage attendees to tweet during the event using the established hashtag. An active Twitter stream during your event engages participants in real-time.It  also allows those who could not attend to get a feel for the sessions and topics being discussed. Twitter also proves to be a valuable tool for event managers to obtain feedback in real-time about the preferences of your attendees. It’s a great way to keep a pulse on the event and react accordingly.

Monitor the Events Success
Not only can you keep an eye on the conversations generated by your events, sessions and speakers, but use social channels (tracking the Twitter hashtag, Google alerts, etc.) to gauge the audience.  This can be accomplished from attendees after a session, by  posting a tweet soliciting comments and  a link to a short survey.

Create Content at the Event
The event itself will create enough content for you to leverage after the event is complete, from wrap-up blog posts to shareable photos. However, consider hiring someone to video tape the sessions and presentations, or even interview attendees regarding their reactions. If your resources are limited, even a smart phone with video recording can capture some great clips for later use.

Leverage Location-Based Applications at Your Events
“Have you checked-in yet?” The growing popularity of location-based social networking applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla are making a big splash in the events arena. These free applications are a great resource to increase the promotional opportunity for events by publicizing them to attendees’ peers.

Event check-ins are also a great way to discover people who enter your event. As the event organizer, these services also help you monitor dialogue around your event and to help manage customer satisfaction. We’d like to hear from you too – what have you done or are doing with social media during an event?

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Posted: April 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Social Media | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Promote Events Through Social Media – Part One

Guest Post By:
Marina Antestenis, Marketing Manager
Active Network | Events

Social media is continually changing how we plan and promote events, especially how we engage with attendees. Event planners can use social channels to improve their events while also increasing attendance. When we started to write this, we realized we have a lot to say on this topic. From promoting an event beforehand using social media to using social channels at the event to engage your attendees, and leveraging social media afterwards, is content worthy of three blog posts.

Here are a handful of helpful tips. If you have others, please let us know in the comments section.

Using Social Media as a Pre-Event Marketing Tool
First, you have to set yourself and/or your event up on the social channels you would like to leverage. Sounds easy, but do you know which channels your audience uses most? Are they more active on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn? Perhaps all three? A quick search of Twitter lists, popular industry hashtags, relevant industry LinkedIn Groups, and even Facebook Groups, can help you find people already discussing your company or industry. This can help  narrow the channels of focus.. This can also help create your own lists of people to begin engaging with. Perhaps invite them to be a Fan of your Facebook Page, join your LinkedIn Group or follow them on Twitter (and engage with them so they will follow you back).

Once your accounts are established and you’re comfortable using them, you will need to make sure people know about your new online presence. Notify employees so they can add the links of the social media accounts to their email signatures and follow them.  Also make sure to add URLS to your email newsletter, customer emails, promotional materials for your event, website, event homepage, and your blog.

Leverage Social Media Channels to Increase Attendance
One of the benefits to social media is that you can easily identify people with similar interests to that of your industry or event. As mentioned, a search of Twitter lists, popular industry hashtags, LinkedIn Groups, and even Facebook Groups can help you find people who are already discussing your company or industry. You can leverage this research and these individuals to increase your attendance through targeted messages that encouraging engagement with your social channels.

Provide Event Giveaways
Make it worth someone’s while to follow your event through social networking. Provide valuable content regarding the event and the industry being represented. Offer followers early-bird registration offers, discounts (the 100th follower gets in free), contests, and sneak peeks of products or services being announced at the event.

Create an Event Page
A professional, interactive, and detailed event page is key. However, customizing an event page to look like an organizations website or adhering to branding standards can often be costly and time consuming. Through RegOnline, the new Theme Designer makes creating a professional and great looking event website easier for everyone.  You can match the appearance of your event to your existing website, even using the site’s CSS code to match the look and feel exactly. You can also build a custom theme that will look clean, professional and trustworthy. Or, simply choose from our library of custom-designed forms to put the skills of our professional designers to work for your organization.

Regardless of how you build your page there are key elements you need to make ensure you include. The obvious: important dates, event location, contact information, how to register, etc. But is also important that the event page has information/links to all your social channels.

Add Your Event to Facebook
RegOnline recently added a Promote page to help you publish your event to Facebook and a handful of event directories. Unlike simply posting a link to your event in a Facebook status update, the Add Your Event to Facebook feature creates a Facebook Event tied to your Facebook account that other users can register for. If you have ever received a “Sandra D invited you to the event “Sandra D’s Birthday Party…” message from Facebook, you are familiar with the concept of Facebook Events. They are a fantastic tool that you can use to increase awareness of your event among your friends, colleges, and all other Facebook users.

