How Social Media and Online Platforms Can Be Used Effectively in Event Organisation and Promotion – Part 2 – Part Two

International Confex 2013Following on from part 1 of Robin Brattel’s talk at the 30th anniversary International Confex show, here we conclude how social media and online platforms can be used effectively in event organisation and promotion.

Our first installment finished off by discussing the six stages of online community development and how you can identify them. Now, it’s important to understand the impact that guiding someone from being a ‘lurker’ to a ‘brand advocate’ can have when trying to organise and promote your event.

There are three stages of any event – the before, during and after. When used correctly, social media is an excellent tool that can be used for promotion, engagement and even extending the life of an event.

BeforeThis is the time when you are no doubt going to want to promote and raise awareness of your event. Social media can help you to:

  • Engage your audience and create chatter
  • Encourage social introductions through likes and shares
  • Target influencers you wouldn’t normally have access to
  • Increase success – people are 71% more likely to buy from a company if they have been referred to via social media

DuringWhilst your event is taking place you want to engage with your attendees as much as possible. There are a number of ways you can use social media during this time to actively encourage participation from everyone there:

  • Create a Twitter hashtag and encourage anyone tweeting about the event to use it
  • Maintain interest – good quality and interesting content is quick and easy to post and keeps you at the forefront of people’s minds
  • Go viral – competitions are a great way to encourage people to like and retweet content that will then be seen by their connections
  • Live streaming of the event can be watched by those who couldn’t attend and uploading highlights onto a YouTube video can be used for future promotions

AfterJust because your event is over it doesn’t mean that the hype has to die down. Social media is a great way of extending the life of your event and there are a number of ways you can ensure that people carry on talking about it:

  • Videos – with 800 million users on YouTube you potential audience is massive
  • Blogging – posting a write-up of your event is a great way to remind people about it, inform those who couldn’t attend and even create excitement about the next one
  • Photos – people love seeing photos and they are easy to notice and share on social media platforms
  • Ask for feedback – as well as finding out what people thought of your recent event, asking what they would like to see next time is a sure fire way to guarantee getting people through the door

By now, most people are familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. However, there are also a number of other platforms available that are well suited to a number of different uses:

Flickr – this is a great place to upload photos before, during and after your event

Presdo.com – a good networking tool prior to your event

Corkboard.me – can be used for collaboration and sharing content

Sentiment140.com – one of the many sentiment tools you can use during your event

Coveritlive.com – a good way to curate content during your event

Eventility.coma great way to organise or promote your club, group, community or event. For more information about Eventility, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Some of the Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

Although we aim to make the Eventility website as user friendly and easy to use as possible, sometimes issues come up that you may need a hand with. So, if you’re running a club, group or event, here are some of the most common frequently asked questions we receive and how to resolve them.

How much does it cost to sign up to Eventility?

Eventility is absolutely free for people involved with clubs, groups, events and associations. With your free account you have everything you need to organise and manage your club, group or event. You have access to everything you could possibly need including your message board feed, 2,000 email credits every 4 weeks, free tickets, photo galleries and much more. The only time you pay is if you want the extras we offer such as paid tickets, subscriptions, SMS bundles and high volume email send outs.

How do I change my password?

To change your password, simply log in to your Eventility account and click on ‘My Account’ at the top of your screen. Select the ‘Password’ option and complete the required fields by entering your current password and confirm what you want your new password to be. Press ‘Change Password’ and your new password will be activated immediately.

How do Eventility ticket fees compare to other services?

Eventility charges a set fee per ticket of just 50 pence. In addition there are processing fees charged by the payment provider (PayPal). Our closest competitors charge a higher set fee per ticket as well as an additional percentage per transaction. We pride ourselves on our competitive pricing and never hide our prices from our customers. To see a breakdown of our ticket fees compared to some of our competitors, you can do so here.

How do I import my contacts from my email address book?

Import ContactsRather than manually entering in all of your contact details we’ve made it quick and easy to import your contacts from all the leading email programs.  We support Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, Plaxo and of course, Outlook. Whether you are adding new members or inviting people to your event just click the icon and follow the simple onscreen instructions.

How do email credits work?

Email credits are deducted from your account every time you send an email to:

  • Club or group members by using the ‘Contact Options’ dropdown
  • Event invitees by using the ‘Contact Options’ dropdown

Email credits won’t be deducted when you send an email to:

  • Invite contacts to join your club, group or community
  • Send invites to your event
  • Send offers (applies to place subscribers only)
  • Post to the message board/feed
  • Eventility send out email reminders about events on your behalf

All accounts are topped up with a maximum of 2,000 free email credits every 4 weeks. To send out more emails that you have credits for, you can purchase a bundle in the extras tab.

