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.Exhibitors – the lifeblood of a trade show or exhibition. Plenty of attendees, VIP speakers, sponsors, and a sparkling trade program and facilities are great, but exhibitors are key to trade event success. For an exhibitor, getting good quality leads that convert into sales is the biggest reason why they would invest in your trade show event. So business matching software, also known as B2B matchmaking, is an important tool that enables event organizers to make a measurable difference when exhibitors decide where to invest their budget.
Wondering if Grip is right for your event? We go head-to-head with some of the usual event types out there, to see how we match up.
The Challenge. A big event, with more than 300 exhibitors and 15,000 attendees. Some event technology done in-house, some outsourced. Manual professional matchmaking of exhibitors and attendees. While at the event, attendees and exhibitors make or adjust their own appointments.
The (Networking) odds. Aside from pre-event scheduling, attendees and exhibitors will have to do their own B2B networking.
The Match. Grip offers a unique combination of artificial intelligence and B2B matchmaking that lets attendees and exhibitors connect seamlessly before the event, and in real time during the event. When attendees and exhibitors agree to connect, it’s a ‘Handshake’, and they can schedule a meeting. We’ve already handled conferences with more than 15,000 attendees, such as the Cannes Lions in France and the Retail Expo in London, to name a few.
The Challenge. A medium-sized event with between one to five thousand attendees and a few exhibitors. Some VIP speakers and attendees. Some event technology, mostly for registration and getting the agenda out. Would like to offer event networking, but not sure what it would involve.
The (Networking) odds. Most companies offering a ‘networking application’ really mean they’ll give attendees a list of names and appointments to work through. That’s okay, but it still leaves attendees on their own (with a long list), wondering if they have the most relevant contact, or if they aren’t ‘missing out’ on a contact that would really help them capture a lead.
The Match. Empower your attendees to decide what works best for them with Grip’s unrivalled business matching software. It learns from every interaction attendees make, and improves its recommendations, in real time. VIPs and celebrity attendees needn’t worry about being swamped with networking requests – Grip’s Artificial Intelligence would have recognised the VIP’s networking intentions, and only have recommended the right contacts for them to meet. (Look at what we did for the Founder’s Forum.)
The Challenge. A gathering of less than a thousand people, structured with an agenda. Quite informal – not much event technology, beyond registering through a Facebook or Eventbrite invite. A few VIP speakers and attendees.
The (Networking) odds. Attendees will have to be in the right place at the right time, exchanging business cards or email addresses at the event.
The Match. Keep things relaxed with Grip; we offer Communities for attendees to get in touch, get their Handshakes, and stay connected easily. They won’t have to worry about whether they’re in the right discussion circle at the right time, and can pay full attention to your agenda. Most importantly in Grip they will be able to schedule meetings before, during and after the event.
Get in touch if you don’t see your event here!
We are Grip, a professional networking app for events. Grip empowers professionals to achieve their networking potential. The Grip matchmaking app connects delegates, speakers, and exhibitors in a fast and simple way.