NOTE: You do need to remember, however, that just because someone signs up for your Facebook Event, they are not automatically signed up for your event in RegOnline.

Create an Event Blog
Your event page will house all the details for the event but your blog can go into much greater detail. For instance, you can have your speakers post their bios or even short posts regarding what to expect from their sessions. . Your blog posts also provide more content to share on your other social channels – tweeting about the post with a link back, posting the URL to your Facebook page, and sharing it with relevant LinkedIn groups.

Crowd Sourcing for Events
Solicit feedback from your followers to help plan the event. Ask people what THEY want through surveys and polls. You can also ask for recommendations for caterers, photographers, and musicians, or any other vendors you might be looking to hire for your event.

Brand Events with Designated Hashtags
Hashtags are typically a word preceded by a # sign and can be used to unify tweets from multiple people on the same subject. (For example, #SXSW is the hashtag for the popular South by Southwest event.) It is  important to promote this hashtag at the event and beforehand so people will be aware and use it. You can add this hashtag to your event page, marketing materials, blog content and other social and marketing channels. When creating your hashtag, keep in mind that you want something unique, since using a generic tag for your event (like #event) will just ensure that it gets lost in a sea of tweets.

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Posted: April 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Making your events more sustainable

Happy Earth Day!

Today, and every April 22nd, is Earth Day. Over 40 years ago, the concept was developed to create awareness and appreciation for our environment. Since then, it has been celebrated by communities all over the world.

Sustainability has become a common theme in all types of businesses. As the economy begins its recovery, sustainable measures are moving from the backburner to the forefront once again. Companies can again begin to focus on adopting new technologies to help them eliminate excess (and cost). For example, a lot of airline miles are disappearing in favor of web conferencing and virtual event platforms.

What are you doing to make your events more sustainable? Whether your event is a six-person seminar or a full-scale conference, there are some easy things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your events.

Active Network has been working with Shirley Click, managing director of CT-Live, which focuses on creating sustainable events that “won’t cost the earth.” Regarding online registration:

“We use a range of techniques to lower the footprint of our events, and Active Network, Events helps us through the use of its online registration system, which means we can ensure our whole invitation process is electronic rather than paper-based…Not only do online registration systems offer advantages in terms of efficiency, speed and accessibility, but they also have a sustainability angle as well.”

Your events can be go green with a few small changes here and there. If you have questions about how to make yours more sustainable, send us an e-note. We would love to help!

Let this Earth Day be the start of a more sustainable planet.

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Posted: April 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Green Events | No Comments »

For Earth Day: The Business Case for a Technology-Focused, Sustainable Event Strategy

Sustainability is not just an add-on to satisfy your more socially and environmentally aware customers and stakeholders, it’s also fast becoming a business imperative. That’s because whether you’re a large or small organization, sustainable practices can directly affect your bottom line.

As one of our clients, Shirley Chick from sustainable events experts CT Live, pointed out recently:

“It is no longer a case of people seeing sustainability as costing more. All our clients understand it saves you money; whether that be in designing your branded materials so they are reusable or benefiting from the efficiencies that online registrations system bring beyond the benefits of cutting out paper usage.”

Of course, Shirley’s right. Sustainable practices are a great way to save costs as well as the planet. Consider some of your costs – travel and accommodation, business meetings and events, and training. By strategically using technology, not only can you make these activities greener, but you can also reduce your spend.

The more frequently and the further your team travels and the longer they stay out of the office, the bigger their carbon footprint and the larger their expenses claim. They are also losing valuable work time, and so reducing their productivity. Introducing virtual meetings technology can maintain direct client contact, while reducing the need to travel and cutting the consequent time demands. The result? A winning combination of cost and carbon reduction.

If you’re concerned about investing in virtual events technology, rest assured that while the sophistication and quality has increased considerably, the cost has come down. Furthermore, rather than simply maintaining your level of direct client contact, with the system in place the chances are that this will actually increase, helping to strengthen your business relationships at a crucial time when the global economy is recovering.

Of course, adding value to your client and employee relationships through strategic meetings and events is also vital in an increasingly competitive business environment. Here, too, technology can help you to create more environmentally friendly activities that are also more efficiently run and more engaging for your audiences.

As Shirley pointed out earlier, online registration systems, for example, make it easier for delegates and attendees to sign up, while reducing the administrative burden on your staff, freeing them up for more productive work. Environmentally, they also reduce paper usage, not to mention the expense of designing and printing the related collateral. Such systems are increasingly user friendly and allow for branded delegate interfaces.