How do I send SMS messages?

You can make sure that your club or group never misses out on any of your events or updates by purchasing an SMS bundle. You can send as many one off messages as you want – we make sure that it all conforms to the Phone Pay Plus Code of Practice so you don’t have to worry about any spam accusations. You can find out more about our SMS bundles and pricing here.

If you have a question that hasn’t been covered here, please feel free to post your query in our support section and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

The Top 10 Weirdest British (Possibly Sporting) Events

If you need something to do and are looking for an activity that’s a little out of the ordinary, you’re in luck. There are a whole host of weird and wonderful events that take place in the on our shores every year. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 weirdest British events as reported by studentbeans.com.

10) World Pooh Sticks Championships – Oxfordshire – March

Who would have thought that people would take inspiration from one of Winnie The Pooh’s favourite pastimes? Famous for throwing a stick under a bridge and relishing in the sheer joy of waiting for it to appear on the other side, hundreds of Oxfordshire residents now enjoy the annual Pooh Sticks Championships for themselves. In 2012 it was voted Britain’s Favourite Quirky Event by Countryfile readers and this year will see the event celebrate its 30th anniversary.

9) Stilton Cheese Rolling Championship – Stilton – May

Cheese rolling has become an annual event in the town of Stilton and every May Day hundreds of villagers and visitors gather around to watch the event take place. Each year teams of four battle it out for the honour of being crowned the ‘Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions’. Every competitor has to touch the cheese at least once during the competition and the winners receive Stilton and beer or Stilton and wine to help them celebrate.

8) Annual Nettle Eating Contest – Dorset – June

While most of us would avoid coming into contact with stinging nettles at all costs, in Dorset, nettle eating has become a great tradition. Every year contestants are given one hour to eat as many nettles as possible in exchange for a well-deserved trophy and £100 prize money for the winner. As if the pain of eating stinging nettles wasn’t enough, the after-effects aren’t too great either with one former winner claiming that “everything comes out bright green for a few days afterwards”.

7) Snail Racing Championship – Norfolk – July

Despite being far from the most fast-paced event in the world, the annual Snail Racing Championship attracts hundreds of spectators every year. The event has been going since the 1960s and snails have to cover a ratio of 13-14 inches. The fastest time a snail has ever achieved in this competition was 2 minutes in 1995 – a record that no other snail has been able to beat.

6) World Hen Racing Championship – Peak District – August

Despite the fact that it’s virtually impossible to control a chicken and the event normally ends up in complete mayhem, entrants take the World Hen Racing Championship very seriously. The competition’s organiser trains his chosen hen for an hour each day in the months running up to the race in the hope that this will help his hen secure first place. The race is not only all fun and games however, because the day is designed to help raise money for the British Hen Welfare Trust.

5) International Worthing Birdman – Worthing – August

This event is not for the faint-hearted as it’s a human flying machine contest. Competitors are divided into two categories – slightly crazy types in fancy dress and the more serious contenders who spend months designing complex contraptions. There is a £30,000 prize for anyone who flies over 100m but this is yet to be achieved in the competition’s 30-year history.

4) World Gravy Wrestling Championships – Rossendale – August

Every year this Lancashire town witnesses competitors battling out for victory as they slide about in a paddling pool full of lukewarm gravy. Contestants must wrestle in the gravy for 2 minutes whilst being scored for audience applause and various different moves before being crowned the winners. Fortunately, the local fire brigade is on hand to spray down entrants before they make their way home.

3) Black Pudding Throwing Championships – Lancashire – September

This annual tradition plays out the ancient grudge between Yorkshire and Lancashire residents. Competitors have three attempts to knock down as much of their target as they can (last year it was Yorkshire puddings) from a purpose built stand called the oche. Anyone can participate in the event providing they don’t mind dodging the hundreds of puddings that are normally flying around.

2) World Gurning Championships – Cumbria – September

If you are looking for a truly unique event, then the World Gurning Championship is for you. Contestants put their heads through a horse collar and pull the most hideous face they can. The winner is decided by the applause of the huge audience that come to enjoy a day of laughing at others and being surprised at the vast array of shocking faces that are pulled.

