4 best blogs & twitter accounts event planners and marketers should be following

How do you stay on top of trends in the event planning world? Technology and social media are changing at such fast rates that it can be hard to keep up. Here are our picks for the best blogs & twitter accounts for event planners and marketers to consult:

 

1. Bizbash
www.bizbash.com
https://twitter.com/bizbash_news

logo

BizBash is a top resource for event planners nationwide. Providing everything from venue selection to marketing tips to party planning ideas, BizBash is a must resource to stay on top of your game as an event organizer.

 

2. LizKing
http://lizkingevents.com/blog/
https://twitter.com/lizkingevents

lk-logo

Liz King is one of the top event bloggers located in NYC. Her expertise lies in social media integrated event planning and her blog is a great resource for learning about new technologies you can infuse into your event.

 

3. Jack Morton
https://twitter.com/jackmorton
http://blog.jackmorton.com/

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 11.30.43 AM

Jack Morton is a top experiential marketing agency that provides great white papers and insight into creating interactive brand experiences at events. If you need inspiration on how to better integrate sponsors into your event or if you are a sponsor, Jack Morton is your man.

 

4. Event Manager Blog
http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/
https://twitter.com/eventmb

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 11.21.23 AM

Event Manager Blog is another one of our favorite resources. Founded by Julis Solaris, the site provides tips that come from first hand experience. The blog has been widely referenced. It is featured on Alltop and ranks first on BlogRank’s Event Planning category. Event Manager Blog is page rank 5 on Google.

5 amazing giveaways and promotion tips for your pop-up event or tradeshow booth

tradeshow floor

Tradeshow floor

Imagine walking into a 3,200,000 square foot conference center, attended by over 200,000 participants on average and bombarded by 5,000 exhibitors clamoring for your attention. Think about this from an average attendees perspective at a venue like the Las Vegas Convention Center, and it becomes easy to understand why making your booth stand out is more important than ever.

Whether it’s as big as CES or as small as a booth at the local farmer’s market, driving foot traffic to your booth is huge for your company’s ROI.

Companies are constantly running promotions and giveaways at their booths, but from an attendee’s perspective, they’ve seen it all: pens, notebooks, stickers and more. How can you really stand out from the crowd and make your exhibit more engaging? Here are 10 great giveaways and promotion tips for your pop-up event or tradeshow booth:

1. Actually bring awesome food.

Stop with the bundle packs of candy that no one likes. People love getting free food, and it can be a huge driver of foot traffic to your booth, but bringing out a glass bowl and placing tootsie rolls inside isn’t going help. It can be expensive to spend money on food, but think of each person that takes a cupcake as a potential lead. How much would you be willing to spend to get that person to listen to you? If money is an issue, hire a few high school or college students to bake chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for you. Easy and delicious!

Some great food choices: Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups, mini-cupcakes, cheese & crackers

Or if it’s hot out: Frozen virgin margaritas, lemonade, ice cream

2. Forget the booth and make people laugh or smile

At TechCrunch, a conference for technology startups & companies, the most memorable booth was not even a booth actually. AT&T, a sponsor,  simply hired a bunch of magicians and circus troupe members to interact with attendees all over the venue. You could get balloon animals or be a part of a cool card trick. Overall, it was fun & it stood out.

3. If you’re going to give away T-shirts, at least make them interesting

Most brands and companies will simply put their logo on a t-shirt. It’s great that you spent all this money on those shirts, but if no one will wear them afterward to help you advertise, it’s really wasted money. Try investing a bit more time to create quality shirts with comfortable material that attendees would actually consider wearing afterward — even just to the gym.

T-shirts from New Relic

Nerd life

4. What’s even better that giving out pre-made goodies is allowing your attendees to customize them on the spot.

On-the-spot silkscreen printing of T-shirts & posters are great for attendees because it makes them feel like they own a part of the process. Even if you only have 4 silkscreen prints for them to choose between, the fact that they got to choose the color or the print makes it so much more personalized for them. This simple DIY act will also tend to draw long lines & a lot of attention.

