This is of a post of people who are managing communities and is less of a straight-up post about utilizing social media, but don’t go away, there’s useful information here for you too!

picture of people networking

Sometimes when you’re sitting behind a desk all day staring at social media sights and metrics all day long, you sometimes forget to realize that the main purpose of social media is about connecting to people who you have shared interests, and part of connecting sometimes means interacting with them in person, and what better way to connect with people in person that at an event.

As someone who has planned small events and larger events, I know the importance that events can play in building a brand or developing a greater affinity to an existing brand. I don’t think people realize that an event does not have to be a huge production, sometimes an event can be as simple as a mixer or networking event at your office or a local restaurant/bar. It’s not always about the size of the event, but the quality of the connections being made.

Here are some simple steps to help you plan your first event or if you’ve been planning events for some time, they can serve as a refresher.

  1. Decide what your goals for the event are. This can be as simple as wanting to connect people, to unveiling a new product or service.
  2. Decide who your audience is for this event. Is this a professional networking event or is it more of a casual gathering? This should align closely with what your event goals are.
  3. Secure a venue. This could be your offices, or an outside location. A lot of bars and restaurants will let you reserve a large enough space for meeting for free if you can ensure a certain number of guests will be present.
  4. Decide if you want to charge people to come. This can be as little as $5 to cover some of the costs of food and drinks, or much larger sums if you’re planning a conference or large scale event.
  5. Let people know about your event. That means invite some people to attend. You can use an event program like Meetup, Eventbrite, Facebook Events, or even Evite. Sites like Eventbrite and Meetup allow for processing of fees, which saves you a step when planning for the event.
  6. Be sure that if the group is a room full of strangers, you have some sort of icebreaker, and as much as I hate them, name tags help me remember people’s names more than just being introduced to them.
  7. Involve social media networks! This is a social media blog after all take plenty of pictures and post them to your group on Facebook and Instagram. Create an event hashtag so people can tag their tweets or photos.
  8. Follow-up after the event. Once your event is over, be sure to send a follow up thanking everyone for coming to the event and letting them know when the next event is.

While there are usually more than 8 steps to planning a great event, these can help guide you on your way. If you have any other event tips, be sure to post them in the comments section!

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