The Secret to Increasing Attendance at Your Networking Functions
that I honestly feel like it should be a no-brainer, but then reality creeps back in and I remember that everyone doesn’t see and know everything that I see and know. So I will share this almost absolutely free way to boost attendance at your next networking function. Here goes: RSVP. I know! It sounds too simple; there must be a catch. You’re right… here’s the catch: you need to do it repeatedly… let me explain.
Typically there is a registration process involved for attending any networking function. Usually people register in advance for these events so that they can get a discounted rate, reserve a seat, get reimbursed, or some other enticement. It’s hard to get people to understand why they should make a small investment of their time to RSVP on LinkedIn and Facebook in addition to registering for the event, mainly because they don’t see the immediate benefit to themselves. A few people are stubbornly holding out with the “I don’t do Social Media” line, but they’re actually in a shrinking minority. More often, people are on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and other social media, but they aren’t effectively utilizing them either because they don’t know how or because they don’t think they have time.
We are all busy, but it’s worth the cost of time to participate in social media in this instance. Imagine that you are planning your calendar for the upcoming month and you decide to add a new event into the mix. You ask a few colleagues if they’ve heard of any networking events in town, but they haven’t, so you head online to search for one. Ideally, you have a purpose in mind for this excursion; you’re looking to network with specific people or with specific types of people and you have a plan. Now you are just looking for an event where the person or people who you’re looking to meet (or deepen an existing relationship with) will be. One of the easiest ways to find these events and who will be attending them to is to search for relevant events on Facebook and Linkedin.
Now you’ve found a few events that look interesting and have speakers or topics that appeal to you. How do you decide which one to attend? Likely, you’ll check out how many people are planning to attend and who they are. An event would best fit your plan to expand your networking circle if it had people whom you haven’t yet met and a few you know to introduce you, since a warm introduction can go a long way toward gaining trust in a new acquaintance. Since you’re looking at new events, your only real way to gauge how popular they are is by the number of people attending and any buzz about the event.
Now turn this around. You are planning an event and you want people to show up. Maybe you are a member of a group that is planning an event, which you regularly attend, and you want to network with more new people at the event. Remember that there are people out there looking for an event and they are going to choose one that appears popular and well attended. This is where the secret RSVP strategy comes in to play; it should be a built in part of your marketing strategy.
If you are organizing the event make sure to create the event on Facebook and Linkedin. Invite your connections and the members of the group hosting the event to attend. Share the event on your wall on Facebook and in groups and your newsfeed on Linkedin, Share the links on Twitter. Encourage members of the group to do the same. The more people who RSVP and share the event, the more popular the event will appear and the more new faces it will attract. It’s also a good idea to “like” people’s posts about the event and leave comments on the posts and the event wall. The more buzz, the better! It is okay to be a cheerleader for an event that you care about.
So to sum up, RSVP, share, and encourage your connections to do the same. When you’re planning your calendar leave to time to participate in creating the buzz that will draw people to your favorite events. It’s simple and it works. If you don’t believe me… just try it and see. I welcome your comments and success stories.