5. Makeovers or face painting

Who doesn’t like face painting. C’mon. Doesn’t matter how old you are, it still is awesome.

Face painting – Source (http://llfp.tumblr.com/)

A company based in LA called Mindshare.la throws great events centered around technology & art interactions. Our team here has been to a few, and the installations and interactions they’ve put on are nothing short of brilliant.

Whether it’s face painting or giving out cupcakes, the number one tip to keep in mind is that your attendees are normal people. They like to have fun, laugh and be surprised. Make sure your booth or event can help them do that in some shape or form.

Spreading the Word, Part 2: Email marketing to promote your event

images

Although our inboxes are getting more crammed everyday, email marketing is still one of the best ways to promote your event–if you know how to do it correctly.

Based on our own email marketing campaigns and our work with event marketers across industries, here are some tips to improve your conversion rates.

Develop an ideal customer profile

The first thing you need to do is focus on who exactly you’re targeting. The table below is an example of Planana’s ideal customer. Once you know who you’re marketing to, it’s much easier to find them.

Criteria We Want

Why

Events at least once a month

They’ll have a constant need for our tool

Industries – technology, entertainment, media

Most social media saavy

Values, people

Responsive, honest, and collaborative

Current system

Experimenting with social media

In-house social media manager

See the value of social in their overall strategy

Has sponsors

So they’ll benefit more from our perks by incorporating their sponsors

Paid tickets (and early bird specials)

Easiest use case for Planana

Build a relationship with your ideal customer

This is a two-step process:

1. Find where your ideal customer is online. What blogs do they read? What groups have they joined on LinkedIn? What pages do they like on Facebook? Find these answers and start participating. Ask to do guest posts. Join the LinkedIn groups and start commenting. You get the idea.

2. ONLY once you’ve become an active member of your ideal customer’s communities, then you can start talking about your own brand. Make sure to include a link to your site or blog in these posts so it’s as easy as possible to join your email list.

Send short emails

When you have these emails and are ready to market your event, make sure to keep your emails short. By short, I mean 5 sentences or less. Provide a link with more information on how to register but don’t drown people with text. They will stop reading or even worse stop opening your emails.

Make sure to keep an eye on your open metrics, click-through rates, and conversions. You don’t know if you’re improving if you don’t know where you started.

And, as always, let us know if you have any killer tips or if you need our help improving your event promotion strategy!

-Anna

What are the most successful social media campaigns of all time?

I would say “memorable” can also be deemed as successful. Companies usually run marketing campaigns to: 1) Increase sales and/or 2) increase brand mindshare. Brand mindshare means how often do you associate a certain brand with a specific category. For example, if someone asks me, hey can you name a few car brands off the top of your head, I would say, Audi, Toyota, BMW, etc. These brands are constantly competing for mindshare to make sure that they are at the top of everyone’s lists.

For some big companies such as Coca Cola, brand mindshare does actually affect their sales. In that split second when you’re trying to decide what type of soda to purchase, that’s when brand mindshare will come in. It’s so automatic that you as a consumer don’t even realize it.

So here is a successful, memorable, and simply awesome viral campaign by Coca Cola:

Social Media Marketing: What factors make a social media campaign successful?

tumblr_m2t1exAZoP1rtr4fho1_1280

Social Media Marketing: What factors make a social media campaign successful?

If you’re asking about what metrics specifically, across the industry I would say most people don’t know. Perhaps it’s the number of tweets/retweets, or maybe it’s the total # of impressions.

There are really two main ways to categorize success. Either it generated a TON of awareness or it made you a lot of money. If it did both, then awesome.
Awareness
1. How many people saw your content? Page views, video views, etc.
2. How many of those people shared your content to their networks?
3. How many people are in those networks?
4. Consequently how many of those friends/followers also shared to their networks? This is the virality factor
$$$$
1. How many leads did it generate?
2. How much extra in sales did you make? (This can be difficult to track, but you can tie tracking links to your tweets so that you can see how many people bought your product from a certain point)
3. How much did this campaign cost and what was your return?And lastly, would your boss let you do it again?
And lastly, would your boss let you do it again?

