When it comes to event planning, one of the key elements is networking. Nowadays you can break it down into two specific categories: Online and Offline. Both are effective, and both will help you create an event that not only sticks in the minds of the people who attend, but can also help you grow your business or organization by leaps and bounds if you know how to do it correctly.
It’s pretty simple really. Take a stack of your business cards or flyers and hit the streets. Find businesses that would be willing to take an interest in your event or organization and make them aware of whats coming up. Find local business groups, or even get out to a concert or similar event to what you’re planning and interact with your demographic. Give them comped tickets so they can bring some of their higher ups to the event for free and get immersed in the environment that you create for them. Make as many contacts as you can so that it’s not just people who are stopping by to see what’s going on, but people who could actually make a difference AND can help you in the future.
This goes hand in hand with networking at the actual event itself. Don’t be the behind the scenes man (or woman) while your event is running. It’s counterproductive. You need to be the face of the entire event. Mingling and schmoozing every single person you can in order to make sure people know why you’re doing the event, whether its to raise money or just have a good time. Let them know that you do other events as well and you’d love for them to come. Make their experience on that stands out in their minds and makes them want to keep in touch with you for future endeavors.
Professionally and socially, this is becoming easier and easier with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pintrest and many, many others. It’s so incredibly easy to connect with people via the internet. Create as much of a buzz as possible. Use all of your networks to make everyone aware that you’re having an event, and then on top of that make it as interactive as possible. Contests, giveaways, special activities that will only be seen AT the event. These are all pretty basic philosophies for event planning.
To dive a little deeper, search around on your various networks for groups, pages, and key figures in your area that you can give special attention to and get them behind your event. Make them aware of it, and cross promote. Give them value for helping you whether it’s helping to get word out about their company or something their promoting. It’s like free sponsorship, and it creates a synergy that is priceless.
The more people that you hit up about your project, the more success you’ll have. Some people think that just by sending out email invites and Facebook invites they’ll get a huge response. Social media is useful, but it’s definitely not the end all be all. You’ve got to do the extra leg work in order to see real results.
Network with anyone and everyone you possibly can. Even if it doesn’t blow your first event off the roof, it gives you credibility for the next one you do. You’ll have made valuable connections that will be able to help you long into the future. DO NOT neglect the power of a solid network.
How else do you network besides what I’ve talked about here?