Event Planning For Beginners, Part 4: Technology
In the final post of our Event Planning for Beginners series, let’s touch on the basics of using technology to make the most of your event. For the most part, the days of hand-written event invitations and snail-mailed RSVPs are over, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing! Modern day technology makes marketing and tracking event success a breeze. Of course, it is always a good idea to establish the goals for your event before you get start, and a good old pen and paper will do for that. But once you know what you want to accomplish, let technology do the heavy lifting for you. Here are some ways to make your event shine using user-friendly technology:
In some cases, an email invitation (or “e-vite”) is still a good way to reach your intended audience, especially if you want to limit your attendees. However, if your goal is to reach as many people as possible, it is time to put social media to use. If your company doesn’t already have, at the very least, a Facebook and Twitter account, get on it. Then you can get the word out about your event "organically" by sharing with your existing network, or by paid advertising. Don’t worry about breaking your event budget – social media advertising is incredibly affordable and customizable.
Most attendees will agree that carrying around a bundle of paperwork during an event is both cumbersome and annoying. This problem can be resolved by providing a customized app for your event. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to create an app from scratch. Companies already exist that provide the framework for your event app. All you have to do is plug in the information and spread the word. Now, event schedules, breakout session information, presentation slides, and attendee information are all available at your fingertips. This is an especially attractive option for networking events, because attendees can see who else will be at the event ahead of time and start to plan who they would like to meet.
There was a time when event attendees would have to sign into sessions or sign up for more information from a company’s tradeshow booth all by hand. It was time consuming and exhausting, especially at tradeshows where the same information had to be provided at every booth. This caused traffic jams at registration tables, discouraging passers-by to stop and ask for more information. By leveraging technology, it is no longer necessary to write anything down, ever. A barcode can be scanned on an attendees badge and just like that all of the necessary information is available for future contact. Now, those paying for to host a booth at your event can easily track and improve the return on their investment.
Clearly, there is so much more you can do to leverage technology for your event than just creating a hashtag (but that certainly doesn’t hurt!). As technology becomes more accessible, it is also becoming more affordable. So before you write it off entirely as an unnecessary expense, think again. After doing some research you might find that it will save you money over traditional print expenses. And it will certainly make your event more attractive and talked about among attendees.