Disclaimer: As with everything on this site, the following is representative of my best assessment of the tools discussed and their features and functions. As such, it is recommended that you not take my word as “being law” (smile).
FaceBook: FaceBook creates some very interesting possibilities for creating and publicizing events. You first have to look at two things…even more enormous numbers in terms of members than LinkedIn (a plus) and a much more open network than LinkedIn (also a plus). Then you need to evaluate those areas on FaceBook that will allow you to create events. I count three. They are: your own profile page, FaceBook Group Pages, and FaceBook Fan Pages. If it is your goal to promote your business in addition to your event, I am going to suggest that you use Fan Pages for this purpose. Fan Pages, you see, are maybe more often used as Business Pages.
The events application is really very nice. It does allow you to broadcast your event to your friends in your network, email to contacts outside of FaceBook, and update your event to your profile. While folks who do not belong to FaceBook will be able to see your event, they must join the network in order to be able to RSVP. Speaking of RSVP, FaceBook does a nice job with that also. If you want to allow for on-line registration for a fee based event, you will want to use something like EventBrite or Constant Contact or your own website. Important Note: I have never been entirely comfortable with FaceBook. Nothing against FaceBook mind you. I’m just not a FaceBook kinda’ guy. However, and this goes the same for LinkedIn, if you are wanting to be active in putting on events, there is not a better case than this for making as many damn friends on this site as you possibly can (smile).
Your Website or Blog: If you have a website and do not have the capability to create events and have attendees register on-line and pay on-line, I can just about guarantee that this oversight can be corrected. Call your web geek if that is not you. WordPress.org blogs can use a variety of third-party plug-ins to accomplish this task. This is a WordPress.com blog so that is a little more limited but even I could easily create an event or events on this site and then provide a link to a third-party source for on-line registration and payment and could use something as simple as an email with a link to direct folks to the event. Pretty easy.
iContact: If you have made the decision that emailing links to your event will at least be a part of your promotion efforts, but you would like a nice looking invitation to be a part of that email, consider iContact. For starting at $9.95 per month you will have access to over 200 templates and an email newsletter program to boot. Not too shabby.
Constant Contact: Constant Contact is very similar to iContact in terms of features and what it can do for you. A little bit more expensive, however, and this may also be an additional fee, it also has a product specifically designed for events, on-line registration, and on-line payment in one neat package. Definitely worth a look.
EventBrite: There are an awful lot of folks using this service so you had best take a look. Certainly would be a site to link to from your event invitation if that service did not provide for on-line registration and fee pay. Whereas iContact and Constant Contact charge flat monthly fees, EventBrite charges a per attendee fee based on a percent of the admission and a small service fee.
Evite: I have never heard of this service but just received an email invitation to an event via this. What’s better is it appears to be a free service. If it’s free, it’s for me, I’ll take three (smile).
Publishing and Promoting: Here’s where it can get fun and adventurous (smile). Use Twitter to post URL links to your events. Use Ping.fm to post these same links to multiple sites including Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and many others. Allow Twitterfeed to automatically post new events created in Ning (from the resident “events” RSS feed) to Twitter, FaceBook, and Ping.fm. The “Share on FaceBook” bookmarklet will allow you to capture the URL to any website that you are viewing, say your event on either Ning or EventBrite, and post that to your FaceBook profile. The Hootlet bookmarklet from Hootsuite will do the same thing for Twitter or Ping.fm. SocialOomph (formerly TweetLater) will allow you to schedule tweets ahead of time and could then, therefore, give you the ability to repeat tweets regarding your event. A word of caution on that though. Apparently Twitter has banned repeating Tweets so you may be risking account suspension or worse. Am I missing any? Probably but that should be enough for you to have some fun.
I’m stickin’ a fork in this topic. I’m done. Ain’t gonna’ be no Part IV (smile). Thanks for visiting and best of luck with your events!
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