However, it is in the area of mobile technology where businesses can really benefit. Applications are now available that enable all delegate materials to be stored on mobile phones and updated in real time. This means there is not only less waste, but also more accurate information available at every delegate’s fingertips. Your event organization team can also gain from apps tailored to their needs, freeing them having to carry around burdensome printed information, while helping them better manage both delegates and the event overall.

So green really can equal “lean and mean” business operations – thanks to technology, of course!

For more information about mobile technology and other sustainable practices, check out our latest white paper, Five Ways Mobile Technology is Reshaping Events.

Lindsay Nayer
Enterprise Marketing Manager
Active Network | Events

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Posted: April 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Earth Day: Make Your Meetings Greener

Guest Post By:
Marina Antestenis, Marketing Manager
Active Network | Events

Tomorrow marks the 41st Earth Day Celebration! As such, a fundamental part of responsible environmental management is monitoring and reducing the carbon footprint of the events we manage. So how can you reduce the carbon footprint at your events?

There are wide ranges of initiatives that can be put into place to reduce an events carbon footprint, below are just a few ways, for more ideas check out our recent white paper.

Use paperless technology to manage and market your event.
Web-based registration and attendee management solutions are making it easier to manage any type of event online in a paperless environment. Take registrations online, send automatic emails to follow up and share reports digitally through a web link.

You can also market your event digitally through social media channels and emails. Email is, in most cases, more effective and less expensive than paper mailers, and even the most traditional event organizers are moving quickly to email technology to cut costs while reducing their environmental footprint. At a recent RegOnline users event, less than 10 percent of the room reported using direct mail.

Stay close.
One of the biggest carbon impacts comes from people traveling to/from the event followed by energy use at the event and waste production. If you have events that force your attendees to travel long distances, consider having more regional events that only require air travel for a few of your staff members. You can also try to arrange for the venue to be on or near a train stop to ease travel for attendees at your events. And if you have a large event, book all your sessions close enough that people can walk from venue to venue.

Choose a green hotel and vendors
Before you select a hotel and other vendors for your event, take the time to understand their commitment to the environment. For instance, make sure your hotel and venue are committed to green policies, including recycling and energy conservation. Consider hiring a green caterer. Many caterers are adopting green business practices, which include everything from cooking with seasonal and local vegetables to using recycled and compostable materials.

Go digital.
One of the most expensive, and environmentally impactful, pieces of an event is the stacks of hand outs that organizers and presenters print for attendees. Some organizations provide it on their web sites so attendees can review it online – or pick what information they would like to print.

Reuse. And Recycle.
When choosing materials for your conferences and meetings, focus on using materials that can be reused or recycled. For example, The CERES Conference used binders that featured 60 percent post-consumer paper content in the frame and 39 percent post-consumer steel in the rings. Plus, the conference printed its brochures with soy ink on recycled paper.

The best way to guarantee a greener event is to share your knowledge with others. Please pass along any tips you may have in the comments.

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Posted: April 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Green Events | Tags: | 2 Comments »

An Extra Pair of Eyes

What a relief! Tax season is officially over!

We are encouraged to double (even triple) check our taxes before filing with the IRS, making sure that every “i”  is dotted and every “t” is crossed. Whether you owe or are getting a return, don’t you want to make sure it is for the right amount?

A review from a knowledgeable professional can be useful in making sure all your bases are covered.  And when it comes to events, the same tenets apply.  Our Professional Services team provides the experience necessary to help maximize your events, helping make them as successful as possible.

Jessica Marshall, Team Lead of  our Professional Services, weighs in on her experiences:

In my (nearly) six years here I’ve yet to complete an event review without finding something to suggest, fix, add or adjust to the form reviewed.  It’s those six years of experience with our forms, our customers and their needs that give us the unique ability to make suggestions and look for hiccups that make all the difference in your registration and reporting.  Ours is such an easy product to set up on your own, but it’s also full of deeper features that you may not even know exist. What about group names? Conditional logic? Reminder emails? Smart-links? These are amazing tools developed with your needs in mind but you may not even know they’re there.

When we review an event we walk through each page of set up checking primarily for functionality – are there items missing? Could the current set up create registration or reporting problems? Then we take another round through the form looking for areas where those great features could be incorporated.  By using conditional logic you could streamline registration and increase the ‘wow’ factor for your registrants.  By using the event website you could post all those details clogging up your agenda page and present them prior to registration, rather than in the middle of.

I’ve often told our sales team, even if a customer intends to set up their form on their own, let us take a crack at it – our experience could make the difference between a frustrating first event and a customer awed by all we have to offer.

How can Professional Services help your next event? Email us today or contact your account manager to set up your event review!