1) Biggest Liar in the World Competition – Cumbria – November

In this annual competition, contestants from around the world have five minutes to tell the biggest and most convincing lie they can. The reigning champion and seven-time winner is John Graham who continues to wow the judges year after year. Believe it or not, politicians and lawyers are banned from entering the competitions because they are judged to be too skilled at telling lies and it would be unfair on other entrants.

Do you know of any other crazy events that take place in the UK or around the world? Why not share them with us in the comments section below.

How to Find a Great Venue for Your Event

Anyone who has ever organised any type of event, meeting or get-together will know that choosing the right venue can often make or break the success of whatever it is you’re hosting. Venue selection is often the most challenging part of the process because even the smallest oversight can cause major setbacks for attendees.

There are a number of important things to consider when deciding on a venue for your ‘event’. The first and most obvious thing to bear in mind is the location and where your attendees will be coming from. If you have a number of different groups staggered all over the country, it might be worth considering hosting a number of smaller events across  different locations. People are far more likely to make the effort to attend something if it’s easy for them to get to.

Birthday PartyThe type of event you are hosting is also going to be a big consideration when deciding on your venue. If you’re holding an evening networking event then a room in a pub could be ideal but if you’re holding a children’s party or family club, then a family friendly venue is more appropriate. Think about what is appropriate to your audience and activities.

Don’t forget to think about how many people you are expecting, if you need any special equipment, whether or not there is parking or a train station nearby and if you need any other facilities such as a bar, kitchen, dressing room or stage. There are plenty of venues in your area that can be searched for on the Eventility website. You can even put advanced filters on your search to ensure that only venues that fit your exact criteria will come up.

A lot of people forget that their group or community members can be a great resource for venue ideas. Simply send out a quick message asking for recommendations and you will be surprised how many people are happy to help. Other organisers are also another great source of information because they will have experience when it comes to finding and working with the venues in your area. You can use search on the Eventility site to find other clubs, groups and communities in your area and contact them to see if they have any suggestions for you.

Finally, a great tip when looking for a venue is to consider other businesses that could benefit from hosting your event at their location. For example, if you’re holding a wine tasting club, a small local restaurant or café may be more than happy to accommodate you because chances are that people will buy food and other drinks at some point during the evening. If the venue stands to gain from you being there, it’s more likely that they will offer you, or you can negotiate, a special rate.

If you have any questions about hosting events, clubs, groups or communities check out the Eventility Support Site.

How To Be a Great Networker

Effective networking is important to both business and social occasions, especially when it comes to hosting events, groups and clubs. As well as projecting yourself as professional and knowledgeable, it can also be vital to raising awareness and acquiring important contacts.

Here are some of our top tips for becoming a great networker and getting the most out of your events.

Get to Know People

Good networkers know that initially, networking is not about ‘selling’. Trying to convince somebody to join your club or group within minutes of meeting them is likely to put them off because you won’t have showed an interest in them and what they do. If you get to know people first, a natural relationship will develop and sure enough, opportunities will follow.

Effective networkingBe Enthusiastic

The best networkers attract people towards them without having to make much of an effort because they are the sort of people that others enjoy spending time with. Always coming across as upbeat, positive and enthusiastic means that people are much more likely to warm to you, remember you in the future and importantly, even recommend you to others. If you are excited about your club or group then other people naturally will be and as a result they will be far more likely to join.

Be Brave

People often form perceptions of others based on their position, authority and experience. It can be easy to feel intimidated by those who are incredibly successful or high up in a company but it’s important not to fall into the trap of seeing the title rather than the person. Great networkers tend to see a person for who they are and are brave enough to approach them in the first place, which can make all the difference.  No matter who it is, if there is someone in particular you want to invite to join your club or group, don’t be afraid to ask because you just never know who might be interested.

Show Commitment

When someone recommends you, gives you a referral or chooses to invest in you in some way, they want to know that you are committed for the foreseeable future. For example, if you attend a networking event and encourage people to join your sports group but then never update it or plan any events, people will very quickly lose interest and are unlikely to invest their time in you again.

Know Your Audience

In order for your networking efforts to be successful, it’s vital that you talk to the right people. Every time you sign up to attend an event ask yourself if it’s a good fit, if people you are looking to attract are going to be there and whether or not you think you will get quality ‘leads’ from it. For example, if you are looking for people to join your fitness group, a business networking event is unlikely to be the time or place to find the audience you are looking for.