Event planner profile: Startup Socials

logo

Startup Socials, run by the company Startup Monthly, hosts networking parties for entrepreneurs, investors, startups and other professionals. These parties pack at least 300-500 people at each party and a great time is had by everyone.

Startup Monthly uses these events to promote their accelerator fund. Having just raised a fund, they are looking forward to investing around $50,000 in selected startups to be a part of their program.

Check out their upcoming events below:
San Francisco (July 19) (Get free tickets via Planana!)

San Francisco (Aug 23)

New York (Jul 25)

Tel Aviv (Sept 10)

Spreading the Word, Part 1: “Where should I post my event?”

Events calendar

When we build a promotional strategy for a new client, we always get asked: “What else can I do to spread the word about my event?”

Event marketers are hungry for more tools to help their events succeed. But, with event promotion trends constantly changing, it’s hard to keep up and even harder to rise above the noise. At Planana, we want to help event organizers navigate this tumultuous online landscape, so we’ve started a series called “Spreading the Word.” Each week, we will post tips about event promotion – about filling seats, selling tickets, and getting your event the attention it deserves.

Our first post is about event aggregation sites. Posting on these sites is a great strategy to increase your event’s page rank on Google and improve your overall SEO. Here are our top picks:

Lanyrd.com

Lanyrd is a well-designed, user-friendly site for discovering events. If your event is technology-focused, you need to post on Lanyrd. But the site is broader than just technology events; they want to connect potential attendees to interesting professional events worldwide.

TradeshowCalender.com

If your event is a tradeshow, this site is your mecca. With an exhaustive list of tradeshows across industries and across the globe, Tradeshow Calender is the best place to post your tradeshow.

AllConferences.com

AllConferences has the most comprehensive database I’ve seen. showcasing over 100,000 conferences at any point in time.

ConferenceHound.com

Conference Hound is similar to Lanyrd, but it seems to cover more industries.

Plancast.com

If your event is more social than professional, you should definitely give Plancast a try. It boosts a wide variety of local events perfect for exploring your community.

Are we missing your favorite aggregation site? Let us know by leaving a comment!

-Anna

Twitter vs Facebook vs LinkedIn – Which is best for your event?

push

You know that your event needs to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but these platforms are not created equal for each event type.

Facebook

Regardless of your event type, you need to be on Facebook. Events are inherently social – whether a party or a professional conference – and that type of energy is best captured by Facebook.

But the real question is – to make a Facebook event or not to make a Facebook event?

My answer is no. Don’t do it. Please.

Every time that I get invited to an event on Facebook, I ignore it.

For an event to catch my attention, I need to see one of my friends posting about the event. Or I need to see interesting content about the event (that’s if I’m already a fan of the Facebook page). This kind of activity can happen organically, but encouraging people to post about your event or like your page is a great Planana use case.

Twitter

Although typically used for at-event promotion with hashtags being particularly popular, Twitter is a great platform for spreading the word before your event takes place.

Regardless of event type, our data shows that events see about equal incoming traffic from Facebook and Twitter. But we see higher conversations to ticket purchases when the event is geared towards networking or socializing.

If you’re using Planana to create a broader presence for your event on Twitter, we strongly recommend including your Twitter handle in the default Twitter message that your attendees see when redeeming a perk. You’ll be able to track tweets and see what people are saying in real-time, which you can’t do with Facebook.  As an added bonus, you’ll get great soundbites for your sponsors and press.

LinkedIn

The holy grail for professional events, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool. You can target professionals at the companies or in the industries that you want  in attendance.

If your event is by any means professional, get on LinkedIn. Get active. Build a community. ‘Nough said.

- Anna