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Posted: April 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Professional Services | Tags: | No Comments »

What to consider when developing your mobile applications

Guest Post By:
Marina Antestenis, Marketing Manager
Active Network | Events

Earlier this week we talked about incorporating mobile technology to maximize your events – both before, during and after. Here are a few additional tips to consider when developing your mobile application:

  • Use web and embedded options to remain platform agnostic.
  • Allow for application download during every registration process.
  • Think beyond an event by distributing content before and after.
  • Look at mobile as a new tool, not a replacement for old ones.
  • If you don’t know what your audience would like, ask them.

We’d also like to hear from you on what other things people should consider when developing their mobile apps. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

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Posted: April 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Mobile | Tags: , | No Comments »

How Mobile Technology is Reshaping Events

By: Eric Olson, General Manager
Active Network | Business Solutions

Mobile technology is becoming an event professionals’ secret weapon to success. Not only are mobile applications enhancing the meeting experience for both the event manager and the attendees but they’re helping generate additional revenues for the events through enhanced sponsorship opportunities. We’ll go into that into more detail on this in another post. Today we wanted to touch on a few ways we’re finding that mobile technology is changing events for both the event mangers and attendees.

Improved onsite efficiency and accuracy
Onsite mobile tools now provide real-time access to attendee check in, reports, lead retrieval data and customer feedback. By linking directly to event management platforms, these applications are eliminating out-of-date data, immediate access to attendee records, management of payment issues, monitor exhibitor or session traffic and quickly compile and evaluate attendee feedback.

Flexible, environmentally friendly content delivery
Mobile is making content delivery less expensive, more flexible and “greener” than traditional channels. For instance, organizers can easily update content and send alerts while attendees can update schedules dynamically and access area information, hotel details and venue maps to reduce frustration at events.

Improved interactivity and informed content
In addition to improving content delivery mechanisms mobile applications are improving content itself by expanding interactivity and increasing content relevance. Digital guides come to life with interactive polls and discussions. Attendees can provide feedback through their mobile devices with everything from their likes and dislikes to real-time contributions to live debates. This allows organizers and presenters to respond and react, building informed content around the needs of the audience.

Expanded networking for attendees
Mobile improves the networking process for attendees by providing intelligent matching tools that pair up attendees based on shared attributes. Once matched, attendees can use these applications to schedule one-on-one meetings, share contact information and connect through existing social networks.

Persistent audience engagement platform
Mobile technology’s biggest contribution may be its capacity to extend the reach of events by creating a persistent community platform. Social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are pulled together to create discussion. Twitter conversations are marshaled to aggregate relevant tweet subjects. Invitations to new events are delivered through push notifications and registration becomes a one-click process, ensuring that organizers maximize repeat attendance. Additionally, continuing education credits can be tracked and organizers are able to create progressive profiles based on attendee behavior, delivering meaningful data about their audience to their organization.

We recently published a white paper on this topic – How Mobile Technology is Reshaping Events – which goes into more detail.

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Posted: April 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Best Practices, Mobile | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Your event just got a whole lot easier to find and sign up for!

Guest Post By:
Brianne Fite, Account Executive
Active Network | Events

RegOnline is now integrated with Active.com, giving your event more exposure to new audiences. 

What is Active.com?  Good question! Active.com is an online registration and local event directory visited by millions of consumers each month as they search and register for events and activities that they love, want, and need to do.  Participants use Active.com to get involved with events that range from business conferences to triathlons to fundraisers.  Searching events is easy and online registration makes participation fast and convenient.

How is this feature going to benefit you, the event planner?  Similar to the other online directories that you can publish to (such as Eventful and Upcoming), Active.com will help you reach a larger audience, which means more visibility, an increase in PR, and the potential for a huge boost in registrations.  Exposure on Active.com will increase revenue and extend an event’s reach beyond existing stakeholders or your current client base.

Those of you who have published your events in directories like Eventful and Upcoming should be familiar with the setup process.  If you’re not familiar, here’s how you can post to Active.com.  Once you activate your registration form you will see the Promote tab.  Under the Event Listings section, click Promote Your Event on Event Listing Websites.

You will be brought to the Promote wizard where the basic event details and event categories can be completed. The Key Words section allows certain words that are associated with the event to be searchable in those Event Categories.

Once all the information is inputted, select which Event Categories you would like to promote to.   The Active.com option allows you to select an event format (Conference, Tradeshow, etc.) and a general topic to help interested participants find your event.

When all the fields are completed, publish your event to the directories!  It’s just that easy and it’s free. Soon you will have a flood of new registrations coming your way!

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Posted: April 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , | No Comments »

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