Never Stop Networking

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be at a pre-planned networking event to meet the people you are looking to attract. Regardless of whether you are at a meeting, the pub or a coffee shop, it’s always worth being prepared because people often find that the best opportunities come from the individuals and places they least expect.

Do you have any valuable tips for successful networking? Why not share your tips and advice with us below.

The Power of Online Communities for Local Businesses Infographic

Social networks have long been seen as a ‘leveller’, enabling local businesses to compete with big brands for a decent share of customer attention. In many respects local businesses are better placed to take advantage of social media than big brands. They find it easier to create meaningful relationships with their customers – they might even be on first name terms – and, since the majority of their customers’ social media connections will also live locally, are well placed to benefit from recommendations.

As well using social networks to engage with existing customers online, businesses are also attracting new ones. The fact that there are over 1 billion smart-phone users and that 40% of mobile searches are for local businesses gives an indication of the importance of having a strong web presence and making your business easy to find.

Yet lots of small businesses are still not tapping into their online communities.

To help fix this situation – we’ve produced this handy infographic which highlights the importance of online communities and how local businesses can make the most of them.

One of the key things the infographic highlights is the sheer number of small businesses that are already using social networks and gaining new customers as a result. Almost three quarters of small businesses use Facebook and over half are using LinkedIn and Twitter. Added to that, research by Manta suggests that 78% of small businesses are gaining a significant proportion of new customers through social media.

Generation Y in particular are using social networks to inform purchase decisions, with 61% turning to social media to decide where to go when going out. Online reviews also play a significant role in this, with 52% saying that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.

Promotions offer a great way to reward existing customers and to attract new ones, with 73% of consumers saying they search for discounts and promotions online. They are also a great way of increasing footfall, with research showing that 59% of consumers have gone into a store or business premises as a result of finding an offer or coupon online.

Of course, social media can’t stand on its own: email marketing is another hugely valuable tool for local businesses. There are roughly 3 billion email users in the world and 19% of all time spent online is devoted to reading and responding to emails. As a marketing tool it is clearly has value – 77% of small businesses have reported email marketing increases their revenues and as a result, 85% plan to increase their use of email in 2013.

It’s also important to consider the role that SMS marketing can play. It’s estimated that 8,000,000,000,000 text messages were sent last year (yes, try saying that number!) and 90% of them were read within 3 minutes. With such a high open rate, it’s a great way to advertise promotions to your community or to send reminders – so long as you’ve got their permission to text them.

Of course, all of this takes time and that’s why we created Eventility. If you haven’t tried us out yet – Eventility brings all of this into one easy-to-use online platform, offering an effective way to manage and promote your business.

You can manage your contacts, organise and advertise events, run targeted promotions, manage your social media engagement, collect customer reviews, add your location to online maps, deliver SMS marketing and send emails with in-built tracking – all using one powerful tool – plus we can power your website too.

www.eventility.com/tour#place

Online Customer Communities

Embed Video, Audio, Images and Rich Media in Your Eventility ‘Feed’ (Message Board)

We’ve done it again! The latest release of Eventility integrates the fantastic embed.ly  into your club, group or community ‘feed’ (message board). This means we can turn almost any link you share into embedded images, videos and rich previews. Check out some screenshots below and see just how powerful your message board could become.

Video

Embed full videos simply by posting a link. Let your members watch content from over 50 providers including: YouTube, Brightcove, Vimeo, Hulu…

Youtube

Audio

Post a track you’ve uploaded to Soundcloud, share a Spotify playlist, or add audio comments from Audioboo…

Soundcloud

Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t just tell your members what you are talking about – show them. Supported image providers include: Flickr, Instagram, Twitter Pics…

flikr

Rich Media

Want to visualize a story or presentation or share a link to an online document? We’ve got you covered. Media providers include: Graphicly, Storify, SlideShare, Scribd, Dropbox, Crocodoc…

scribd

Here is the full list of supported content providers which is pretty awesome – Happy Embedding!

If you’re already signed-up to Eventility, login to get embedding. If you’ve not discovered us yet, sign-up for a really easy way to organise and promote any club, group, community, event, place, venue or business.

New Eventility Scan App Checks-in Tickets and Vouchers in Seconds

Eventility is pleased to announce our latest mobile app, Eventility Scan. Developed specially for organisers to simplify the process of validating event tickets at the door and vouchers at point of sale – It only takes seconds to check-in with Eventility Scan.

