Conference Speaker

Important Things to Consider for Hosting B2B Networking Events

Grip Events | By Jake Rigby

 

Talking to people is a necessary part of our every-day lives, but for various reasons, B2B events can be daunting.. even if the sole purpose is to network!

 

Networking events all have similar trends. People turn up, have a couple of chardonnays, talk to as many people as possible, which eventually leads to an exchanging of details. From here on things seem to tail off. You may have generated a decent amount of leads, but not all of them will be valid and you might very well end up wondering why you haven’t been talking to that prospect, who was standing four feet away the entire time.

 

If people are given the right environment and tools to thrive in these daunting, yet exciting events, it ends up benefiting all parties concerned. Networking events happen for a limited amount of time, so the road to a successful event starts by enabling people to match with each other as soon as possible – which can often be prior to the event itself.

 

Here’s our take on how to create an environment that allows people to get return on time AND investment at your networking event.

 

Use social media to generate noise

Social media has become an every-day norm. Encourage attendees to share and like posts on the various platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. This can easily be incentivised and it is the fastest way to spread the word about your event. Not only will this increase YOUR online presence, but the attendees will get a great idea of who else is going to be there, and plan accordingly.

 

Online access at the event

Free Wifi is standard when it comes to networking events. If possible, try to avoid a complicated sign up page as this can be a major turn-off. A simple page giving the attendee the option to check-in to the event can be a great driver. It also alleviates the stress of attendees checking into the wrong location! I’m sure that the local deli would love the recognition. Alternatively you can make a password available to attendees on their badges.

 

Creating a groovy hashtag for your event is a great way to trend online – make it visible to attendees and watch it fly!

 

Apps like Tweetbeam are also great for collecting tweets about the event and broadcasting them in real time! This can be done either at the event itself or on your company’s website. The only catch with this? Someone should moderate the content that gets put out there – we don’t want any un-welcomed surprises about how “Susan can’t wait to take advantage of the cocktail bar!”

 

Offer out a press package

If you have speakers coming to the event, give them a package of images and graphics that they can use on their blogs, platforms and social media pages. If you’re doing press releases, think beyond the old-fashioned form and write something snappier, such as a 300 to 400-word blog post. Journalists and bloggers will simply repost your material, so keep it short and sweet, with lots of images.

 

Use Technology to improve your event!

One of the difficult things about hosting a networking event is being able to guarantee attendees that they will get return on time. If you were at a three-day conference, for example, you could end up spending the majority of your time talking to the wrong people. Attendees even find themselves talking to people with the aim of finding out who they actually need to talk to! This can take hours of valuable time and makes it very hard to generate the right leads.

 

This may seem like an impossible task, but fear not, there is a solution!

 

Using the right networking app allows attendees to cut through the above challenges. It allows attendees to optimize return on time, exhibitors or sponsors to optimize return on their investment and it gives YOU, the organiser, complete control and transparency.

 

A trick that many event organisers miss? Making it possible for attendees to start matchmaking PRIOR to the event itself. That way, instead of nervy introductions, awkward conversations and disappointing outcomes – we see warm introductions, relevant conversations with valuable outcomes.

 

People are at the event to connect with each other 

Your networking event serves as a golden opportunity for people to talk to clients, prospects, end-users and even rivals, so make sure that you create an environment that facilitates this.

 

Creating simple, user-friendly feedback forms for your event is a great way of receiving valuable, constructive points on how to improve. Event organisers who listen and act on these suggestions usually end up going far!

 

The Grip Matchmaking App provides a seamless way of generating quality feedback, by having an option to rate meetings with “Good”, “Bad” and “Didn’t Happen.”

 

Final takeaway: Technology improves networking, but it doesn’t kill human interaction 

The fact that you are now able to take a warm approach when pursuing someone at a networking event is a revelation. This should not, however, be mistaken for something that is there to replace human interaction. At Grip we are not interested in the amount of app-logins, time spent on the app or the amount of people using the app. The powerful Grip app is built to increase the amount of quality conversations that attendees have at the event.

With the Grip Matchmaking Solution, we collect a large amount of data about the interest and intent of professionals. At an event of a thousand people, we collect more than a million data points about the interest of professionals. But while we use all this information to provide highly personalized recommendations of people to meet, we do not spend as much time looking at how we can use this data for insights and event “Optimization”. We’re glad to share this has changed over the last couple of months where we have started providing what we call “Opportunity Reports” to some of our clients. The 3 Stages of More Connected Events The reason we have waited with Insights until now is that we have always seen the journey towards a smarter and more connected event experience having 3 stages: 1. Identification – Having a unique identifier for each individual and making sure people have a unique account when interacting with recommendations and our platform in general. 2. Personalization – Providing value to the end user through personalized recommendations and an overall smooth user experience. 3. Optimization – Using the generated data through step 1 and 2 to further improve and optimize the event experience. The current state of Event Marketing Insights When looking at what is generally classified as “insights” has mainly been the high-level number about usage. Such as, how many people logged in, or the percentage of people that looked at an exhibitor profile. At Grip, we wouldn’t necessarily classify this information as Insights but more just as usage data. The challenge with “Insights” however is that anything is possible and unless there is a framework for how to think about the event experience there is the risk of spending an endless amount of time creating pivot tables that don’t really provide any value for a strategic conversation. A different way of doing Insights Therefore, for our Insights Reports, we have adopted a clear focus for our research around 2 topics: Revenue and Network. The reason for this is because we believe that the main value of insights is to drive further Event Marketing and have therefore focused our reports completely on this goal: Providing actionable insight for future event marketing. Revenue Impact Revenue is either something that is at the risk of being lost through unhappy Exhibitors / Sponsors or there is a potential to grow it where there is room for more Exhibitors & Sponsors in a particular segment. For example, an organizer of a technology event could see that the AI & IoT exhibitors are much less popular than the DevOps exhibitors. This could result in the AI/IoT exhibitors deciding not to come back or taking a smaller booth at future events. However, in the networking data we could see that there is a particular group of visitors, Business Intelligence people from Medium and Large companies, are very interested in this group. Therefore the organizer should spend more time attracting these visitors to keep this group of exhibitors happy. Network Improvement Network Impact is a bit more difficult to define, but we look at it as where there is a high discrepancy between people interested in a certain group of people and the supply of this particular group. Interest Graphs Below is an example of the graphs that are part of our reports where you can clearly see there is a number of user groups that are much more popular than the average. What’s next? At Grip, we are blessed with some fantastic data scientists and are enthusiastic about working with more clients on our Business Insights Reports. We are just scratching the surface around how technology can drive more data-informed decisions and drive more value for your events. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to learn more about our Insights Reports.

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