FeatureGraphic2

Eventility ScanThe Eventility Scan App lets you scan the barcode on Eventility tickets and vouchers. It confirms validity, records the check-in against your account and prevents the same ticket/voucher being used twice. The app supports multiple devices and managers so you can have more than one person working the doors.

Simply press the check-in button and Eventility Scanuse your device camera to validate tickets and vouchers. The Android app automatically installs a barcode scanner if needed. Scan the QR code and within a second we’ll validate whether it’s genuine and hasn’t been used before. You can then analyse all your check-in stats online.

The Eventility Scan app is available free on Google play to help make organising and promoting any event or offer really easy.

Android App

Coming Soon

Social Media for Sports Clubs Infographic

Of the 6000 plus clubs, groups and communities that use Eventility.com to organise and promote their fixtures and events, sport is one of the most popular areas.  Local clubs and teams, as well as sports organisations such as the Sport and Recreation Alliance and spogo are turning to the web to help reach potential new members, communicate with existing members and organise their activities.

As our CEO, Robin Brattel, says: “Organising a team or club has always been a tricky business, frequently involving the time consuming process of emails and last minute text messages. But social media platforms like Eventility have the power to change all that by providing a free one-stop-shop for team or club organisation and promotion”.

With that in mind, we put together this infographic (below) to look at how sports clubs of all sizes are using social media platforms successfully – and some rather less successfully.

As you’d expect, the London 2012 Olympics were a huge social media triumph. There were over 150m tweets about the Games and 67% of British adults used social media to follow the action live. Spice Girls aside, Usain Bolt attracted the most mentions with tweets peaking at 80,000 per-minute following his victory in the 200m.

Of course, here at Eventility we’re especially interested in how local sporting events make use of the web. It’s encouraging to see that 76% of sports event organisers use social platforms to promote their events, but this figure is only 50% when looking at smaller events.

I’m sure this will improve throughout 2013 – and we feel we’re playing our part by offering an amazing free platform to help clubs stay organised. Just in case you missed our pitch: Eventility helps teams and groups to save time, effort and resources, and to communicate easily with members and reach out to new members.

Sport and Social Media - Eventility Infographic

Sport and Social Media – Eventility Infographic

New Year, New Look and Feel, Plus More Features and Improved Functionality

Eventility New Home Page

It’s the New Year so Eventility.com has a fresh new look as well as improved functionality and some fantastic new product features.

Here’s What’s New…

For Clubs, Groups and Communities
Member Lists – Get organised for 2013 with this powerful feature that lets you organise your members into any number of different lists so that you can communicate with them by email and SMS even more quickly and effectively. Learn more
Message Board – Replies are now sent via email to the group organiser and anyone else who replied to the post
Daily Digest Emails  – Roll up of the message board activity and is sent to all group members. A group/event organiser email includes additional activity e.g. new members joined today, number and type of RSVPs
Photo Upload  – Uploading to a group gallery has been improved and now allows multiple images to be uploaded at the same time
Facebook Posting – if you manage multiple Facebook accounts you can now select which ones to post your reminders to (See My Account > Facebook)
Email Controls – We’ve simplified the layout and clarity of the email controls (See My Account > Privacy)

For Places and Venues
Simplified Configuration  – Checkboxes now allow fine granular control of exactly what is displayed on your venue listing
Rooms Descriptions – For managed venues we support the addition of rooms with description, quantity, rate and image
Booking Solutions/Widgets – Other third party booking solutions/widgets can now be included
iLike – Your venues can now be ‘iLiked’ by anyone on the site allowing them to be added to your venue community

For Place and Venue Communities
New Offers Widget – We’ve enhanced our offers engine to work in a similar way to events with organiser and live views. Promote your offers on your site with the new offers widget
Offers Report – A report is now included to reflect the number of downloads, check-ins and the overall redemption rate. Promote your offers on your site with the new offers widget

Mobile App

Our mobile app is on the Android store  with fantastic augmented reality ‘on the horizon’ functionality

Eventility in the Google Chrome Store

Eventility is now available in the Google Chrome webstore. Click here to get a fab shortcut to Eventility whenever you open a new tab in Chrome and don’t forget to rate and review – we love 5 stars!

Eventility.com

We’ve moved to .com! – Don’t worry, all your events are still there on .co.uk

Plus, lots of other tweaks to the site and bug fixes!

We hope you love the new changes as much as we do, so why not go and have a look around on Eventility and try out the new features.

There’s also more information on these changes on our Eventility Support Site.

We’d really love to hear what you think of the new changes or if you have any site requests, so contact us.